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Why do the keypads on drive-up cash machines have Braille dots? Why are round-trip fares from Orlando to Kansas City higher than those from Kansas City to Orlando? For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions like these as a way of learning how economic principles operate in the real world--which they do everywhere, all the Why do the keypads on drive-up cash machines have Braille dots? Why are round-trip fares from Orlando to Kansas City higher than those from Kansas City to Orlando? For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions like these as a way of learning how economic principles operate in the real world--which they do everywhere, all the time.Once you learn to think like an economist, all kinds of puzzling observations start to make sense. Drive-up ATM keypads have Braille dots because it's cheaper to make the same machine for both drive-up and walk-up locations. Travelers from Kansas City to Orlando pay less because they are usually price-sensitive tourists with many choices of destination, whereas travelers originating from Orlando typically choose Kansas City for specific family or business reasons.The Economic Naturalist employs basic economic principles to answer scores of intriguing questions from everyday life, and, along the way, introduces key ideas such as the cost benefit principle, the "no cash left on the table" principle, and the law of one price. There is no more delightful and painless way of learning these fundamental principles.


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Why do the keypads on drive-up cash machines have Braille dots? Why are round-trip fares from Orlando to Kansas City higher than those from Kansas City to Orlando? For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions like these as a way of learning how economic principles operate in the real world--which they do everywhere, all the Why do the keypads on drive-up cash machines have Braille dots? Why are round-trip fares from Orlando to Kansas City higher than those from Kansas City to Orlando? For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions like these as a way of learning how economic principles operate in the real world--which they do everywhere, all the time.Once you learn to think like an economist, all kinds of puzzling observations start to make sense. Drive-up ATM keypads have Braille dots because it's cheaper to make the same machine for both drive-up and walk-up locations. Travelers from Kansas City to Orlando pay less because they are usually price-sensitive tourists with many choices of destination, whereas travelers originating from Orlando typically choose Kansas City for specific family or business reasons.The Economic Naturalist employs basic economic principles to answer scores of intriguing questions from everyday life, and, along the way, introduces key ideas such as the cost benefit principle, the "no cash left on the table" principle, and the law of one price. There is no more delightful and painless way of learning these fundamental principles.

30 review for The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I think this is the perfect book for do-it-yourself Christmas crackers. Instead of all those pathetic jokes, why not bless your crackers with a pithy conundrum? Something to really chew over as you down your Christmas pudding? The book is presented as a serious of questions and answers centred around different topics. I didn't really pay attention to the economic theory underpinning these topics, I just took each question on its own merit, and read the ones that interested me. Herewith a few of t I think this is the perfect book for do-it-yourself Christmas crackers. Instead of all those pathetic jokes, why not bless your crackers with a pithy conundrum? Something to really chew over as you down your Christmas pudding? The book is presented as a serious of questions and answers centred around different topics. I didn't really pay attention to the economic theory underpinning these topics, I just took each question on its own merit, and read the ones that interested me. Herewith a few of them..... Why have top earner's salaries been growing so much faster than everyone else's? (I would argue with a lot of this spoiler, but it is nonetheless interesting) (view spoiler)[ Although many factors are involved, one in particularly stands out - the rapid acceleration of technological changes that increase the leverage of the most able individuals. Markets are now world-wide, not just country-wide. The are also phenomenally competitive. Executive decisions have become much more important to the bottom line. (hide spoiler)] Why are chief executives of large tobacco companies willing to testify under oath that nicotine is not addictive? (view spoiler)[ They are amongst the highest paid chief executives in the US. For example, Altria, the parent company of the Philip Morris cigarette companies, paid its chief executive $18.13 million in 2005 (basically, they are paid a lot of money so they don't mind talking rot.) (hide spoiler)] Why do lawyers spend more on cars and clothing than university professors with the same income? (view spoiler)[ We judge lawyers by the quality of their outward trappings. We don't judge academics this way. We judge them on their research, and the number of articles they get published in scholarly journals etc. (hide spoiler)] Why is the unemployment rate so much higher in Germany than in the US? (view spoiler)[ The unemployment rate in the US is consistently lower than that of most European countries. In September 2006 it was 4.6% in the US but 8.7% in Germany. This is because people in America who are not working have a much tougher life than those in Germany who are not working. Americans without jobs have difficulty making ends meet. By contrast, the unemployed in Germany can qualify for government support that will satisfy their basic needs indefinitely. (I feel this is worded in a prejudiced way...I think it is far better that people are supported than thumped down on the hard rock of poverty. Added to which, unemployment benefits are far from being wonderful in European countries. Not a good basis for a life of leisure and pleasure, which I feel is slightly insinuated here...) (hide spoiler)] "Why do consumers in the US pay more than double the world price for sugar? (view spoiler)[ "In 2005 Americans paid an average of 22 cents a pound for raw sugar, while the average price on the world market was only 10 cents. This is because the US imposes a tariff of more than 100% on imported sugar. But that raises the question why legislators in the US Congress would enact policies that cost their constituents some $2 billion each year. It's because these policies benefit the sugar producers. For example, the sugar tariff was estimated to increase the annual profits of one large producer in Florida by some $65 million. With that much at stake, producers not only write letters but also hire skilled lobbyists to argue their case. More importantly, they make substantial campaign contributions to legislators who support the sugar tariff." Another relevant factor is that because the typical family spends on a small fraction of its income on sugar, few voters would take the trouble to complain. (hide spoiler)] Why are car engines so much smaller in the UK than in the US? (view spoiler)[ Fuel is so much more expensive in Europe than in America. In recent years the average price of a litre of petrol, including all taxes, has been almost twice as high in Europe as in the US. (It makes me proud to be British!) (hide spoiler)] Why do Japanese couples spend more on wedding parties than their Western counterparts? (view spoiler)[ "Japanese couples commonly celebrate their weddings with an extended network of colleagues, employers and other members of the community...... Guest lists frequently total from three hundred to five hundred people, even at weddings of middle-income couples. Japanese couples cast such a broad net in part because the society relies heavily on informal social and business networks. ....Failing to invite someone to a wedding who might have expected to be invited risks a social rupture that jeopardises one's standing. Expansive Japanese wedding guest lists may thus be seen as an investment in maintaining important social and business networks." (hide spoiler)] And so it goes on. You of course may find your appetite whetted by totally different questions. I also took umbrage to a couple of things. Why are physically attractive people more intelligent than others, on average? Pfffft! I don't care what the research says (and it sounds rather flimsy)... I looked back over my long life and found that many of the most intelligent people I have known have been as ugly as peanuts. Physically attractive people may garner more attention (from teachers, employers and potential partners), but I really don't think they are more intelligent.... The author also prints an essay by one of his students, in response to this very loaded question. Why do animal-rights activists target fur-wearing women but leave leather clad bikers alone? What the student's essay fails to mention is that the production of fur is often infinitely crueller than the production of leather. This is the reason animal-rights activists pay it so much attention. I would recommend getting this book from the library rather than buying it, then you can casually pick and choose the subjects that appeal to you, without feeling any pressure to read the whole book. I thoroughly enjoyed just dipping into the topics that interested me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I had anticipated enjoying this book, as I am a fan of "popular economics" - especially of stuff like the brilliant "Undercover Economist", or "Freakonomics". I was, hoewever, very disappointed with this book. What seemed an interesting premise, a collection of short answers to everyday economics questions by students, seems to have resulted in a rag-bag collection of "just-so" stories used to explain the various questions. When I say that the most enlightening thing I picked up was why DVD case I had anticipated enjoying this book, as I am a fan of "popular economics" - especially of stuff like the brilliant "Undercover Economist", or "Freakonomics". I was, hoewever, very disappointed with this book. What seemed an interesting premise, a collection of short answers to everyday economics questions by students, seems to have resulted in a rag-bag collection of "just-so" stories used to explain the various questions. When I say that the most enlightening thing I picked up was why DVD cases and CD cases are of a different size (hint - shelf stacking), you may begin to appreciate my disappointment. I didn't finish the book - which means I have to give it one star.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cris

