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The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey Hardcover – September 24, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Financial Times (Prentice Hall)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Financial Times/Prentice Hall; 1st edition (September 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130621129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130621122
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''The joy of freedom is a quasi-autobiographical clarion call of a free society. It is passionate and eloquent, yet at the same time, thoughtful, informed, and profound. A splendid statement of the moral case for a free society, at the same time it is an informed and comprehensive survey of its practical virtues and of the harm done by widespread government intervention'' - Milton Friedman - Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, and Nobel Laureate

From the Back Cover

Freedom. Freedom from government meddling and taxation. Freedom of association. These freedoms are inseparable, and they are the engines of human progress. A simple idea? Perhaps. Yet this simple idea has been responsible for more human happiness than any other.

In The Joy of Freedom, David R. Henderson shines a light on freedom at work in every corner of human life, making the most powerful case for free markets since Milton and Rose Friedman's Free to Choose. Along the way, he demolishes the conventional "wisdom" that has justified government's role in environmental regulation, education, social security, and healthcare; and shows once and for all why government programs perpetuate poverty instead of eliminating it.

Forget the "dismal science": Economist Henderson writes with passion about the joyous science. You will always know where he stands: with freedom, and against tyranny-in any guise.

Free and healthy, at half the cost How deregulation and the Internet can make healthcare more competitive-and less expensive Nature's best friend: property rights How property rights are protecting wildlife, from elephants to hawks Interviewing Ralph Nader Nader defends regulations that kill thousands of people every year Governments promote racism and free markets combat it Some fascinating stories on South Africa, the United States, and Schindler's List Beyond public schools: education in a free society The 10 most important things you've learned Free markets: empowering the poor, worldwide Property ownership: the best solution for abolishing hunger and poverty

The world's most powerful idea: for real joy, you need real freedom.

  • The strongest arguments for free markets since Milton Friedman's Free to Choose
  • A personal manifesto from one of the world's leading economists
  • How freedom unleashes extraordinary improvements in every area of human society

The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey brings free market economics to life through stories of those who have discovered it in their own lives. David R. Henderson, one of the world's most vigorous advocates of free markets, celebrates those in American society-and around the world-who are fighting to get the government off their backs.

No writer has more masterfully illustrated the centrality of freedom and enlightened self-interest to a well-run economy—and a good society. Henderson demonstrates the power—and the potential—of free markets to improve the environment, education, health, community, culture, and every other aspect of life that matters. This plain-speaking book crystallizes the inherent contradictions between government and freedom, showing why even the most well-intentioned governments can deliver nothing but disaster.

For those who already believe in free markets, this book offers powerful ammunition; for those who are skeptical, it will be a revelation.

"The Joy of Freedom is a quasi-autobiographical clarion call for a free society. It is passionate and eloquent, yet at the same time, thoughtful, informed, and profound. A splendid statement of the moral case for a free society, at the same time it is an informed and comprehensive survey of its practical virtues and of the harm done by widespread government intervention. "—Milton Friedman
Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, and Nobel Laureate

"Economics, like politics, has its 'great communicators.' David R. Henderson is one of them. A superb lesson from one of the more masterly of our economic teachers." —Amity Shlaes,
Columnist on Political Economy, The Financial Times

"A dazzling intellectual memoir, a high-level lesson in market economics, a terrific read. "—Dan Seligman,
Forbes magazine

