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Download The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World Audiobook, by Tim Harford Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,687 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tim Harford Narrator: L. J. Ganser Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9780739365571
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Life sometimes seems illogical. Individuals do strange things: take drugs, have unprotected sex, mug each other. Love seems irrational, and so does divorce. On a larger scale, life seems no fairer or easier to fathom: Why do some neighborhoods thrive and others become ghettos? Why is racism so persistent? Why is your idiot boss paid a fortune for sitting behind a mahogany altar? Thorny questions–and you might be surprised to hear the answers coming from an economist. 
But Tim Harford, award-winning journalist and author of the bestseller The Undercover Economist, likes to spring surprises. In this deftly reasoned book, Harford argues that life is logical after all. Under the surface of everyday insanity, hidden incentives are at work, and Harford shows these incentives emerging in the most unlikely places. 
Using tools ranging from animal experiments to supercomputer simulations, an ambitious new breed of economist is trying to unlock the secrets of society. The Logic of Lifeis the first book to map out the astonishing insights and frustrating blind spots of this new economics in a way that anyone can enjoy. 
The Logic of Lifepresents an X-ray image of human life, stripping away the surface to show us a picture that is revealing, enthralling, and sometimes disturbing. The stories that emerge are not about data or equations but about people: the athlete who survived a shocking murder attempt, the computer geek who beat the hard-bitten poker pros, the economist who defied Henry Kissinger and faked an invasion of Berlin, the king who tried to buy off a revolution.
Once you’ve read this quotable and addictive book, life will never look the same again.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Highly readable, funny and daringly contentious . . . a whopping good time. San Francisco Chronicle
  • [Tim] Harford sets off on an enormously entertaining yarn backed by the findings of expert economists. He spins playfully, but smartly, across matters of sex, crime, gambling, addiction, marriage, racism, ghettos and politics, and he makes it all, well, titillating at times. Really. USA Today
  • Harford has a knack for explaining economic principles and problems in plain language and, even better, for making them fun. The New York Times
  • [Harford] is an amiable guide for the non-specialist reader . . . but his command of the subject is such that even a well-schooled economist will discover much that is new. The Economist
  • Highly engaging . . . entertaining and provocative. Publishers Weekly
  • A fascinating work with many ‘aha’ moments. Booklist
  • Smart, charming, penetrating, and wise. Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics
  • “Chock-full of numbers and money talk, but oddly entertaining. Kirkus Reviews
  • Charming and informative. Newsday
  • Like Harford’s earlier book, The Undercover Economist–if you haven’t got it, get it–this book uses the basic theory of rational choice to make transparent the logic behind common but important puzzling phenomena. Even a trained economist can enjoy discovering what he didn’t realize he already knew. I did. Thomas C. Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economics

    “This witty, intelligent book will help you see the entire world in a new light.

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber | 2/14/2014

    " This book was really interesting, but I kinda of lost steam by the end when he got to the more macro level topics. I find behavioral economics totally fascinating and it really makes you think again about how humans make such fantastic (or not) choices. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rajesh | 2/13/2014

    " I've been reading books on behavioral economics recently and I read this book in the midst. It's fantastic. Tim describes in detail how while irrational behaviors can be seen by amateurs and in isolated incidents, in aggregate and in general an expert's behavior tends to approximate the most rational. He also goes on to describe that this does not necessarily mean that what's rational at individual level translate to what's rational for a group or a society. Recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tai Odunsi | 2/13/2014

    " very insightful on many levels "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 adhy ramawan putra | 2/5/2014

    " *chapter 2, the las vegas not only for the gambler, but also economist..LOL "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Javi | 1/30/2014

    " Easy reading for a rough overview of some social science issues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron | 1/21/2014

    " Enjoyed it. Interesting, thought-provoking, effort. Chronicles interesting efforts to explain trends and events "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ananya Sarkar | 1/20/2014