    Fun book. A little too obvious. I think the kids should read it. Khôi, Chi, Mi, Will and Ti, read this!

  4. 5 out of 5

    bkwurm

    I was a little disappointed with the book. While the book is subtitled "why economics explains almost everything", too many of the examples provided were things that economics could not explain while other explanations were clearly wrong. The book is a compilation of short essays from the author's students. Briefly, the author invited his students to think of an interesting question and to then answer it. What appears to have happened is that some of his students chose to ask rather simple questi I was a little disappointed with the book. While the book is subtitled "why economics explains almost everything", too many of the examples provided were things that economics could not explain while other explanations were clearly wrong. The book is a compilation of short essays from the author's students. Briefly, the author invited his students to think of an interesting question and to then answer it. What appears to have happened is that some of his students chose to ask rather simple questions and then to answer them. The result is a somewhat uneven book, great in some parts, quite blah in others. An ok book but not in the same class as freakanomics or the undercover economist.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jay Rain

    Rating - 7 On premise alone, should have liked better however end result was wanting & expecting more (can't put my finger on the why); Questions can be interesting so the answer must be in the actual answers There is a fine line between understanding & application, especially in a concept as complicated as economic theory; however Frank errs in the over-simplification - less compelling with no dot connection Rating - 7 On premise alone, should have liked better however end result was wanting & expecting more (can't put my finger on the why); Questions can be interesting so the answer must be in the actual answers There is a fine line between understanding & application, especially in a concept as complicated as economic theory; however Frank errs in the over-simplification - less compelling with no dot connection

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hiep Nguyen

    Interestingly read with dozens of short stories aiming to train your mind to...naturally think economics. The content is wide yet the depth of each story is not enough but I think it's mostly understandable entertaining enough as a starter for new learners to discover the economics principle lying beneath billions of things in the world. Worth a try, bros n sis! Interestingly read with dozens of short stories aiming to train your mind to...naturally think economics. The content is wide yet the depth of each story is not enough but I think it's mostly understandable entertaining enough as a starter for new learners to discover the economics principle lying beneath billions of things in the world. Worth a try, bros n sis!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Toe

