Websites We Love: Econtalk

December 20, 2009

The Library of Economics and Liberty has put together an excellent collection of talks by major economists and statisticians on myriad topics on this website.  Host Russ Roberts talks to featured guests, professors, authors, and Nobel Prize winners about the economics behind current events, markets, the Great Depression, free trade, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making and New talks are updated almost every week, and while you may not always agree with the experts , it is always fun to listen to them. Some of our favorites are Nassem Taleb on the current financial crisis (,  The great Milton Friedman himself on Money ( and the always entertaining Michael Lewis on the Economics of Sports ( Add a couple of these talks to your I Pod and get an excellent mental and physical work out the next time you go for a walk.

Pay special attention to the related links beneath each talk for additional related reading and the comments that (like everywhere else on the internet, occasionally get lively! Pay a visit to the website right now, and we promise you won’t be disappointed!

First published in 2005, Jeffrey Rosenthal’s Struck by Lightning is a delightful little book that uses statistics and probabilities to enable better decision making by laymen and novice mathematicians alike. If you are looking for techniques and complex statistics you might be disappointed with the lack of technical material in the book , but everyone else is likely to find something to marvel at within these pages. The book looks at published statistical studies like those related to international crime rates and every day problems like the chances of you getting rejected when asking the cute co-worker to a date with the same probabilistic rigor, and you are guaranteed to smack your head and say “I should have thought of that!” many times over these pages.

A professor at the University of Toronto by day, Rosenthal writes with a mixture of humour and insight that probably make his classes great fun to be at . This book, like Tim Hartford’s The UnderCover Economist and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics, mixes personal anecdotes with every day life with high concepts to drive home important lessons in data-driven decision-making. Coincidentally, all three of these books were published in 2005. Now what are the odds of that! (You just might be able to make a reasonable guess at this once you’ve read this book cover to cover)

To find out more about the book, or to read more of Prof. Rosenthal’s extremely interesting research visit his university web page at

To order this book, click here :