Tim Harford

An English economist reveals why people do what they do, financially

Economics wasn’t always the social-science-discipline-to-understand-the-world du jour... remember the brief craze for astrophysics? Evolutionary psychology? But even should this economics bit die down, Oxford-trained Tim Harford won’t be out of a job. The host of BBC Radio’s More or Less is also a dual columnist for London’s Financial Times, author of both the hilarious self-help column “Dear Economist” and of “The Undercover Economist,” also the title of his bestselling (600,000 copies) first book. Now he’s hawking The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World, which examines the logic behind more “everyday subjects... rather than look at what happens when you go to a shop, look at what happens when you go to a date—instead of looking at what happens with traffic jams, let’s look at murder rates.” The witty tome, educational without making you feel like you’re learning, will have you nice and logical in no time. Take his money-making tip: “Hold an auction for a jar of coins. I can guarantee that some people will overbid. The auction finds the biggest sucker... That’s how you make money.” University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, www.bookstore.washington.edu. 7 p.m. KARLA STARR

Wed., Jan. 30, 7 p.m., 2008

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