Recently managed to finally complete reading The Undercover Economist Strikes Back by Tim Harford. An excellent read for those who have any mild interest in economics irrespective of how basic that interest or understanding is. Fortunately i’m able to interact daily with a number of the concepts Tim discusses making my reader journey really pleasurable. The rich history and insight Tim adds to economic ideas and theories have rekindled my inherent interest in the complex systems which economics tries to massage into theory. The story behind the MONIAC colloquially referred to as ‘The Phillips Machine’ was of particular interest and an example of Tim’s extraordinary storytelling ability.
The Question and Answer style of the narrative I initially found distracting but after page 20 it grew on me and is possibly the best format to engage readers who have little or no understanding of economics. The style puts the reader in the driver seat and diligently leads us on a journey of discovery. Although Tim is sometimes compared to my favourite author Malcolm Gladwell, I think the comparison does an injustice to both of them. Their styles are inherently unique and I clearly enjoy both of their works.
Tim’s focus on making economic theory real and practical ensured I was continually engage with the material which is written in a conversational style. Had I read the book during my last year of high school and even my first year at varisty my understanding of economics and how it permeates our lives would have been better entrenched and led to better exam and assignment results.
The book is a treat to read and has made it onto my advise others to read list.