Read The Fatal Equilibrium by Marshall Jevons Online


At Harvard, tenure decisions are a matter of life -- or death.For Dennis Gossen, the economics department whiz kid currently being considered for tenure, it's definitely death. When he's turned down by the high-and-mighty Promotion and Tenure Committee, Gossen commits suicide.A Question of Cost Accounting...Or does he? It's hard to imagine why a young man with a brilliantAt Harvard, tenure decisions are a matter of life -- or death.For Dennis Gossen, the economics department whiz kid currently being considered for tenure, it's definitely death. When he's turned down by the high-and-mighty Promotion and Tenure Committee, Gossen commits suicide.A Question of Cost Accounting...Or does he? It's hard to imagine why a young man with a brilliant scholarly future -- at Harvard or not -- would come up with an equation in which the opportunity cost of killing himself (a high price, considering his potential earnings) would be outweighed by the emotional cost of failing to receive tenure.... Or Utility?Then two members of the P and T Committee are murdered, and it becomes clear to Professor Henry Spearman of the Economics Department that the killer must be on the committee. But which of his illustrious colleagues would have significantly increased his -- or her -- utility (i.e., happiness) by murdering a faculty member or two? Or three?...

Title : The Fatal Equilibrium
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345331588
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Fatal Equilibrium Reviews

  • Christophe Van
    2018-12-09 07:16

    The second entry in this series of cozy mysteries. This mystery is very donnish, as its setting is the intrigue around the promotion of an assistant professor at Harvard. I think the writing style, the characterization, the plotting and the "fair play" are all markedly better than in first entry in the series. Also, the economics are more interesting and also more central to the detection (nice application of search theory rather than intrusive insertion of Econ 101 stuff). The book chapters are short, making the book easy to read in bite sized pieces (e.g., on the subway).One critical note is that, as in the previous book, the economics used in the detection of the culprit are insufficiently tight: the theoretical deduction used by Spearman requires that the products have the same level of product differentiation, which they do not in this case. Still, the authors do a very nice job in giving clues to the reader throughout the book.Another critical note is that the writing style is not great, but it was more than good enough to not detract from my enjoying the story.Recommended if you like both donnish mysteries and economics.

  • Guts
    2018-11-30 07:25

    I read the Thai version of this book, which wasn't the best translation. It made the book harder to read, and there were parts that I had to re-read many times to try to understand the translated text. The book was ok though the economics lesson parts will make you feel like you're reading one of those "Learn ___ with Doraemon" comic, where the anyone other than the main character will be completely clueless about the subject of economics and the main character will be the one doing the lecture. There were some parts that made me cringe, like how the main character whitesplain to a black guy who was saying that one of the characters was racist. Or how one character mentioned that the justice system favours women more than men when it comes to murder (without mentioning that it's because how society view women as weak & incompetent rather than society just favours women)

  • Hazel
    2018-12-16 05:24

    I didn't read this in a day, but was surprised that when I went to mark it as "read", that I guess I hadn't entered the book at all. However, this wasn't a long book, but a bit slow at times for a mystery. This is because of its unusual nature: it's an economics lesson and murder mystery combined. The authors are both economics professors and must be mystery buffs as well. A young economics professor at Harvard is up for tenure. His murder is set up to look like suicide when he is denied it; two other professors are murdered in what appears to be revenge against people who voted against him. Sprinkled through the book are the lessons, starting with the economic theory of the young professor, to observations in the course of shopping for rare stamps and paring knives, and even dining on a cruise ship. It really was a fun way to absorb what to me would be rather boring information.Ironically, the mystery is resolved I THINK in a straightforward manner, but for a moment I thought there was a devilish twist at the end involving a character who had given rise to the title (Wu, on page 39). However, as I re-read that passage as well as the ending, I think that was a missed opportunity. Though Wu achieves his goal, it seems that there is no evidence (other than the passage of his realizing the "fatal equilibrium") that the solution was other than as laid out at the end. There is certainly room for growth as a mystery author, but still, a fun read.

