by Tim Hartford Oxford University Press 2006, $26 (hardcover) Hartford, who pens the "dear economist" column for the Financial Times Magazine, has written a highly entertaining book on topics both serious (why some nations are rich and some poor) and relatively trivial (the "why you can never buy a decent used car" of the subtitle). His lucid, chatty style makes the discussions easy to understand for nonspecialists even as he lays out serious policy suggestions. so much for economics being ...

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