    Objective Summary Frank is a Cornell economics professor. In this book, he explores economic principles by compiling questions and answers from his students. The questions are, at first glance, a paradox, or at least an interesting mystery. For example, why are soda cans cylindrical while milk cartons tend to be square or rectangular? Why do drive-thru ATM’s have braille on the buttons? The questions are then analyzed through the lens of economics, and a rational explanation is proffered. The fol Objective Summary Frank is a Cornell economics professor. In this book, he explores economic principles by compiling questions and answers from his students. The questions are, at first glance, a paradox, or at least an interesting mystery. For example, why are soda cans cylindrical while milk cartons tend to be square or rectangular? Why do drive-thru ATM’s have braille on the buttons? The questions are then analyzed through the lens of economics, and a rational explanation is proffered. The following are some of the principles illustrated in this book. 1. Cost-benefit a. Braille is on the buttons of drive-thru ATMs because the cost of manufacturing two different machines with and without braille and also tracking which type was in each drive-thru or walk-up location is more than the cost of having just one type of machine. Also, blind passengers may access ATMs. b. The cost of stocking wedding dresses in the sizes and styles brides may want makes it cheaper for brides to purchase their unique dresses. The cost is much lower for the more uniform men’s suits and tuxedos, which is why they are rented. c. Product design is a weighing or trade off of costs against benefits. Heaters in cars, engine sizes and efficiencies, transmissions, the shape of milk containers and soda cans are the consequence of production costs and benefits consumers demand. Refrigeration space is expensive in grocery stores, so milk containers are more square and rectangular because those shapes can more efficiently fill the available space. By contrast, soda is not refrigerated, so they take on cylindrical shapes that are easier for consumers to hold. d. Sometimes historical inertia raises the cost of switching to more efficient alternatives. For example, women’s dress shirts still have buttons on the left side because wealthy women used to have maids help them dress. Soda cans could use 30% less aluminum but still hold the same volume of liquid if they were shorter and thicker. 2. Supply and demand a. Arbitrage, or riskless profit gained by buying in one market and selling in another to exploit price differentials, is uncommon and doesn’t last long. The law of one price says the price of goods tends to coalesce. b. The more competitive the market, the less discrimination. c. Producers will continue to benefit from sales as long as the price covers their marginal costs. d. Average sales price must be greater than average cost for the firm to stay in business in the long-run. e. Prices tend towards market equilibrium. 3. Salaries and work a. Costs are not just monetary. Big tobacco CEO’s were paid a premium for the public shaming and ridicule they endured as compared to CEO’s of similarly sized or profitable companies. b. As companies grow in size, CEO’s decisions become more important, the competition for the services of talented CEO’s increases, and their salaries go up. c. Female supermodels make more money than male supermodels because women’s fashion and cosmetics are much bigger businesses than men’s. 4. Discount pricing a. Restaurants sometimes give free soda refills to entice more patrons to the restaurant. Because restaurants’ marginal costs are lower than their average costs, they gain more profit with each additional customer. b. Business travelers are less price sensitive than leisure travelers, so airlines can charge the former more than the latter. c. Prices and discounts tend to align with consumer preferences. For example, hotel minibars, free wifi, and discount theatre tickets provide both expensive options and less expensive options to those willing to jump through additional hurdles or inconveniences, like waiting in line. 5. Arms race and tragedy of the commons a. What is good for the individual may not be good for the group. This is common when an action or characteristic is beneficial in comparison to a competitor, but not in isolation or absolute terms. Such situations can lead to an “arms race.” E.g., standing at ballgames, antler sizes for male elk. b. “Tragedy of the commons” is when ownership is diffuse and the costs and benefits do not inure to one party. For example, pollution in the Mediterranean Sea is higher than in Great Salt Lake because dozens of countries “own” the Mediterranean and only Utah owns the Great Salt Lake. Each country has an incentive to pollute because other countries will do the same, and they can spread the costs of their action to others. Other examples include whaling and beluga caviar. Hunters have incentive to harvest as much as they can before someone else does. 6. Myth of ownership a. Generally, property rights lead to prosperity because they encourage investment. b. Sometimes it is economically efficient to violate property rights. E.g., any port in a storm, trespassing permitted along coastlines. c. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest had property rights for trappers, but those on the Great Plains did not have property rights for buffalo. 7. Market signals a. “As seen on TV” conveys that a product is popular and the producers believed in it enough to spend money on expensive television advertising. b. Lawyers dress better than college professors because lawyers need to signal success to their clients in a way that college professors do not need to signal success to their peers. c. Baseball rookies of the year tend to have a “sophomore slump” because they are likely regressing to their mean performance, and one season is insufficient time to assess their true skill. The performance of companies and employees likewise tends to regress to the mean. 8. Hit the road (international differences) a. Movie seats in Korea are reserved because shows tend to sell out due to greater population densities and more expensive land upon which theatres must sit. Reserving seats eliminates the need for queueing. b. U.S. men’s soccer is internationally uncompetitive because more money in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey drives the best athletes to other sports. c. Unemployment benefits in Europe are more generous than in the U.S., and labor laws are stricter. Consequently, Europe has higher unemployment rates. d. U.S. sugar tariffs double the price of sugar for U.S. consumers. U.S. sugar growers enjoy concentrated benefits and have incentives to lobby politicians. Consumers, who suffer diffuse costs, do not have incentives to lobby politicians to eliminate the tariffs. e. Europe has smaller, more fuel-efficient cars because of higher gasoline taxes. 9. Psychology meets economics (behavioral economics) a. People don’t always behave rationally. They make cognitive errors by relying on wrong information or making faulty inferences. b. People work with imperfect information. c. People use the availability heuristic to remember events that happen more frequently. d. People are susceptible to anchoring even if the given number is unrelated. For example, the people who randomly select a higher number from 1 to 100 tend to guess a higher number when asked how many African nations are in the UN. 10. Informal market for personal relationships a. People are marrying later because the cost of earlier marriage in terms of reduced education and career prospects are higher. b. Women use the perceived attraction by other women towards a man as a signal of the man’s attractiveness. c. Women tend to want a man who is financial successful, while men tend to want a woman who is physically attractive. d. Attractiveness and intelligence may be correlated because of point c. above. e. Marriage commitments allow both parties to plan for the future, just like lease contracts, by foreclosing future potential options. Subjective Thoughts One way I measure the quality of a book is by the number of pages I’ve dog-eared. Here, I dog-eared more than usual. The structure of the book works well by weaving interesting information into fun, short puzzles. The chapters take on a game-like quality as I tried to anticipate the