Tim Harford's writings reveal the economic ideas behind everyday experiences.

Why you should listen

In the Undercover Economist column he writes for the Financial Times, Tim Harford looks at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways and explains the fundamental principles of the modern economy. He illuminates them with clear writing and a variety of examples borrowed from daily life.

His new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure, argues that the world has become far too unpredictable and complex for today's challenges to be tackled with ready-made solutions and expert opinions. Instead, Harford suggests, we need to learn to embrace failure and to constantly adapt, to improvise rather than plan, to work from the bottom up rather than the top down. He also presents the BBC radio series More or Less, a rare broadcast program devoted, as he says, to "the powerful, sometimes beautiful, often abused but ever ubiquitous world of numbers."

He says: "I’d like to see many more complex problems approached with a willingness to experiment."

What others say

“Harford's invitation to a fireside chat in No 10, if not issued already, cannot be far off...” — The Guardian

Tim Harford’s TED talk

Quotes from Tim Harford

I see the God complex around me all the time in my fellow economists. I see it in our business leaders. I see it in the politicians we vote for — people who, in the face of an incredibly complicated world, are nevertheless absolutely convinced that they understand the way that the world works.
Tim Harford
TEDGlobal 2011 • 1.3M views Jul 2011
Inspiring, Persuasive
Ten percent of American businesses disappear every year. … It’s far higher than the failure rate of, say, Americans. Ten percent of Americans don’t disappear every year. Which leads us to conclude American businesses fail faster than Americans, and therefore American businesses are evolving faster than Americans.
Tim Harford
TEDGlobal 2011 • 1.3M views Jul 2011
Inspiring, Persuasive