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About the Author

Tim Harford is an award-winning columnist, broadcaster, and economist. He is the author of Messy, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy, and the million-selling The Undercover Economist, and is the host of the .Cautionary Tales podcast. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical show more Society, and in 2019 he was awarded an OBE for services to improving economic understanding. show less
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I am adding Tim Harford to my list of do-not-go-to authors (along with Adam Grant, sometimes Malcolm Gladwell, and a few others) who publish nonsensical pseudo-science about trivial subjects. "Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives" is one of the worst books I've read lately.

What are publishers thinking of when they publish such drivel?

Reading this book felt like I was going through somebody's box of index cards on stuff he picked up in popular magazines or Malcolm Gladwell books. There is no original science here. There is no flow from one paragraph to another. In fact, there is no connection between the sub-title and what'a actually in this book.

Instead, you get a series of anecdotes about people who might have been smart, lucky?, disorganised? who did something remarkable. And then a few more stories to excoriate organisations that tried to (perhaps I should whisper it) ... organise stuff?

Should I be worried that my desk is clean? Does that make me pathological?

Maybe anarchy is to be embraced.

Who is this book written for? Office managers?

One thing we know for sure about Harford: he hasn't done any research himself on messiness.
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MylesKesten | 14 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
Fun and very readable book that applies the methods of economics to diverse subjects (gambling, dating, racial preferences, whether to live in a city, colonization of the New World, archaeology, etc etc).
 
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yaj70 | 23 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |
A decent and readable overview of large-scale economics, that helped explain why a little inflation (but not a lot) was desirable, why printing money is good sometimes and bad other times, why some people believe in stimulus and others believe in austerity, and why governments often screw this up.
 
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yaj70 | 15 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |
В последние годы держится мода на «микроистории» вещей, изменивших мир. Интересные и полные неожиданных нюансов, они тем не менее часто оставляют после себя ощущение, что автор хватил лишку. Носки, конечно, вещь нужная, но так, чтобы они кардинально изменили ход истории? Вряд ли. Тиму Харфорду, автору колонки Undercover Economist в Financial Times и нескольких хороших книг об экономике окружающей нас повседневности, похоже, удалось избежать близорукости и мозаичности. Все пятьдесят отобранных изобретений, от плуга до криптовалюты, не висят в вакууме, а связаны в единую ткань новых возможностей как с последующими, так и с предыдущими. А чтобы было интереснее, Харфорд оставил за бортом несколько уже поднадоевших хитов рейтингов вроде компьютера и колеса. Помимо конкретных вещей (колючая проволока, таблетки от зачатия, «телеужин», iPhone) это и концепции (консалтинг, право собственности, государство всеобщего благосостояния, банки), и технологии (радар, процесс Габера, на который и сейчас уходит 1% всей вырабатываемой энергии). Злоключения изобретателей и инициаторов — отдельный большой бонус.… (more)
 
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Den85 | 10 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |

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