explanations for the questions presented. What a welcome contrast to Tyler Cowen’s “Discover Your Inner Economist,” which I just finished but do not recommend. Frank’s effort is less rigorous and less formal than Sowell’s “Basic Economics,” Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics,” or Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson.” But it is fun for what it is. Economics is a means of analyzing and understanding the world around us. It is baked into the very core of our being. Darwinian evolution, for example, is a story of competition for scarcity: food, space, time, and mates. Properly understood, economics is the Rosetta Stone of reality. So why not embrace it? Memorable Quotes “The opportunity cost of engaging in an activity is the value of everything you must give up to pursue it.” “Opportunity cost is, by consensus, one of the two or three most important ideas in introductory economics.” “[B]ecause our species evolved as storytellers, virtually everyone finds it easy to absorb the corresponding information in narrative form.” “[O]ne of the best ways to learn about something is to write about it.” “The mother of all economic ideas is the cost-benefit principle. It says you should take an action if and only if the extra benefit from taking it is greater than the extra cost.” “Although it is possible to summon a cab by phone in Manhattan, it is far more common to hail one as it cruises by. It is therefore advantageous for taxis to be as visible as possible. Research has shown that bright yellow is the best color for this purpose. (Red was once thought the most visible color, which is why fire engines used to be painted red. But many fire departments have now begun painting their engines yellow.)” “In the future, as in the past, the only way to make real money will be through some combination of talent, thrift, hard work, and luck.” “New technologies will continue to generate a burst of profits for companies that are relatively quick to adopt them. But, as in the past, when competitors adopt the same technologies, the long-run savings will be captured not by producers in the form of higher profits but by consumers in the form of lower prices.” “The law of one price—which is really just a restatement of he no cash on the table principle—says that the price of gold in the two cities generally will not differ by more than the cost of shipping the stuff from one to the other.” “It is the possibility of arbitrage—purchase at one price with a riskless opportunity to resell at a higher price—that enforces the law of one price.” “In general, the more competitive an industry is, the less like it is to subject customers to discrimination.” “[T]he most plausible explanation for why laundries charge more for women’s shirts is that they are more costly, on average, to iron.” “Female models receive premium pay because women’s fashion is a vastly bigger business than men’s fashion. Women in the United States, for example, spend more than twice as much on clothing each year as men do, and the difference is even more pronounced in other countries.” “In many production processes, marginal cost (again, the economist’s term for the cost of producing one additional unit) is lower than average cost—the producer’s total cost divided by the total number of units produced. This cost structure is the characteristic of production processes said to exhibit ‘economies of scale.’ For such processes, average cost continues to fall as the number of units produced increases.” “To survive in the long run, producers must sell their outputs at prices that, on average, are at least as great as their average cost of production. (If the average price per unit sold were less than average cost, they would suffer losses.) But it will often be advantageous for producers to sell some of their output at prices less than average cost.” “But competition is never perfect. In the restaurant industry, as in many other industries, average cost per customer served declines with the number of customers served. This means that the average cost of the meals a restaurant serves is higher than the marginal cost of a meal. Because the price a restaurant charges for each meal must be greater than the marginal cost of that meal, any restaurant can increase its profit whenever it can attract additional customers.” “That living standards in the United States and may other industrialized nations have risen more than forty-fold since the late eighteenth century owes much to well-defined and strongly enforced systems of property rights. In contrast, societies that lack such systems seldom become wealthy. If people cannot establish clear legal title to property, they have little incentive to invest in the capital equipment that generates new wealth.” “[B]ehaviors that serve the narrow interests of individuals often harm the interests of the group to which they belong.” E.g., tragedy of the commons, “arms races” like the antler sizes of elk. “When all other attempts to explain the rationale for a law fail, a good strategy is to ask how it might change the income of those affected by it.” “Economists often assume that people and firms have complete information about the costs and benefits relevant to their decisions. In practice, however, we are often woefully ill informed, even when confronting important decisions. But the cost-benefit principle applies even in these cases, suggesting that acting on limited information is often better than bearing the expense of becoming more fully informed.” “When a new car is first sold, the buyer pays retail price, which can be as much as 15 percent higher than what the dealer paid for it.” “The unemployment rate in the United States is consistently lower than that of most European countries.” “[T]he United States imposes a tariff of more than 100 percent on imported sugar. . . . Producers gain less than half the cost imposed on American consumers, yet political support for tariff repeal remains elusive because the benefits of the tariff are concentrated and its costs highly diffuse.” “According to [behavioral economists] Kahneman and Tversky, people use heuristics, or crude rule of thumb reasoning, to make estimates about events in the world. For example, when people try to estimate the frequency of a given event, they often use the availability heuristic, which holds that an event is more frequent if examples of it are easier to remember. On average, the availability heuristic works reasonably well because it is easier to recall examples of events that happen more frequently. But frequency is not the only factor that makes us remember events. Another is salience . . .” “The average American woman today weighs about twenty-five pounds more than her counterpart in 1960. . . . [A] size 8 from 1960 is much smaller than a size 8 today. But today’s size 8 fits the average woman today, just as size 8 fit the average woman in 1960.” “Adam Smith’s theory of compensating wage differentials . . . holds that the more unpleasant and risky a job is, the more it pays. Some of the largest pay premiums, it turns out, go to highly qualified people who are willing to do morally questionable work.” “Large numbers of people . . . prefer partners who are kind, honest, loyal, healthy, intelligent, and physically attractive. Women generally confess to being attracted to men who are financially successful.”’ “To simplify discussion, it is common to measure a searcher’s purchasing power as a weighted average of the personal characteristics he or she possesses, where the individual weights represent the relative importance of the corresponding characteristics. Each person might thus be assigned an index number from 1 to 10, with higher numbers representing more desirable combinations of personal characteristics. Each searcher is then assumed to follow the rule ‘Marry the best person who will have you,’ and the result is an assortative mating pattern in which the 10s pair with other 10s, the 9s with other 9s, and so on.” “Virtually every feature of the built environment, virtually every feature of human and animal behavior, is the explicit or implicit result of the interplay of costs and benefits. There are rich textures and patterns in everyday experience that become visible to the practiced eye of the economic naturalist. Discovering them is an intellectual adventure you can savor for the rest of your days.”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barack Liu

