Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Seventh Edition
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on September 15, 1999
ADam Smith, Marx, Ricardo, Mill, