Diane Coyle - Sex, Drugs & Economics

from the publisher:
What in the world does the arcane science of economics have to do with the "real" world? Everything, according to Diane Coyle, a Harvard-trained economist and award-winning financial columnist.

In this entertaining introduction to economics, Coyle shows how "the dismal science" can shed light on virtually anything -- sports, drugs, music, movies, and, yes, even sex. Writing in a lively and engaging style, she illustrates the relevance of economics to real-world issues in a refreshing, thought-provoking manner.

Eschewing abstruse mathematics, Coyle explains how you can use simple economic principles to analyze the complex and often confusing issues in today's headlines. Economic thinking has profound relevance to contemporary politics, social trends, and public policy debates -- not just traditional macroeconomic concerns like GDP, inflation, or employment. In short, she shows you how to think like an economist. In her view, economists are consummate skeptics, constantly asking questions and seeking empirical evidence to support or refute theories.

In this broader sense, economics becomes a tool for understanding human nature -- a quest for enlightenment that rises above mere facts and figures to address the most vexing issues of our time. Without a firm grasp of economic fundamentals, Coyle argues, it's impossible to think clearly about trade and globalization, hunger and population growth, the environment and energy conservation, and a host of other urgent problems.

Whatever side of these problems you find yourself on, Sex, Drugs & Economics will provide valuable insights into their root causes, inevitable trade-offs, and potential solutions. Ultimately, Coyle concludes, an understanding of economics is essential to an informed and active citizenry -- and, indeed, to democracy itself.

"Diane Coyle has done the best job yet of showing how economic thinking can be applied to life . . ." --Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Trade, Princeton University

"This is a highly engaging and remarkably literate survey of economics in practice by the new doyenne of popular business economics. . . . Dr. Coyle has a rare talent for making esoteric theories come alive while staying true to the fundamentals of economic science." --Andrew W. Lo, Harris & Harris Group Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Director, MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering

"Diane Coyle is a rare breed -- the understandable economist. She sees economics not as a body of knowledge, but as a way of thinking, and applies that thinking to such real-world issues as sex, sports, drugs, and music. While analytically sound and theoretically very deep, Ms. Coyle's book provides a readable and entertaining road map to the economic paradigm. A fun read, it will give both the novice and the technician a great deal of food for thought." --Dr. Sherry Cooper, Executive Vice-President and Global Economic Strategist, Bank of Montreal Group of Companies

"Diane Coyle delivers a most enjoyable tour and an effortless education in economics by exploring everyday subjects. It will make you read your newspaper with fresh eyes. This book is for everyone who thinks they should know about economics but has so far avoided it." --Peter Sutherland, Chairman, BP

Diane Coyle writes and speaks on business, technology, and the global economy. She is a regular columnist for The Independent, a presenter of BBC Radio's Analysis program and directs Enlightenment Economics, a consulting firm. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance. Diane was the Economics Editor of The Independent for eight years, and in 2000 she won the prestigious Wincott Award for Senior Financial journalists. After getting her Ph.D. from Harvard, she spent a year working at the U.K. Treasury. Diane is also the author of Paradoxes of Prosperity, The Weightless World, and Governing the World Economy. She lives in London.