    123-The Economic Naturalist-Robert Frank-Economy-2007 Barack 2017/0 6 / 03 2020/05/1 5 —— " You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear." By Sherlock Holmes. "The Economics of Milk Coke", first published in the United States in 2007. Economic books. It is a "natural economics" work, it is not an academic tome, but full of little wisdom in life. Robert Frank was born in the United States in 1944. He received a bachelor's degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, a master's degree i 123-The Economic Naturalist-Robert Frank-Economy-2007 Barack 2017/0 6 / 03 2020/05/1 5 —— " You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear." By Sherlock Holmes. "The Economics of Milk Coke", first published in the United States in 2007. Economic books. It is a "natural economics" work, it is not an academic tome, but full of little wisdom in life. Robert Frank was born in the United States in 1944. He received a bachelor's degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, a master's degree in statistics and a doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Representative works: "Milk Coke Economics", "Rich Man Country", etc. Natural economics refers to a way of thinking that uses economic concepts to understand certain phenomena in daily life. This way of thinking is based on the simple common sense of economics, trying to understand and explain the essence of things through basic reasoning. Part of the catalog Chapter 1 Economics in Product Design Chapter 2 Practice of Supply and Demand Chapter 3 The Mystery of the Workplace Chapter 4 Economics in Discounts Chapter 5 The Arms Race and the Tragedy of Public Goods Chapter 6 The Mystery of Ownership Chapter 7 Market Signals Revealed Chapter 8 Natural History Economics in Reality Chapter 9 When Psychology Meets Economics Chapter 10 The Informal Relationship Market I remember that there was a channel called "Full Documentary" , which often played some interesting documentaries or exploration programs produced abroad. I remember an ad line that was often broadcast in a loop, " Have you ever thought about it, did you think about it?" I am often curious about some inconspicuous details in my life, and sometimes I even search the Internet specifically to find answers, although the answers to these questions may not help real life. 1. Why is thirsty easy to wake up? 2. Why can music affect human emotions? 3. Why is Sunday the first day of the first week? 4. Why did Baizi go first? 5. Why is there a flashback? 6. Why can't I see people's faces in dreams? 7. Why do you have repeated dreams? 8. Why is it the first time you experience an event, but it seems that you have experienced this scene a long time ago? 9. Why do I sneeze when looking directly at the sun? 10. Why do different parts of the hair grow differently? These unremarkable and irrelevant questions often popped up from my mind without warning. And this book essentially records such questions in daily life that we usually don’t notice and have no time to ask why. The questions collected in this article are a bit like the economics questions in the "One Hundred Thousand Whys" series. Things in the world are strange and strange, but the essential laws that affect the development and appearance of these things may be extremely limited. This article explains some phenomena in life from the following aspects. 1. The principle of cost-effectiveness. Product design must not only include functions that meet the wishes of consumers, but also meet the seller's needs to maintain low prices and facilitate competition. The phenomenon caused by this principle may include: Why is milk sold in square boxes, but Coke is sold in round bottles? 2. Supply and demand. To explain price or output fluctuations, it is not correct to look at the supply side or the demand side. Such phenomena may include: Why do many bars ask for money for drinking water, but they provide free peanuts? 3. Basic principles in a competitive labor market. The service remuneration received by professionals affects the advice they provide. For example: Why do we tip some services, but not some? 4. The discount threshold in the production process of economies of scale. Sellers allow customers to buy at discounted prices, but the prerequisite is that customers must first cross a certain threshold. For example: Why do household appliances retailers make dents on stoves and refrigerators? 5. The tragedy of public goods. Public things that belong to the largest number of people are often the things that receive the least care. For example: Why does splitting the bill evenly make people spend more in restaurants? 6. Ownership. Adam Smith's invisible hand is based on the following implicit premise: personal returns only depend on absolute performance, but in fact, most things in life are set in relative positions. Such as: Why are there no first-class for-profit universities? 7. Market signals. Acting with limited information is more cost-effective than bearing the cost of having sufficient information. For example: Why are almost brand-new used cars so much cheaper than real new cars? 8. Natural economics. Natural economics is a way of thinking that uses the concepts of economics to understand certain phenomena in daily life. This way of thinking is based on the simple common sense of economics, trying to understand and explain the essence of things through basic reasoning . For example: Why does the American men's football perform so badly in international competitions, while the American women's football is so much better? 9. Behavioral economics. When making decisions, people sometimes rely on the wrong information, and sometimes they derive wrong conclusions from the correct information. Why do most department stores put men's clothing on the lower floors and women's clothing on the higher floors? 10. Informal social relations market. Without the sense of security provided by contractual commitments, many valuable transactions cannot be done. For example, if polygamy is beneficial to men but harmful to women, why would a male-dominated legislator prohibit it? The author uses these 10 basic principles of economics to qualitatively but not quantitatively explain many phenomena in American daily life. Some of these phenomena not only appear in the United States, but are also common in other regions and even other times. If you ignore the large number of mathematical formulas and mathematical proofs in economics, especially quantitative economics, I think economics is as interesting as psychology and very close to life. " Learning economics is the same as learning a new language. It is important to start slowly and see how each concept is applied in different environments. " I started from the fourth grade , which is the fall of 2004 began to study English in the classroom . But the main way I learn English in class is to recite words, recite texts, and memorize grammar. There are few opportunities to communicate directly with others in English. This makes me feel that I am not fluent in dialogue with foreigners in my daily life every time I travel abroad . Whether it is learning English or learning the computer knowledge that I majored in , if we only learn the refined concepts in the textbook , instead of using it in real life and scenarios. Then our learning efficiency will not be high. " For many years, in class discussions, whenever possible, I have used some simple strokes or other illustrations to explain examples. The reason for this, cognitive theorists may be able to explain, it can make the concept more reliable It is embedded in students’ minds, even if my paintings are funny, they don’t contain specific economics content. I encourage students to add pictures by themselves when they encounter new concepts. " " Why is there a bit of braille on the keypad of the high-speed cash machine? Most of the people who visit these machines are drivers, and none of them are blind. According to my student Bill Toya, the cash machine manufacturer must give ordinary Street cash machines are equipped with small keyboards with braille, so all the machines look like one, and the cost is lower. Otherwise, the two types of machines must be separated to ensure that the appropriate machine is installed in the appropriate place. If braille is provided for Visible users are causing trouble, and it’s worth the effort to spend so much effort, but they don’t get in the way. " I am very interested in such small questions. Some can be explained from the perspective of economics, and some can be explained from the perspective of