Perhaps I've been exposed to too much of this material, but many of the results Harford expects us to find surprising weren't: that teenage drug-dealers take into account the severity of the juvenile justice system, for example, is hardly unexpected. Some of the results were new to me, however, and Harford mostly avoids dramatisation or exaggeration.
The bigger problem with The Logic of Life is that it covers too many scattered topics and doesn't really lead anywhere. No theoretical apparatus is developed, so we don't learn methods we can apply in other places. And the background details of the specific studies aren't provided, so we aren't given anything we can connect to our broader knowledge. (In some cases this may be for the best: Harford's grasp of evolutionary biology and history seems fairly shallow.)
Even if the light Harford shines comes unvaryingly from the same angle, however, it can still reveal unexpected details. The Logic of Life has endnotes with references and may inspire readers to examine topics in greater depth. And it's certainly an easy way to pass a few hours.
Note: the subtitle in the United States is The Rational Economics of an Irrational World.
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