    " I just have to say that I am really learning some life lesson type stuff from this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil Chen | 1/14/2014

    " Good read I like the Game Theory sections a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Antoine | 1/10/2014

    " Also another Econmoics book that answered questions that I had. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Essam Alzamel | 1/3/2014

    " A must read if you like behavioral economics. A very interesting book for everybody else. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lucy J Jeynes | 12/28/2013

    " I don't know much about economics - lots of people told me this book was facile, but I found it really interesting. What does that say about me?! Some useful stuff about managing performance, which I can use in one of the courses I run. I know, zzzzzz.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Diaz | 12/23/2013

    " It's really fun and interesting to read how statistics and incentives work in how people make decisions "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rex | 12/27/2012

    " From why it's economically feasible for prostitutes to have unprotected sex to why racial bias is still rampant in job hiring, economist Tim Harford provides an interesting read from beginning to end. If you liked Freakanomics, I think you'll enjoy this as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rishi Josan | 12/10/2012

    " Overall a good read. Can get a bit repetitive at times though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 12/9/2012

    " Fascinating book that tries to convince us that all things in our messy world are based on hidden logic. Very entertaining and humorous reading that unfortunately ends on a highly speculative and ill-fitting chapter. Highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed | 12/8/2012

    " This is like an extension of Freakonomics, which shouldn't mean that it wasn't worth reading. It was simply more examples and theories, often more expansive than what Freakonomics offered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trever | 3/1/2012

    " Great book about rational and irrational thinking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheldon | 5/8/2011

    " Had a few very good parts. A pretty good book about how we make decisions. Best part is when he writes that we make both emotional decisions based on a dopamine rush, and more rational decisions. Great. What I want to know is this: when to rely on which??? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Quinton | 4/13/2011

    " Meh. This was a review of a collection of papers written by other economists. It was interesting, but not nearly as much practical value as from his previous book, the Undercover Economist, which was great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ezra | 4/1/2011

    " The examples economists pick are cherry picked to support their points. I'd like to see one take on the examples disproving their points. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 3/8/2011

    " Excellent. Everyone should read. Puts economics to work in understanding everyday problems, like why rich people get richer and why your vote doesn't count. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 2/24/2011

    " Excellent discussion of how people make rational decisions, including tradeoffs in things as varied as education and where to live, presented in a series of anecdotes that are both interesting and easy to understand. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 1/30/2011

    " It was alright. Nothing too exciting or lifeshattering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Javi | 1/25/2011

    " Easy reading for a rough overview of some social science issues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neil | 1/20/2011

    " This is a great look at economics really accessible and entertaining. Some details were a bit simplified but I'm not sure how else this could have been done. I'd recommend to anyone without an econ background that would like to dip their toes in the subject. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David E | 12/27/2010

    " Not as assured as the Underground Economist, but good nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil | 12/11/2010

    " Good read I like the Game Theory sections a lot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheldon | 9/18/2010

    " Had a few very good parts. A pretty good book about how we make decisions. Best part is when he writes that we make both emotional decisions based on a dopamine rush, and more rational decisions. Great. What I want to know is this: when to rely on which???
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 7/12/2010

    " Not the best in the genre, but if you like books thy distill current trends in economics in lay language, you'll like The Logic of Life. "

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About the Author
Author Tim Harford

Tim Harford is the author of The Undercover EconomistThe Logic of Life, and Adapt. He writes two columns for the Financial Times, and his work has appeared in the New York TimesForbesEsquireParadeNew York, and Wired. He lives with his family in Oxford.

About the Narrator

L. J. Ganser is the winner of three AudioFile Earphones Awards and the 2005 Audie Award for Best Nonfiction Narration for his work in The Island at the Center of the World. He has appeared onstage in New York and in regional productions, has several episodes of Law & Order in his list of credits, and has recorded over two hundred audiobooks. Before becoming an actor, he was a ship’s cook in Maine, a roofer, a painter, and a swim team coach.