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Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0465022526 ISBN-10: 0465022529 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 786 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 4th edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465022529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465022526
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 4.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 

“Clear and concise…among economists of the past thirty years, Sowell stands very proud indeed.”—Wall Street Journal
 
Basic Economics is not only valuable for a general lay-person audience; it would also benefit lawyers, politicians, and yes, economists, as well.”—Washington Times
 
Basic Economics is a healthy main course disguised as a rich dessert.  The expanded Fourth Edition now weighs in at well over 600 pages.  Readers will celebrate the girth. Tom Sowell’s smooth writing, irresistible logic, deep knowledge and flawless economics make each page an explanatory treat to experts and novices alike.”  —Thomas Hazlett, Professor of Law & Economics and Director, Information Economy Project, George Mason University
 
“Badly needed…. Anyone who has been subjected to biased and dreary economics textbooks should read Basic Economics as a bracing corrective.”—Claremont Review of Books
 
Basic Economics demonstrates in every chapter why Thomas Sowell is one of America's greatest thinkers. It is must-reading for anyone who wants the truth about how the laws of economics govern so many of the events in our daily lives.”—Arthur C. Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute and author of The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future
 
“Alchian said the true test of whether one understands his subject is whether he can explain it to someone who doesn’t know a darn thing about it. Mr. Sowell wasn’t Alchian’s student, but Basic Economics demonstrates his ability to make economics understandable to a person who hasn’t set foot in an economics class. It’s a book rich with explanations and examples of everyday economics issues.”—Walter Williams, George Mason University
 
“The unyielding truths of economics befuddle social engineers of all stripes.  Sowell, in exemplary fashion, strips the mystery from those truths, making them intuitive—even obvious.”  —David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer

About the Author

Thomas Sowell l has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and other academic institutions. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in academic journals and in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fortune, and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

More About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

Customer Reviews

I have read about 2/3 of the book so far.
John Maguire
The use of metaphor is critical to retaining the concept, and once Sowell tells the story, you remember it forever.
Richad of Connecticut
Thomas Sowell makes everything very simple to understand with clear, realistic examples.
PhotoGirl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

178 of 184 people found the following review helpful By John R. Smith on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Basic Economics has become an institution in itself. With this, its fourth edition, the publisher offers the same great essential survey of economics with more examples and new material in the form of a chapter on the history of economics. If there was anything lacking in the first three editions, it was this general history of the study. The history is provocative and rings of new theories like that in Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It.

In Basic, Sowell mainly addresses the various principles of economics through the problems and concerns of modern society such as the effect of price controls, the role of profits and losses, and international trade.

Altogether, Sowell covers some very complex and relevant topics. The theme that becomes clear upon reading this book, however, is that all of these issues have at their root very basic principles based on supply and demand, and the inherent risks of "unintended consequences" that stem from government intervention. As he states in the introduction, basic economics apply in many different kinds of economies--capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on.

The upgrade over the 3rd edition is definitely worth the extra cost (this coming from someone who has read both). For anyone debating whether to add Thomas Sowell to their shelves, this would be a great start.
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175 of 184 people found the following review helpful By Richad of Connecticut VINE VOICE on February 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There's a story Milton Friedman use to tell when he was the Nobel Prize winning Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. He would say that an economist is a man that knows a thousand ways to make love, but has never been with a woman. The truth of this statement is embodied in just about every concept you will study in economics, and the people responsible for those concepts. It is as though they go out of their way to be as confusing as possible. They use language that only a fellow economist could hope to understand but probably doesn't.

This book by noted scholar Thomas Sowell seeks to DEMYSTIFY ECONOMICS, and it gets the job done very well. If you ever wanted to understand economics but could not get the job done, guess what? You now have your chance. This book is clear, readable, to the point, deep, logical, and gripping. You will never read the weekly jobs report or economic output release from the government in the same way again, what's more, you will understand it. We have all been involved with jargon. Some esoteric thinker lays a paragraph on you in such a way that you don't understand a word he is saying. It's all intentional. Here's your chance to get even. You read this book; it will be you laying out the economic concepts for your friends. Here's just a taste of what you will learn.

There are SEVEN distinct sections to the book. All of them will hold your attention. They are:

I Prices and Markets

II Industry and Commerce

III Work and Pay

IV Time and Risk

V The National Economy

VI The International Economy

VII Special Economic Issues

The author chooses his words in such a way as to make the topic highly readable.
Read more ›
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64 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Patti Chadwick VINE VOICE on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is one hefty book that surveys the basic principles of economics written by educator Thomas Stowell. The author covers the entire gamut of economics in a single volume, which is a huge project (comparable to superman leaping tall buildings in a single bound), yet he does it effortlessly. From the simple to the complex, Stowell covers it all. This updated edition also includes a chapter on the history of economics, which I found enlightening. If you are thinking of getting an introductory book on economics, you will want to get this one. But don't let that recommendation fool you, this book will be of interest to even the expert.
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82 of 100 people found the following review helpful By oh susanna on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Sowell is to Economics as is William Shakespeare to the English language. He connects; he makes it clear and beautiful and the truth rings, cannot be muted.
Why the world is not falling at the feet of Dr. Sowell, (at least the economic world), is beyond my capabilities of conjecture. Oh! I forgot. He seems to be black of skin, and his economic views are greatly conservative, so that pretty much closes the door.
OH! How I wish that this GREAT THINKER and teacher of economics and politics was known and read by everyone who is forced to go to government schools. I have heard that Dr. Sowell is a self-described curmudgeon who does not take kindly to social or political bovine fertilizer, or other flim-flam, therefore it would be pretty much impossible for him to do so, but I always prayed that Dr. Sowell would be our second "black" president, after William Jefferson Clinton.
For my money, and yours too, any book written by Dr.Sowell should be treasured, read to your children and kept in your heart.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Spooch on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Sowell takes a dry subject and demonstrates why it is important for all of us to have a basic understanding of the fundamentals. His style is neither condescending nor abstract, rather one finds a comfortable balance reading this work. But, be warned... although you might be tempted to read this like a novel, it is a serious book which needs to be savored.

I only wish that those in government had the good sense to read and learn from it. His discussions of the "unintended consequences" arising from government mucking about with prices are excellent.
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