Peter T. Leeson


On his book WTF?! An Economic Tour of the Weird

Cover Interview of February 25, 2018

In a nutshell

WTF?! is a tour through a museum of the world’s weirdest practices—guaranteed to make you say, “WTF?!” Did you know that “pre-owned” wives were sold at auctions in nineteenth-century England? That today, in Liberia, accused criminals sometimes drink poison to determine their fate? How about the fact that, for 250 years, Italy criminally prosecuted cockroaches and crickets? Do you wonder why? Then this tour is just for you!

You’ll be joined on the tour by a cast of colorful characters, led through the museum by me—your tour guide and resident economist. From one exhibit to the next, you’ll overhear my exchanges with the other tour-goers and learn how to use economic thinking to reveal the hidden sense behind seemingly senseless human behavior—including your own. I’ll show you that far from “irrational” or “accidents of history,” humanity’s most outlandish rituals are in fact ingenious solutions to pressing problems—developed by clever people, driven by incentives, and tailor-made for their time and place.