Back to school

13th September, 2021

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer – or winter, if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere, or in early 2022. I’ve held off posting lots of August updates but now I’m back, and with a lovely little review of The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy (Amazon, Bookshop) from the Daily Mail.

“Tim Harford is an economist and broadcaster with a gift for making his subject fascinating and comprehensible to non-economists. His previous book, Fifty Things, was a series of quirky essays on the radical social change brought about by such inventions as the wheel and the internet. This sequel takes a close look at everyday inventions that we take for granted, but which, nevertheless, have a huge impact on our lives. Harford considers culture-changers from bricks (used to build the tower of Babel), bicycles (and their role in empowering women), and spectacles (there is a global epidemic of short-sightedness among children and no one knows why). Witty, informative and endlessly entertaining, this is popular economics at its most engaging.

I cannot disagree. But if you don’t fancy buying a copy, I recommend taking a look at The Art of More (Bookshop), an enviably good history of how ideas in mathematics have shaped (and been shaped by) the progress of civilisation.

Also well worth a look is Machiavelli for Women by the superb economics journalist Stacey Vanek Smith.

If you want some Harford podcast action, More or Less is back on air – or here’s my interview with the Analytics Power Hour.

Or just enjoy this new and rather wonderful performance of Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports, from the Sydney Opera House.

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