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The Economics Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) Hardcover – August 20, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* To most readers, the term engaging economics book is an oxymoron. This cleverly presented new volume may change that. The Economics Book takes a unique approach to elucidating this often murky subject through well-written entries. Arranged by both subtopic and time frame, the history of economic theory, notable world events, and biographies of key players are presented in six chapters, titled “Let the Trading Begin (400 BCE–1770 CE),” “The Age of Reason (1770–1820),” “Industrial and Economic Revolutions (1820–1929),” “War and Depressions (1929–1945),” “Post-War Economics (1945–1970),” and “Contemporary Economics (1970–present).” Chapters vary in length from 10 to 27 entries, each accompanied by an “In Context” sidebar and voluminous supporting illustrations, including flowcharts, graphs, and pictures. The book concludes with a directory of influential economic thinkers, a brief glossary, and an adequate index. The book’s brilliance lies in its packaging of economic theory into easily digestible essays (e.g. “The Economy is a Yo-Yo: Boom and Bust”; “Make the Polluter Pay: External Costs”; “Crowds Breed Collective Insanity: Economic Bubbles”). Overall, this book will make economics not only accessible but potentially even fascinating to a wide range of readers at and above a high-school reading level. --Jennifer Michaelson

Review

"This entertaining and informative volume will make economics not only accessible but potentially even fascinating to a wide range of readers at and above a high-school reading level." – Booklist Editors' Choice: Reference Sources

"[The Big Ideas Simply Explained books] are beautifully illustrated with shadow-like cartoons that break down even the most difficult concepts so they are easier to grasp. These step-by-step diagrams are an incredibly clever learning device to include, especially for visual learners." – Examiner.com

"The Economics Book takes a unique approach to elucidating this often murky subject through well-written entries. The book's brilliance lies in its packaging of economic theory into easily digestible essays. Overall, this book will make economics not only accessible but potentially even fascinating to a wide range of readers at and above a high-school reading level." – Booklist *Starred Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Big Ideas Simply Explained
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: DK (August 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756698278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756698270
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
From the invisible hand to bank runs, this well designed and very readable book traces through the field of economics and how it developed.

It follows thinkers and ideas in more-or-less chronological order, giving short biographies alongside explanations of key ideas broken down into bite-sized chunks. The ideas are organized into sections such as 'The Age of Reason 1770-1820' and 'Contemporary Economics 1970-Present'.

The ideas include examples like "Social networks are a kind of capital", "Globalization is not inevitable", "Firms are price takers not price makers", and "You enjoy the last chocolate less than the first."

There is little maths; instead of formulas you will find funky designs and pictures. This is not an in-depth account of the theory of the dismal science. Upon finishing, you will not be qualified to design central bank policy.

It is a broad survey that will establish a backdrop and reinforce deeper study of any particular issue. It is great for providing some context to ongoing debates and political decisions.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been looking forward to reading this book for some time and I don't feel let down at all. This book is for the reader who wants a fairly broad view of economics and the major players who have documented and studied this great field. Yes the book does lean slightly left but there are some great sections on Austrian and Monetarist too. In fact I thought the authors did a better job of explaining those "schools" than the socialist or Keynesian themes. I would recommend this book to all types of readers fro the beginners to the advanced students of economics. In summary, well worth your time reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is exactly the book what I am looking for, plenty of useful material, the information provided is just like a small dictionary that can satisfy my needs. Besides, the price of the book is acceptable. I strongly recommend the book to those who are interested in the field of economics.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Contrary to some of the other reviews, I found this book to be entirely objective and not opinionated. It seems like it did an outstanding job of covering a great majority of the subject's biggest topics in chronological order.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great Coffee Table Book, it's a fun 'intro to topic' book but like just about any textbook has a few errors so I wouldn't suggest for heavy learning purposes, but on the flip side they make the subject matter fun for novices (children, etc.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must read for anyone interested in Economics especially commerce students. Easy to understand economic history and a brief introduction of some great economists
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Format: Hardcover
The Economics Book is another book from DK Publishing in the Big Ideas Simply Explained series. All the Big Ideas books are well-written, concise, easy to understand and contain pictures and diagrams summarizing key ideas. The downside is that some things are oversimplified because each idea gets only a page or two of coverage. The Big Ideas series seems to be geared towards high school students and adults who want a basic overview of the subject. The book is divided into several parts: 1) Let the Trading Begin, 2) The Age of Reason, 3) Industrial & Economic Revolutions, 4) War & Depressions, 5) Post-War Economics, and 6) Contemporary Economics. The book declares systematic thinking about economics evolved in 1770; prior to that it was more of a political and moral philosophy. The last two chapters discussing economic theories after World War II make up over half the book.

I must admit to working in finance and I have studied economics, accounting, and finance in business school. I was impressed at how much information was packed into 352 pages but I would say The Economics Book has some unusual biases. One of the contributors worked on President Obama's election campaign and another is a non-academic philosopher (Marcus Weeks) who wrote, "Hotel Hobbies: 50 Things to Do in a Hotel Room That Won't Get You Arrested" along with contributions to the other "Big Ideas Simply Explained" book series. Why were they selected as contributors (other than nepotism)? This is nothing like the textbooks I studied in class. For a field that is reliant on statistics the use of math and scientific equations is largely absent here. I expected to be reading about economics, financial concerns, money, and tax policy.
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Format: Hardcover
I wanted to learn about economics, and this book was quite useful. It presents economics from a historic perspective in chronological order.

Chronological ordering works really well, because it allows you to understand the history of economics. You learn to understand why modern economics is the way it is - based on all the trials and errors in history.

One problem is that I didn't remember the main concepts very well. I think this book would have been better if it contained a list of the main topics. Perhaps I need to read another economics book in a different format.
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