BOOK REVIEW: Zombies, Bananas and Why There Are No Economists in Heaven (Jessica Irvine, A&U)

Let’s face it, economics is not the sexiest social science going around. If I were to spout the terms ‘negative externality’ or ‘elasticity of demand’, I’m pretty sure most readers’ eyes would glaze over. But what if someone could explain to you how the carbon tax works minus the political jargon, or why it is getting harder to buy a house? How about some tips on finding your perfect partner or shedding those extra few kilos? Sydney Morning Herald economics writer Jessica Irvine packs all this and more into her first book Zombies, Bananas and Why There Are No Economists in Heaven. Irvine’s book is a collection of her weekly ‘Irvine Index’ columns, introduced by new chapter overviews, and organised to reflect the way economic topics are covered in standard academic textbooks.  Each column picks up on something from the news and explains the economics behind it, in a simple and funny way, sometimes with added puns. Irvine is an entertaining writer with a knack for explaining complex economic theory. Readers who are new to economics will learn a great deal from this book, while experienced economic wonks, like this reviewer, will savour Irvine’s humour and her ability to connect economic theory with everyday life.

Eloise Keating is a journalist with Bookseller+Publisher. Not so long ago, she spent her time studying economics at university 

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