Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
it's "all that and a bag of chips"
on June 2, 2005
This is a demanding high school (or undemanding college) introductory textbook on the subject. Only the most rudimentary algebra is required, and honestly one could easily get through the book without even that.
The edition is handsomely printed, with a font that's easy on the eye and plenty of colorful and helpfully-glossed graphs. The chapters themselves are not too long, which helps with a student's morale, believe me.
Recently I was put into a situation where I had to go, in the space of about 4 months, from knowing jack-squat about economics to being able to teach college-level macroeconomics!
Well, I frantically collected a ton of textbooks and articles about macroeconomics, ranging from the elementary to the abstruse and got to work.
And I gotta say: when something befuddled me and I found myself threshing about from text to text for the best explanation, it was nearly always Mankiw who came through with the critical phrasing that made the idea click and got me saying: "Ohhhhhh! I get it!" most often.
Not that this was always the case. There were times when I found better explanations elsewhere (e.g., Chapter 19, on the foreign currency market, is exasperatingly elliptical and could use a major dummying-down), but more often than not, Mr. Mankiw had the goods: the clearest and most easy-to-follow way of wording or graphing a slippery or counter-intuitive concept.
Of course, it's easy to hate Mr. Mankiw: he's young, he's handsome, he's brilliant (one of the youngest full professors ever at Harvard), and he's rich (his textbooks are now standard in AP courses nationwide). Jerk!
Because of these reasons, I would love to trash his book, showing how it "ain't all that."
Well, it is. Gulp.
Only one note: If you're planning on getting this book to study macroeconomics independently, you will find one irritating drawback: there are exercises at the end of each chapter, but no answers in the back. Essentially, therefore, it's a book for schoolchildren, not mature learners.
But its explanations -- believe me -- can't be beat.