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2nd September 2014 Darat (Lackey)
 
Priceless
Priceless
The hidden psychology of value

It is fairly well understood that prices of £9.99 sell more stuff. And even that the public knowledge of this factoid doesn't make it go away. However when so many more pricing quirks are collected together--quirks that demonstrate, broadly, that people do not behave optimally even if it... Read more
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15th September 2014 07:19 AM by Lothian Go to last post
 
No-one Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart
No-one Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart
The surprising deceptions of individual choice

Tom Slee's book initially stood out to this reviewer as "Naomi Klein via game theory". At its core it wishes to highlight life, wealth and, well, quality inequality as a social ill, and then diagnose the disease as caused by too much choice. The first chapter bears more than a slight... Read more
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25th August 2014 01:14 PM by Almo Go to last post
 
The Spirit Level Delusion
The Spirit Level Delusion
Fact-checking the left's new theory of everything.

Although the present review was written fully five years after "The Spirit Level" (by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett) was published, the rebuttal of its subject followed that original within a year. Christopher Snowdon has produced a volume about half the length of its nemesis... Read more
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17th August 2014 08:26 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Coming Apart
Coming Apart

America used to be better a long time ago because people weren't as lazy. Now, all of these people who are working two or three part-time jobs are struggling because they aren't listening and obeying their wealthier bosses.
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24th June 2014 08:31 PM by Astrodude Go to last post
 
Scarcity
Scarcity
Why having too little means so much

This reviewer wondered whether Scarcity should be a movie sequel to Scarface, except that Tony Montana was killed off in the original. Hence it is behavioural economics instead. She also wondered whether it was really a whole book in itself, rather than what could have been a chapter out of... Read more
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3rd June 2014 03:27 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Being Wrong
Being Wrong
Adventures in the margin of error

Kathryn Schulz has pounced on a gap in the market, and in popular perception, and constructed a thesis about the importance of error woven together with stories advertised as Malcolm Gladwell style by one review. Not quite, according to this reviewer, but a decent effort. Throughout, the... Read more
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24th May 2014 03:48 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Prisoner's Dilemma
Prisoner's Dilemma

Part biography (of John von Neumann), part history (of the RAND corporation and landmark moments of the cold war, with cameos from Bertrand Russell and others), and part (about half) pure and applied game theory, this is an entertaining and absorbing book. The title comes from... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:33 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Adapt
Adapt

She's probably in the minority, but this reviewer winced a little on seeing that the most prominent accolade for Tim Harford on the cover of "Adapt" was "Britain's Malcolm Gladwell". Because her impression of the latter writer is that of a genius, unimaginatively retrofitting... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:19 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Idea of Justice
The Idea of Justice

A song that influenced this reviewer's musical tastes when she was quite young, by Laurie Anderson, has the lyric: "'Cause when love is gone / There's always justice / And when justice is gone / There's always force / . . . ". Thinking about this often led her to ponder if that... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:10 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1491 gets rid of all the myth regarding "primitive" Native Americans and painnts a vastly different picture of pre-Columbian America to the one commonly "known"
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2nd February 2014 04:19 PM by dropzone Go to last post
 
League of Denial
League of Denial
The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

A damning, well written, book about how the NFL tried for years to ignore or suppress the awareness of the concussion problems players were having Fought disability claims of retired players by dragging out the process through various way hoping the players would die. Forming a... Read more
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22nd December 2013 12:53 AM by Jules Galen Go to last post
 
Quiet
Quiet
The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking

"Someone is staring at you in 'Personal Growth'" is a line spoken by well-meaning Carrie Fisher to the unrequited Meg Ryan in 1980's chick-flick When Harry Met Sally. This reviewer remembers that, mostly because of how novel she thought it would be (at the time, she was fourteen) to have... Read more
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30th October 2013 11:28 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Upside of Irrationality
The Upside of Irrationality

Dan Ariely quite likes writing about irrationality. Likes designing tests for it too, and outlining the results in non-technical form and the positing of explanations and theories. This book is almost the same as his previous one which this reviewer borrowed from a friend and read overnight a... Read more
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28th October 2013 01:12 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Inequality Reexamined
Inequality Reexamined

A monograph rather than a book, and a rather dry, academic text to cover in a review. But this work from 1992 is actually one of the clearest expositions of Sen’s rather unique theory of social justice (Rawls with a twist, if you will) and—even more importantly—contains a model of evaluating... Read more
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11th September 2013 12:25 PM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Why Nations Fail
Why Nations Fail
The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty

Rather reminiscent of the excellent “Collapse” by Jared Diamond, but this work prefers to sweep away all points of Diamond’s thesis of why societies collapse—environmental damage, overpopulation, hostile (and friendly actually) neighbours—for the single determinant of extractive institutions.... Read more
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3rd September 2013 10:09 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
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