natural science. I tend to record the confusion that I occasionally think of on my phone. When in doubt, you may come up with some hypotheses. When you are free, search the Internet to verify your ideas. Sometimes I find that my guess is very similar to the answers given by others. Sometimes I find that the accepted answer may exceed my expectations. However, I rarely find that my own answer is better than the answers of all others. But no matter what the situation is , I can feel fresh and interesting, and feel that I have gained a lot of pleasure. " Research has shown that one of the best ways to learn is to write it down. " "At its core, the narrative learning point of view believes that humans have a common tendency to'storytelling' personal experiences, that is, to narrate Way to interpret information and experience. " In the " human weakness " this book, Dell * Carnegie summed up suggestions to deal with people a lot of bars. For each suggestion, he used a lot of examples to illustrate. Even if readers forget his suggestions, as long as they remember those stories, they can naturally draw patterns from those stories. This is why we think that older people are generally more intelligent. That's because they have experienced more stories and remembered more stories , so naturally they can sum up more truths. " Someone sent me an e-mail in a desperate way, saying that the real reason for this was that the Americans with Disabilities Act required this. He sent me a link to a web page to prove his claim. Sure enough, there is indeed a law. It is stipulated that the keyboards of all cash machines must have a bit of braille, and the highways are no exception. In some rare cases (for example, a blind person comes to this cash machine in a taxi, and I don’t want to disclose the card number and password to the driver), Braille can come in handy. " Of course we can say that it is because the law requires it, so people do it. But if we look at the problem in this way, it is still not deep enough, because behind the formulation of any law , there are its motives and considerations. Lawmakers need to consider both the possible benefits and the price paid. This is a typical economic way of thinking. The explanation of most things in this world is often not single. There may be major factors and minor factors. And in different scenarios, the weights of primary and secondary factors may be different . So instead of arguing, which one is the main reason. Not as much as possible widening of ideas , vision as well as what is our neglect of reason . "The product design must not only include the functions that are most in line with the wishes of consumers, but also meet the seller's needs to maintain low prices and facilitate competition. This means that product design must achieve a balance between the two. ·Product design functions must conform The principle of cost-effectiveness. ·The details of product design have a certain relationship with the geometric principles. ·The strategic decision of the manufacturer on a certain design function (what kind of impact this function will have on the use of the product) will be reflected in the product · Product design must not only conform to the possible use of the product, but what kind of information the product hopes to convey to users will also have an impact on it. · Historical sources must be considered in depth to explain the product design function. " "The economist's supply and demand model is essentially an invisible market force that determines the output and price of a certain product. The demand for a specific product is a measure of how many people are willing to buy it. In other words it provides an overview of people purchase the product, feel that they have gained much interest as long as people think value for money, will continue to buy. buy a product its overall pattern is: a commodity prices are rising, demand is also It continued to fall. " In fact , this is particularly obvious in the marriage and love market . From an economic point of view, we can easily understand why the same man is more popular in the marriage and love market when he is 30 years old than when he is 20 years old . And the same woman, when she was 20 years old , was more popular in the marriage and love market than when she was 30 years old . " · The greatest value of a company is not how much it can increase productivity, but how much profit it creates. · From a long-term perspective, the cost saved by new technology will not give production It brings higher profits, but lowers the price of the product to benefit consumers. ·The “law of one price” states that any supplier that tries to take advantage of the idea that the rich are willing to spend more will give competitors Create direct profit opportunities. ·Demand for a specific product is a measure of how many people are willing to buy it. ·Supply of a specific product is a measure of how many producers are willing to provide the product for sale Concise scale. ·When the number of consumers willing to buy the product at the mainstream market price is equal to the number of producers willing to sell the product, the market for a particular product is in equilibrium. This equilibrium price is also called the market clearing price. · To explain price or output fluctuations, it is not correct to look at the supply side or the demand side. " This is clearly reflected in the promotional festivals of major e-commerce platforms . The reason why e-commerce platforms set the price reduction rules so complicated is to achieve price discrimination . Price-sensitive are willing to save 10 bucks or 100 bucks , spend 10 minutes or 1 hours to research policies. For those consumers precious time, they would rather pay a little more and avoid counting incentives and trouble arising. “ Any seller with a production process with economies of scale will inevitably use the tool of setting a discount threshold. Discounts for price-sensitive buyers without lowering prices for other customers can encourage producers to expand and reduce average production costs. " Regarding the higher price of black MacBooks , my confusion is why not increase the production of black MacBooks ? Is it because the production cost of changing the color is too high? If the preference for black is a long-term demand, the cost of changing the production line should be made up soon, right?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    My friend dropped out of her economics class after saying that economics is just common sense and that the study of it is quite useless to anyone who can think logically. I disagreed with her completely as I had just finished reading "Freakonomics," but after reading (or at least getting a third of the way through) this book I understand what she means. Whereas "Freakonomics" took the laws of economics and applied it to unconventional situations and finding interesting results, this book looks a My friend dropped out of her economics class after saying that economics is just common sense and that the study of it is quite useless to anyone who can think logically. I disagreed with her completely as I had just finished reading "Freakonomics," but after reading (or at least getting a third of the way through) this book I understand what she means. Whereas "Freakonomics" took the laws of economics and applied it to unconventional situations and finding interesting results, this book looks at everyday situations only to come up with very obvious usually mundane answers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Thought the book might be similar to Freakonomics-- it is, but it's more rooted in econ principles. Cost-Benefit analysis, cash on the table, and the dreaded opportunity cost, which apparently something like 75% of those who took economics still don't understand. (Apparently I'm one of them as well.) Book's mostly examples of why certain economics principles work in the real world and it's semi-coherent, though not easily digested. Most of the stories make you go, "Oooooh!" though. Thought the book might be similar to Freakonomics-- it is, but it's more rooted in econ principles. Cost-Benefit analysis, cash on the table, and the dreaded opportunity cost, which apparently something like 75% of those who took economics still don't understand. (Apparently I'm one of them as well.) Book's mostly examples of why certain economics principles work in the real world and it's semi-coherent, though not easily digested. Most of the stories make you go, "Oooooh!" though.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian Finifter

