Tim Harford

Tim Harford

Financial Times’ Undercover Economist

Synopsis

The presenter of BBC’s More or Less, FT columnist, Oxford Fellow and million-selling business author is a compelling storyteller on economics, management, psychology and the unexpected bits in between. He’s scrutinised politicians’ use of statistics, highlighted the necessity of failure, examined what innovation is, and questioned big data. “We’re in danger of becoming obsessed with the forest but missing the trees; what counts is individual customers and staff.”

Biography

Tim Harford is a world-renowned behavioural economist, an award-winning Financial Times columnist, and a BBC broadcaster. Described as ‘Britain’s Malcolm Gladwell,’ and by the New Statesman as ‘perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world’ he brings storytelling, humour and intelligence to an oft-maligned discipline.

With a knack for finding fascinating explanations for everyday numbers, Tim’s first two books, The Logic of Life and The Undercover Economist, have been translated into 30 languages and sold well over a million copies. His Radio 4 show More or Less looks at the truth behind dubious statistics and manipulated figures.

Whilst he’s a ‘serious’ economist with a career spanning Oxford, Shell and the World Bank, Tim’s FT columns dwell on the economics of daily life and offer tongue-in-cheek solutions to readers’ problems. His first book built on these themes and The Undercover Economist was likened to Freakonomics in its examination and explanation of the workings of everything from coffee shops to organised crime to development aid.

Tim’s other titles include: The Logic of Life which applies economic theory to the world to explain how rational (or otherwise) our decisions are; Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure shows how challenges or all types and sizes can't be solved with simple ready-made solutions - we must learn to improvise and account for the necessity of failure; and The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, a look at the truth behind the headlines now that economics has become front-page news

A regular TED speaker, Tim also looks at why it’s so hard yet so important to learn from mistakes, the importance of obstacles and interruptions to creativity, how forecasting works and what to do when it doesn’t, and what innovation really means and why the wrong sort of innovation can be a distraction. Taking in everything from the military to game shows, aviation to ballet, global catastrophes to finding the right socks he questions received wisdom, common sense and statistical certainty. Tim’s accessible, easy style provides entertaining, thought-provoking insights relevant to every person and organisation.

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Agent Recommendation

The Undercover Economist was the first book I read when I joined JLA – since then I’ve never failed to be impressed by Tim. He makes you look at everything differently. Hearing his new speech on Big Data was a revelation: you realise the challenge is not to get the biggest data set, but the right data! He has a knack for making the seemingly impenetrable blissfully clear. JLA Agent Jamie Curtis

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Video

JLA Speakers Breakfast

JLA Speakers Breakfast

JLA Speakers Breakfast

Harford on Innovation

The Logic of Life

JLA Speakers Breakfast

TED Talk