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Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius Paperback – July 31, 2012
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--James Grant, "The Wall Street Journal"
""Grand Pursuit "is a worthy successor to Robert Heilbroner's "The Worldly Philosophers. . . . "Nasar's aim is to put the reader into the lives of the characters of a sweeping historical drama that extends from Victorian England to modern-day India. That she largely succeeds reflects the depth and breadth of her research but also the elegance of her prose."
--Steven Pearlstein, "The Washington Post"
"One of the many wonderful things about Nasar's book is that in it, economic genius isn't limited to the usual suspects....Even when exploring famous economic minds, Nasar brings out the humanity in the dismal science by showing their ideas are nearly always rooted in formative experiences."
-- TIME Magazine
"Nasar brilliantly brings to life game-changing economists from Marx to Hayek and from Sidney Webb to Milton Friedman, tracing the evolution of modern economic thinking through the richly detailed stories of the men and woman who reshaped how we think of life's possibilities. . . . This is an utterly fascinating book on many levels. . . . "A Beautiful Mind, " Nasar's previous book, was about an economist named John Nash, but Nasar's mind is pretty good, too. No lesser mind could have written a book so rich, so compelling, so important, and so much fun."
--Mickey Edwards, "The Boston Globe"
"A fascinating excursion into the economic ideas and personalities that have deposited most of us at a standard of living unparalleled in human history...engrossing...Nasar, who wrote "A Beautiful Mind, " ...is drawn to intellectual giants. They stomp across the idiosyncratic and readable pages of "Grand Pursuit, "which unfurls with a David McCullough-like knack for telling popular history....On these pages, the dismal science shines."--Karen R. Long, "Cleveland Plain Dealer"
""[This] is the story of the evolution of a radical, planet-reshaping idea...The canvas is epic...The details are fresh, at times startling...At the same time, gnarly but critical concepts...shine through in all their richness and complexity. If only Econ 101 had been this interesting!""-"Fortune"
""Grand Pursuit "is a history of economics which is full of flesh, bloom and warmth. The author demonstrates that there is far more to economics than Thomas Carlyle's "dismal science." And she does so with all the style and panache that you would expect from the author of the 1998 bestseller, "A Beautiful Mind. . . ." A wonderful book. "Grand Pursuit "deserves a place not only in every economist's study but also on every serious reader's bedside table."
"A timely reminder of the importance of the so-called dismal science. . . . Written almost as a novel and aimed at those without a background in economics, the book charts capitalism's evolution through the eyes of the people who invented it. . . . It is compellingly written, full of detail and vivid anecdotes, and with a refreshing focus on people rather than prices."
--Gregor Hunter, "The Nation"
"Nasar has written a compelling history of modern economics, a story of the theorists as well as of their theories. . . . "Grand Pursuit" is artfully rendered and a delight to read. . . . One suspects that future economics textbooks will warrant some revisions. All the same, their authors would profit from consulting "Grand Pursuit"."
-- Bloomberg BusinessWeek's **FIVE STAR** Review
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Top Customer Reviews
The author argues, rightly, that the idea that human prosperity could be created and managed is a relatively new one. Before the mid-nineteenth century most assumed that the vast bulk of humanity was destined to live in poverty and squalor and that there was not much that could be done about this. But during this era, a group of scholars including Marx, Engels, and Schumpeter emerged and contended that the lives of human beings could be improved through the proper management of the economy. Nasar retells how difficult economic circumstances have been at certain points in world history and looks at the efforts of leading economists to contribute to prosperity during their respective eras. In Nasar's broad survey we encounter many of the best-known economists of the past 150 years and learn about their personal lives, their contributions to the discipline, and how they tried to influence policy. Throughout her skillfully constructed narrative, Nasar demonstrates a remarkable grasp of the major ideas of almost every major economist that readers could think of. She describes the importance of John Maynard Keynes, Beatrice Potter Webb (the inventor of the idea of the welfare state), Milton Friedman and Amartya Sen among others both to the discipline of economics and to policy making. In this sense, the book is probably the most comprehensive history of its kind.Read more ›
The organization is more like a sandwich than a 3-act play: the first five and last three chapters profile individual economists, while the meat of the story is the middle 10 chapters, portraying the interaction between economists like Fisher, Keynes and Hayek both between the World Wars and in the aftermath. The heroes of the early chapters like Marshall had less direct role in policy, but their ideas were crucial to shaping our understanding of the world.
Nasar observes that throughout history, there have been powerful people who looked at the world purely in zero-sum terms. Her heroes understood that the future need not be so bleak. I wish this book made a more coherent and convincing case for such an important truth.
While this storytelling style offers insight, it unfortunately can be very confusing since a lot of names are introduced to the reader. If you are not already familiar with the major economic players and vaguely what they are known for it is very easy to get lost. Also Prof.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book gives you an historical perspective of economics, in a lively style. I think it is a must for anyone who likes economics.Published 9 months ago by Leopoldo Gomez
Sylvia NaSar writing style makes history of thought behind economics and the great minds that propelled it forward a pleasure to read and so informative.Published 11 months ago by Liz
Sylvia Nasar takes what can be a dry subject to most many people (not me) and takes it out of isolation by placing it into the context of history. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Bernie
There are some beautifully written, informative chapters in this book: the introduction, the chapter on Marshall and the chapter on the Webbs. Read morePublished 20 months ago by algo41
Sylvia Nasar is the author of “A Beautiful Mind,” popularized in the Russell Crowe movie. As an economics correspondent for the New York Times and a business professor at Columbia... Read morePublished 21 months ago by David Last
I have no background in economics. I cannot think of anything "drier" than a history of economics. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Bruce Oksol
What I'm about to say here may sound nit-picky, but I really don't think so.
Sylvia Nasar's main point in writing this book is to say that the history of human... Read more