Tim Harford

Best-selling behavioural economist

Speaker Themes

  • Behavioural economics
  • How to make good decision
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • After dinner

Travels from

London, UK


Bestselling author and behavioural economist Tim Harford was described by the New Statesman as “perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world.” 

Harford’s career has seen him present for TV and radio, and write for well regarded publications such as The Times. Known for speaking on a range of topics, Tim Harford draws on themes such as innovation, creativity, collaboration and behavioural economics to inspire audiences with new methods of thinking.  

Tim Harford is also the host of the BBC World Service podcast series, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy, sharing the stories behind some of the most popular inventions in the world, and their impact today. His second podcast More or Less, was commended by the Royal Statistical Society for its discussions on dubious statistics. 

A highly acclaimed author, Tim Harford has written seven books. His published works include Fifty Things That Shaped the Modern Economy and Messy: How to be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World. His book How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers (2020) shows readers how we can evaluate the claims and statistics that surround us with confidence, curiosity and a healthy level of scepticism.

Harford’s most celebrated work, The Undercover Economist has now been translated into over 30 different languages, and sold 1.5 million copies all over the world. 

Tim Harford has won several awards for his writing. His awards include the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism (2007), Economics Commentator of the Year (2014), Society for Business Economists writing prize (2014) and the Royal Statistical Society prize for journalism (2015).

Harford speaks to audiences all over the world, sharing stories and experience from his career as a behavioural economist and a writer. As a speaker, he has delivered TED talks on two occasions, and given numerous lectures for esteemed organisations such as the Royal Economic Society, Google, the Bank of England and PopTech. 

For more information on Tim Harford, contact VBQ Speakers founding agent Leo von Bülow-Quirk.


Blending inspiring insight and witty observations, Tim’s talks engage audiences and encourage out of the box thinking. As a speaker, Tim Harford addresses the core themes of how to live happier, more productive lives with just a few simple changes. Some of Harford’s popular topics include: 

How to collaborate

Tim argues that there’s a reason why we find collaborative work difficult, and it’s all to do with our definition of the idea. This topic encourages teams to overcome internal tensions to become more productive. 

How not to fool yourself

Speaking on wishful thinking, Tim asks audiences to understand what this style of thinking really means, and why it matters in business, politics and day to day life. He uses examples from history to teach us how not to fool ourselves. 

What We Get Wrong About Technology

Tim argues that we all make a number of simple mistakes when it comes to technology. He suggests that the best technology is usually cheap and simple, and that the most radical inventions are the ones that shape us – not the other way around. 

How to See into the Future

Tim discusses forecasting and why it’s important to businesses in all kinds of different industries. He talks about what forecasting means, and what companies can do when it all goes wrong. 

The Art of Good Mistakes

Explaining how we can all learn from our mistakes, the art of good mistakes teaches audiences how best to use failures in a positive way. He uses examples and ideas from  psychology and behavioural economics, along with aviation, ballet and even a TV game show. 

Ideas that Matter

Discussing innovation, this theme encourages audiences to think about whether they’re becoming fixated on a certain type of innovation – and whether they could be missing other opportunities as a result. 

Misinformation is beautiful

Tim teaches audiences how to avoid sketchy statistics in this talk, which takes inspiration from the work of Florence Nightingale and the latest YouTube infographic hits. 

Big Data: Are we making a big mistake?

Tim is well known for his examination of the fallacies of the big data boom, which was published by the Financial Times. This talk examines the topic in greater detail, and shows audiences how to avoid the oldest statistical traps.

The Magic of Mess

Creativity is the theme of this talk, which explains the incredible benefits of obstacles, interruptions and distractions. Taking cognitive psychology, complexity science and rock and roll as his inspiration, Tim encourages creativity in the workplace. 


“Dear Tim — Your keynote was brilliant and most appropriate for the occasion. People are still discussing it! We really appreciate your participating in the conference.” — Leading financial services group

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