  • Pamela Mclaren
    2018-11-22 07:15

    A young assistant professor of economics anticipates earning tenure at Harvard and prepares to celebrate the news when he opens the door, not to a fellow celebrant but his murderer. In this interesting murder mystery written by two economists (strange enough), the death of Dennis Gossen is right up front and center and then the story moves back in time to a point where the tenure and promotion committee members prepare to meet and decide on who receives positive results of their decisions. From there the story unfolds and what an interesting look into university life.For those on the committee come from widely different backgrounds and teaching and yet all hold to the process and what it means. You don't need a degree in business, not have to work on a university, to understand the underlaying backgrounds of each of the members of the committee, who ultimately can all be see as suspects in some aspect of the murder. While I struggled a bit with the economics, murder is murder and what a fascinating tale is told.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-11-26 05:14

    I had to read this book for my econ class because guess what! My professor co-wrote the book. I hated economics, not because my professor was bad nor because I think it's "useless" (in fact I think economics is incredibly important since economic unrest is often the cause behind radical political parties coming to power & I hate that I suck at it so much but I DIGRESS!!), but because HOLY MOLY do I not possess the mind or logic to reason through it. Sooo if it's a book about econ, do you think I'm going to like it? heck no. I'd give this book a one but that's probably more because I have unpleasant memories of this class moreso than because it's that bad. I mean, if you like econ... go ahead.

  • John Alsdorf
    2018-12-10 08:16

    This is one of a series co-authored by a couple of prominent economics professors, writing under the pen name of Marshall Jevons. The sleuth in question is himself a professor of economics who ends up using economic principles to solve the mystery. Delightful way to learn some basic economics. I wish the books had been around 50+ years ago when I was in college.Milton Friedman, who, incidentally, served as the model for the hero of the series (according to an epilogue in one of them) wrote the blurb for this one: “It is hard to conceive of a more pleasant and painless way of imbibing sound economic principles than reading this fascinating, absorbing, and well-written mystery story.”He's right!

  • Gencc
    2018-12-17 09:17

    I am bit disappointed after the reading. One boner is the party in which Clegg met Shannon took precedence over the beginning of formal promotion and tenure committee. At the party, Clegg didn't learn that Froster and Bell were contacted by Gossen until next day when promotion and tenure committee began. I have to ask why Clegg would steal the glove of Shannon's to implicate her into the murders of Froster and Bell before he knew Clegg might leak the information to others.And Clegg did not have the absolute control over the voting. It is a contingent that it turns out to be a tie and it fell upon him to break the deal. If Gossen was voted to have the tenure, Clegg would be at the end of his rope.

  • Skylar Burris
    2018-11-29 13:31

    I read this in my first year of college, in my Econon 101 class. It was one of those instances of a professor assigning his class his own book, although I can't recall if he actually told us he co-wrote it under a pseudonym or if I didn't find out until later. Mr. Elzinga (oh, the snobbery that has followed me from Mr. Jefferson's University to this day...) co-authored this with William Biert. Both are free market economics professors, and their series of mysteries (three, soon to be four, novels) involve an anti-socialist detective who applies the basic principles of economics to solve murder cases. Cheesy, to be sure, but it's a fun way to review economic concepts and see how economic reasoning can apply to real life situations.

  • Yofish
    2018-12-13 05:26

    An interesting idea: to introduce some basic economics in the context of a murder mystery. But in order to make it work, it's a little too forced and artificial. Some things work OK. Resolution (good guy figuring out what happened) sort of comes out of nowhere, and seems unconvincing how he figures it out. Also, most of the economics "taught" I knew already. Plot revolves around the tenure process at Harvard. Straw men from other departments thrown in to "debate" value of economic theory with clever economist.

  • Fu Tan
    2018-12-06 13:17

    Intriguing and a bit mysterious. Some basic economic concepts and principles are nicely blended into the plots. As a graduate student in economics, I was surprised to find that some of the fundamental methodologies adopted by economists would be demeaned by scholars in other disciplines. Though this book is purely imaginative, I think the authors borrow a lot from the reality in the sense that how much pressure the idea of getting a tenure puts on junior faculty. I would recommend this book to undergraduates who are interested in economics and graduates who have ambitions in academia.

  • Jim Cunningham
    2018-12-12 10:09

    I loved the econ parts of it but these guys (Marshall Jevons is a pseudonym for a team of writers) aren't necessarily good writers or good story tellers. At times it felt like they were putting in filler to make the story longer -- and they have a strange penchant for interior decorating/design; in every scene it seemed they had to tell me the color of the carpet and drapes. That said, as someone who never took econ in college, those parts were fascinating enough to make it worth it for me and I've already bought another one of their books. I hope it's as instructive.

