Sunday, June 30, 2019

Books: An Economist Walks into a Brothel - and Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk

The runaway success of "Freakonomics" has prompted a plethora of pop-econ books over the years, but the award for most attention-grabbing title probably goes to "An Economist Walks into a Brothel" by Allison Schrager:

Schrager's book explains how people deal with pricing, assuming, and mitigating risk, but instead of case studies on stuffy hedge funds and the Great Recession, it features little known areas: the titular Moonlite BunnyRanch, paparazzi photos, racehorse breeding, and big wave surfing, to name a few. It's fun to delve into these wacky worlds, and Schrager's basic premise is pretty egalitarian - it doesn't matter whether you're a president or a prostitute, everyone has to deal with risk in intelligent ways to go through life.

"An Economist Walks Into a Brothel" does lose some steam when it tries to intermittently layer in some basic personal finance and insurance advice (if you're a functioning, non-bankrupt adult, you've already absorbed everything in these portions through trial and error). Still, it's harmless advice, and the rest of the book is an entertaining walk through the world of risk.


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