Wednesday , December 2 2020
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What I’ve been reading: economic comedy and the power of decency

Summary:
Two books this week that were written by friends of mine. First, a shout out for How To Buy A Planet by D.A. Holdsworth – a comedy about what happens when the world’s leaders decide to sell Earth to some cute aliens in order to wipe the slate clean and press ahead, debt-free. Needless to say, all does not go according to plan. Echoes of Douglas Adams in this book, which is no bad thing. Lots of fun. Second, David Bodanis’s book The Art of Fairness (Amazon / Bookshop) is published this week. David is a very old friend of mine – the man who originally persuaded me to become a writer – and he’s been talking about writing this book since 2001. I couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s finally seen the light of day. “I’ve always been fascinated by a simple question,” he asks.

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Two books this week that were written by friends of mine.

First, a shout out for How To Buy A Planet by D.A. Holdsworth – a comedy about what happens when the world’s leaders decide to sell Earth to some cute aliens in order to wipe the slate clean and press ahead, debt-free. Needless to say, all does not go according to plan. Echoes of Douglas Adams in this book, which is no bad thing. Lots of fun.

Second, David Bodanis’s book The Art of Fairness (Amazon / Bookshop) is published this week. David is a very old friend of mine – the man who originally persuaded me to become a writer – and he’s been talking about writing this book since 2001. I couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s finally seen the light of day. “I’ve always been fascinated by a simple question,” he asks. “Can you succeed without being a terrible person?”

The answer is yes, but it’s complicated and fascinating. David used to lecture on the “social scientist’s toolkit” at Oxford University and has a huge range of scientific and psychological ideas at his fingertips, but the real joy of this book is the storyteling, which ranges from the construction of the Empire State Building, the debutante who became an anthropologist who became a guerilla leader, and the rise of the Nazis. A spellbinding book.

I’ve just set up a storefront on Bookshop in the United States and the United Kingdom – have a look and see all my recommendations; Bookshop is set up to support local independent retailers.

My NEW book How To Make The World Add Up is OUT NOW!

Details, and to order signed copies from MathsGear, or from Hive, Blackwells, Amazon or Waterstones.

“Fabulously readable, lucid, witty and authoritative.” – Stephen Fry

“Powerful, persuasive, and in these truth-defying times, indispensable” – Caroline Criado Perez

Tim Harford
Tim is an economist, journalist and broadcaster. He is author of “Messy” and the million-selling “The Undercover Economist”, a senior columnist at the Financial Times, and the presenter of Radio 4’s “More or Less” and the iTunes-topping series “Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy”. Tim has spoken at TED, PopTech and the Sydney Opera House and is a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford.

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