  • benebean
    2018-12-08 09:10

    Elzinga!! Nice way to teach econ. Thought the fiance getting convicted was highly unrealistic but, that's not really the point of the book. Also, I get the whole will spend more time shopping for more expensive items-- but I also spend a lot of time shopping on cheap items that I will repeatedly buy instead of expensive purchases which often are one time buys. But, as a gross understatement, Elzinga is one smart cookie so I assume he knows what he's talking about.

  • Jacob Raymond
    2018-11-28 08:09

    *More like 3.5/5* Though the premise is interesting the book was a page turner for me, it's evident that the authors are not professional writers. This novel is filled with clichés, the story lacks depth and some lines are just cheesy. It's very popular fiction, so read it if you like that style (I have no shame in admitting that I do) but stay away if you're a more serious reader.

  • Jennifer Curtis
    2018-11-21 07:15

    I do not feel better about life because I spent several hours reading this book. It was a required read for my family economics class. I found it slow and hard to follow. I think my review goes along with Elizabeth. I believe my lack of knowledge in economics is what made it hard to get into this book.

  • Ann
    2018-12-14 10:32

    I thought it was so funny that we had to read this for Sanderson! Very obviously written by some economists trying to spice up economic concepts with a murder mystery and a clever "detective" who solves the case via these concepts. I especially enjoyed the stereotype ivy leaguish professors who made up the cast of suspects/victims.

  • Taweewat
    2018-11-18 07:24

    it was one of a very first book that I completely read though by myself without help of others in United States.The story is very interesting and the connection with economy is incredible. I really like the economic thinking way.

  • Trinity School Summer Reading
    2018-12-02 11:04

    Certainly not the most literary option on this summer’s list, this playful murder mystery creatively and accurately illustrates the basic principles of Microeconomics. Written by two economists under the pen name Marshall Jevons.

  • Scott
    2018-12-08 08:04

    The corny dialog and contrived murder mystery are too much to handle, despite the many clever lessons in economics that are taught throughout the book.The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (Paperback) is much better, although it, too, is way over the top in the cheese department.

  • Kate
    2018-12-06 12:14

    This is a mystery from the MIT Press. It was a very didactic novel, but the story was lost in the lesson and not very convincingly developed. Rather a disappointment, especially in comparison to The Invisible Heart, which I love.

  • Catherine
    2018-12-16 10:29

    "conceptually, he realized that an individual took his life when the discounted lifetime utility remaining to him was negative"yes, i realize it's not Nabakov, but it's also not worth the opportunity cost

  • Jackie
    2018-11-21 06:16

    Some books with co-authors turn out to be fantastic, but this was just horrible. Weak plot strung along by an even weaker and noticeably horrid use of the English language. I would have preferred just reading an economics textbook glossary versus this (which is what I ended up doing).

  • Victor Claar
    2018-12-02 12:03

    The "Marshall Jevons" pseudonymous writing team of Breit and Elzinga refine their economics-mystery writing craft in their second Henry Spearman mystery. You'll want to read the others, too.

  • Tauseef Zahid
    2018-12-01 13:08

    Just good for basic concepts

  • Boots
    2018-12-02 10:28

    Written by Elzinga under a pen name. Its a mystery book that was an enjoyable read. (I read it in one sitting despite needing to go to bed earlier, but I do that with a good number of books).

  • Ann Holland
    2018-12-15 05:10

    Interesting concept using economics to explain human motivations. Slowed down a bit after the initial murder, but the action picked up when the Harvard professors began to be knocked off. Fun read.

  • Ronald Barba
    2018-12-05 13:09

    Murder mystery + basic economics.

  • Elodie
    2018-11-28 11:03

    Murder mystery with economic theory - have to admire the creativity

  • Cate C.
    2018-12-03 08:17

    Dated but good crime novel that illustrates economic principles. Enjoyable read.

  • Q
    2018-12-16 08:31

    This needed a better copyeditor.

  • Serafina
    2018-11-26 12:31

    Classified as a cozy, this book is an enjoyable read that cleverly inserts economic theory into a mystery.