    A couple interesting ideas, but mostly a boat load of "It may be..." and "It's plausible that..." just-so stories that are little more than complete conjecture. Interesting and a quick read, but don't mistake the entertaining hypotheticals for verified explanations or solid conclusions. A couple interesting ideas, but mostly a boat load of "It may be..." and "It's plausible that..." just-so stories that are little more than complete conjecture. Interesting and a quick read, but don't mistake the entertaining hypotheticals for verified explanations or solid conclusions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rob Dudek

    It'll keep you entertained for a while, if you're just too tired to read a proper book. Some interesting facts/theories but ultimately nothing special. I'd flip through it in the library but probably wouldn't buy it. It'll keep you entertained for a while, if you're just too tired to read a proper book. Some interesting facts/theories but ultimately nothing special. I'd flip through it in the library but probably wouldn't buy it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nguyen Truc

    Engineers build the world and the economist helps to explain it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ailith Twinning

    The answers are entirely common sense once you hear them - but stop and try to think of an answer to each question before you read the one given. If you understand opportunity cost, skip this book. It bored me to tears because it just a few hours of practice questions. It could have been more interesting if it actually pursued reality, but that's not what economics even is. Economics is an ideology and 'theory' to short-circuit scientific investigation with apologetics, rhetoric, and maths. It's The answers are entirely common sense once you hear them - but stop and try to think of an answer to each question before you read the one given. If you understand opportunity cost, skip this book. It bored me to tears because it just a few hours of practice questions. It could have been more interesting if it actually pursued reality, but that's not what economics even is. Economics is an ideology and 'theory' to short-circuit scientific investigation with apologetics, rhetoric, and maths. It's just not a science. The opportunity cost structure is quite useful for quickly thinking thru real-world situations and getting AN answer. It may or may not be the right answer, but you'll have one. Great practice for logical thinking and non-scientific critical thinking. I just don't have a whole lot of respect for non-scientific thinking outside of morality, and even then only because we simply don't have the data and experiments to provide anything but a wholly abhorrent moral structure. Economics as a field has a lot to do with this, I think >.> The problem isn't Frank, it's Economics. And, at least this doesn't reach the sheer offensive heights Freakonomics does.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike Drisk

    Frank attempts to educate his readers through a variety of articles covering different Econ topics while trying not overwhelm the reader with too much jargon. As a professor of economics, Frank clearly knows his subject area and does a good job at achieving his goal of not bogging the reader down in the nitty gritty details of the great dismal science of economics. You don’t have to be an Econ nut to enjoy this book and you’ll almost certainly come away with learning something new or better gras Frank attempts to educate his readers through a variety of articles covering different Econ topics while trying not overwhelm the reader with too much jargon. As a professor of economics, Frank clearly knows his subject area and does a good job at achieving his goal of not bogging the reader down in the nitty gritty details of the great dismal science of economics. You don’t have to be an Econ nut to enjoy this book and you’ll almost certainly come away with learning something new or better grasping that Econ concept you forgot from college. I listened on audiobook and while some articles dragged on and didn’t catch my attention, others had me listening again 2-3 times. I’d recommend getting the physical copy as there were many times I wish I could have highlighted or made notes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Özgür Takmaz

    The mother of all economic ideas is the cost benefit principle. Opportunity cost is everything you give up when you make a choice. No cash on the table principle. The are two buyers in the marketplace, those who don't know what they are doing and those who don't know they don't know what they are doing. Cultural norms are adaptations to the mix of problems people confront at different times and different places. People's choices are shaped to a considerable extent by a psychological drive to construc The mother of all economic ideas is the cost benefit principle. Opportunity cost is everything you give up when you make a choice. No cash on the table principle. The are two buyers in the marketplace, those who don't know what they are doing and those who don't know they don't know what they are doing. Cultural norms are adaptations to the mix of problems people confront at different times and different places. People's choices are shaped to a considerable extent by a psychological drive to construct and preserve individual and group identity. There are rich textures and patterns in everyday experience that become visible to the practiced eye of the economic naturalist. Discovering them is an intellectual adventure that your can savour for the rest of your days.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Complete Idiot

