Finished this breezy book late last night, adding it to my growing shelf of books on everyday economics.
And I don't mean "breezy" as in lack of substance, but rather as a compliment to the tone and readability of the work. Author Eduardo Porter really nails a nonfiction style that pushes references and citations to a Notes section in the back, allowing you to focus clearly on the material.
The introduction and first chapter of the book start you off on familiar ground, explaining the way prices are set for goods in open markets (and it's not as simple as balancing supply and demand, when confounding factors like inefficient market information is taken into account).
Then we were off into broader territory, discussing the implications of cost allocations (and prices) of Life, Happiness, Culture, and Faith. His discussion of how we often see prices set at "free", and react to them despite hidden or implied costs, was enlightening.
The concluding chapters cover very interesting ground: how participation in organized religion is grounded in imposing costs of entry, and how leading economists are evaluating how much we might decide to spend today to fend off the effects of global climate change.