Economy in our Lives

I do computer programming for a living. But for some reason, I recently bought several economics books. No, not like economics textbooks; all three look to apply the lessons of economics to everyday life.

The books are Predictably Irrational, The Logic of Life, and Freakanomics. I suppose I should, perhaps, add The Undercover Economist to complete the collection.

I've read a bit less than half of Irrational, but did finish Freakanomics last night. They're the sort of books that appeal to me, perhaps on an irrational basis. I love reading them for the ideas they throw out, but they're hard to read for any length of time, because I get preoccupied with those ideas and want to delve into one of the ideas without moving on to others.

Economics, to me, is a pretty weird discipline. There aren't many other fields (actually, I don't know of any) where two completely incompatible theories can both have wide acceptance. Part of that is that much of economics, when applied to things more complex than "simple" supply and demand, deals with issues that can't be studied in isolation, and for which there just isn't enough data to conclusively prove one theory to be correct.

But it does encourage a scientific approach to inquiry of all sorts, and Freakanomics shows some of the diverse issues into which that can give some insight.

I'm really not sure how useful having read the book will turn out to be, but the issues that it looked into (the KKK, drug dealers, abortion, child naming, parental influence in education, etc) were all fascinating to me. Some of them I knew a little bit about, some I didn't, but I learned quite a bit about all of them. And most of them I learned to look at a bit differently than I had before.

I'll have to write some more about this when I finish one of the other books, but this is a fantastic book, easily worthy of the plaudits I'd heard before I bought it.

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