    What a pointless book in this day and age. I feel like anyone that would read something like this already has access to internet and relatively functional head. With these 2 things you will either have already stumbled upon concepts discussed here or you'll be able to figure it out intuitively before the answer is given. I think that is the main point that is missing in this book is the 'AHA' moment. No real conundrum was brought up, nothing really stays with you after reading the book. This was What a pointless book in this day and age. I feel like anyone that would read something like this already has access to internet and relatively functional head. With these 2 things you will either have already stumbled upon concepts discussed here or you'll be able to figure it out intuitively before the answer is given. I think that is the main point that is missing in this book is the 'AHA' moment. No real conundrum was brought up, nothing really stays with you after reading the book. This was an old book I had picked up as a kid at a store, and now I realise why I didn't finish it when I tried reading it. Might as well apply an utilitarian principle on anything that is presented here and you have your answer, it is there because utility is maximized... 3/10

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Chen

    Spent 2 hours to finish it at a coffee spot of La Colombe. A Chinese Edition, I have to say. it was not very good even though it was highly rated by few magazines or celebrities. It mentioned about why female clothes located at higher level but male clothes located at lower ground. It really depends, at least, in Asia. We do it in a vice versa. Besides, why not everyone use Nylon tie to tie their shoes. Well, this remind me an example when I audit an entrepreneur in Wharton. Function-improved pr Spent 2 hours to finish it at a coffee spot of La Colombe. A Chinese Edition, I have to say. it was not very good even though it was highly rated by few magazines or celebrities. It mentioned about why female clothes located at higher level but male clothes located at lower ground. It really depends, at least, in Asia. We do it in a vice versa. Besides, why not everyone use Nylon tie to tie their shoes. Well, this remind me an example when I audit an entrepreneur in Wharton. Function-improved product may not ever take off or the time costing can be unacceptable long. That's the reason, I think it is pointless of the original discussion at this book. In a word, not that recommed. lol..

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    The book is a series of cursory, plausible explanations to (mostly) interesting questions. I would have preferred the author to more deeply explain fewer questions, and/or to give more substantiation to the answers he did give. Many of the answers he offers left much to be desired. Often times, I walked away preferring my own hypothesis on the topic over the one he offers. Ultimately, there were a few interesting tidbits, but i can’t say that the book merits more than a cursory skim through quest The book is a series of cursory, plausible explanations to (mostly) interesting questions. I would have preferred the author to more deeply explain fewer questions, and/or to give more substantiation to the answers he did give. Many of the answers he offers left much to be desired. Often times, I walked away preferring my own hypothesis on the topic over the one he offers. Ultimately, there were a few interesting tidbits, but i can’t say that the book merits more than a cursory skim through questions that interest you.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul moved to LibraryThing

    Every problem presented has a simple explanation that is only true in an imaginary world that economist live in where markets work perfectly. In fact every single problem presented is much more complicated and the forces behind it are many and interesting but you wouldn't know it from this book. It also picks only problems that work well in markets and avoid any that could show their shortcomings. Every problem presented has a simple explanation that is only true in an imaginary world that economist live in where markets work perfectly. In fact every single problem presented is much more complicated and the forces behind it are many and interesting but you wouldn't know it from this book. It also picks only problems that work well in markets and avoid any that could show their shortcomings.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Puty

    Had quite high expectation with this one due to the interesting blurbs. Indeed, some parts are interesting and insightful (like why milk are in square carton while sodas are in rounded can), but some are boring, too American, and... over-generalizing and a few are even... impossible. "Why do better-looking people are more intelligent?" or "Why brunettes are kinder than blondes?" Uh oh. Had quite high expectation with this one due to the interesting blurbs. Indeed, some parts are interesting and insightful (like why milk are in square carton while sodas are in rounded can), but some are boring, too American, and... over-generalizing and a few are even... impossible. "Why do better-looking people are more intelligent?" or "Why brunettes are kinder than blondes?" Uh oh.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Prasanth

    Structured as a series of Q&A - this one provides some food for thought for sure, but at times the explanations sound like retrofitted answers to align with one or the other "economic naturalist" theories. Structured as a series of Q&A - this one provides some food for thought for sure, but at times the explanations sound like retrofitted answers to align with one or the other "economic naturalist" theories.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Blasco

    Non-stop learning. Maybe not all the explanations are the correct ones, I really do not know and do not care. That's not what the book was about for me. It was about learning to see daily issues through the lens of economics. Non-stop learning. Maybe not all the explanations are the correct ones, I really do not know and do not care. That's not what the book was about for me. It was about learning to see daily issues through the lens of economics.

  24. 5 out of 5

    NePo

    There no money on the table. This book raised interesting questions, but half of questions seem obsolete. Who cares about CD or DVD in this age? However, I appreciate the way of thinking that book teaches. I feel that if the book was updated with relevant examples it would be a cool book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh Clausen

    Fun read; especially for the know-it-alls out there to increase their knowledge reservoir!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fauza

    I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rofl Dobelli I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rofl Dobelli

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian Truong

    Quite interested

  28. 4 out of 5

    Thamravee

    Simple but not simple. My favorite economics book

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chanh Nguyen

    Just found some interesting points in this books but it's not the right one for strategies thinking. Just found some interesting points in this books but it's not the right one for strategies thinking.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    I

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