Ep. 039 – Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy with Tim Harford

How many of you rode an elevator today? Or Googled something? Or use index funds in your financial lives?

I’m going to guess all of you did at least one of those things.  I’m also going to guess that you probably didn’t realize that those three things are among the 50 inventions that shaped the modern economy.

That’s according to the list compiled by BBC and Financial Times journalist Tim Harford, our guest this week on Better Off and author of the new book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy.

The book paints a picture of change by telling fascinating and compelling stories of the tools, people, and ideas that had far-reaching consequences for the global economy. From the plough to air conditioning, from Gillette’s disposable razor to IKEA’s Billy bookcase, Tim is able to recount each invention’s own curious, surprising, and memorable journey.

We also touched on Tim’s previous book, Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives, which comes out in paperback this October. As someone who could be described as a bit compulsive, especially when it comes to my email inbox, I loved this book because it celebrates the benefits of messiness in our lives: why it’s important, why we resist it, and why we should embrace it.

Little did I know that a bit of mess lies at the core of how we innovate, how we achieve, how we reach each other – in short, how we succeed.

I enjoyed this interview so much that, yep, you guessed it, no call this week! I don’t think you’ll mind…this was a fun one.

I highly recommend following Tim on Twitter and checking out the 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy podcast.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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“Better Off” theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

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