"A can't-put-it-down read that engages you in story and events.... Here economic principles are not dry theories; they are events in Henderson's life. And we come to root for him as he struggles to see through one economic commonplace after another."—Shelby Steele,
author of A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Dwight R. Lee on October 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a professional economist who is constantly looking for better ways to communicate the essence of economics to non economists, I couldn't be more enthusiastic about Henderson's The Joy of Freedom. Without mind numbing diagrams and equations, Henderson conveys more economic understanding than any of the standard text books I know--and I know a lot of them, having written a few myself. And it is not just economic concepts and the standard perspective on economic efficiency that he communicates so compellingly. With a personal story beautifully woven into the narrative, Henderson shows how humane and socially concerned economists can be (and generally are). Read this book and find out that economists can be passionate in wanting to make this world a better place, and have real guide posts in going about it, guide posts that elevate the ideal of freedom to the central organizing principle. The next time I teach a principles courses I'm going to do my students a tremendous favor by using David Henderson's The Joy of Freedom: An Economists Odyssey as the main text.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Fritz on December 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In the mid-80s, I took a casual poll of free market leaders:
What are the top-five free-market books for a novice to read?
Every one of them put Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One
Lesson" on his or her list, typically at the top.
If I were to repeat the poll now, I suspect Hazlitt's classic
will have a contender for first place, my friend David
Henderson's "The Joy of Freedom."
Henderson seduces the reader with his personal stories,
like why as a college kid in Canada he resigned from
a great summer job measuring trees. His stories are
so much fun to read that learning economics kinda
sneaks up on you.
Indeed, it's Henderson's charm that is the anti-dote
for what von Mises called the "Anti-Capitalist Mentality."
(BTW, Mises' book of that title was on many 'top-five'
lists, and Bastiat's "The Law" was on every list.)
You'll want an extra copy or two of "Joy of Freedom"
for lending to friends who do not share your love of
freedom, especially those who will even argue about its
meaning.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Charles Hooper on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Henderson is my friend and I helped him with this book, so I suppose I'm biased. But my familiarity can help you decide whether to buy this book or not.

The Joy of Freedom is the work of an exceptional teacher who has a skill for communicating economic concepts. It is the result of his lifelong desire to understand the world, to better himself, and to help others. As the reader, we walk side by side with David as he struggles to understand complex and important issues. He tells us stories from his life, from childhood through his successful career as an economist. The result is an interesting, easy-to-read, understandable, and enjoyable book about some of the more pressing problems of our time. How many other books can make that claim?

If you care about your personal retirement assets, your ability to get good health care, the education of yourself or your children, your rights and security, the inner workings of the government, the laws of economics, discrimination, or the environment, this book has something for you. You don't have to agree with everything Dr. Henderson says. In fact, because he is such a good thinker and communicator, his path of discovery should help you on your own, whatever course it may take.

Charles L. Hooper, coauthor Making Great Decisions in Business and Life
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. Boudreaux on March 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I spend a large amount of time searching for books that explain economics in compelling, non-jargony language. There are distressingly few such good books. This book by David Henderson, though, is certainly one of these few.
The reader need not have ever studied economics to enjoy this book. And even the reader who holds a PhD in the subject will not only enjoy this book, but will also learn from it -- learn how to communicate better as well gain even deeper insights into the ways markets and politics work.
One reason why economics is such an enduring subject is that continued reflection on its principles never stops deepening our understanding of the world. David Henderson is among the very finest guides to the fascinating subject of economics. I sincerely hope that all citizens will read this book -- and that all economists will read it twice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon Kalb on January 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There is a saying that people don't care what you know until they know that you care. In "The Joy of Freedom," Dr. Henderson not only articulates what he knows, he demonstrates that he cares.
I've been an advocate of freedom for many years and the last thing I need to read is another primer on why the free market is better than the heavy hand of government intervention. This intellectual argument has been won many times over, but we still live in a world dominated by pro-interventionist view points. Why is this? Because trying to win people's minds without also winning their hearts is futile. This is where we as freedom advocates have so often failed. We have been so busy concentrating on the intellectual arguments that we have forgotten that we are trying to appeal to people. Human beings that need to be reassured that we have values that they share and that we care about the same things that they care about.
This is where "The Joy of Freedom" is so wonderful. We don't just see into the author's mind, we also see into his heart. This book is not just an intellectual argument for freedom, but is also David Henderson's personal story and that is what sets the book apart from and clearly above other books that cover similar material.
I'm certain that there isn't a single economic explanation in this book that I've haven't heard before (as I said, I've been around this topic for awhile), but I still loved this book because it touched me on a personal level. I think it will also personally touch many readers for whom the intellectual arguments are new territory.
To David Henderson I can only say, "Thank you for sharing."
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