The Economic Naturalist by Robert H. Frank

economicnaturalist.jpg The Eco­nom­ic Nat­u­ral­ist by Robert H. Frank was a fair­ly easy read and inter­est­ing to me from the stand­point of eco­nom­ic ethnog­ra­phy. I don’t know much about eco­nom­ics in an aca­d­e­m­ic sense, but after read­ing this book and reflect­ing it is obvi­ous that I use it on a dai­ly basis. In ret­ro­spect this makes sense because eco­nom­ics is a method of cod­i­fy­ing every­day behav­ior.

Although the vol­ume is slim it gets repet­i­tive fair­ly quick­ly. Every­thing seems to boil down to oppor­tu­ni­ty costs, which could very well be cor­rect, but is cer­tain­ly bor­ing. The premise is based on a method Dr. Frank used in his class­es where he would have his stu­dents come up with an inter­est­ing ques­tion and obser­va­tion about every­day life and then explain it in eco­nom­ic terms. One ques­tion I was hop­ing for, but which wasn’t there is “Why do spam­mers con­tin­ue to send out spam email when the emails no longer make any sense?” I could prob­a­bly try to exer­cise the lit­tle knowl­edge I picked up from the book to answer this myself, but I’m feel­ing a bit lazy today.

The book also reminds me of the triv­ia books I’d read when I was lit­tle; The Quin­tes­sen­tial Quiz Book, How Did They Do That?, Why Did They Do That?, et cetera. Although, as a point in Frank’s favor, it did man­age to teach a bit of actu­al method­ol­o­gy in addi­tion to the straight fact-lay­ing. It is a good book for light read­ing, or toi­let-sit­ting, many of the ques­tions and answers are brief, so the book can be read in small dos­es.

One Reply

  • Shalom Adam,

    Spam­mers con­tin­ue to spam because their clients are igno­rant.

    While the spam­mer know the odds of get­ting a pos­i­tive response hov­er some­where around the lev­el of me dat­ing Min­nie Dri­ver, the clients think email spam is sub­ject to the 1 per­cent rule of junk mail.

    So if a spam­mer tells a client, “I can get your mes­sage to 20 mil­lion peo­ple” and the client goes for it, the spam­mer col­lects a per­cent­age fee upfront and starts look­ing for the next suck­er.



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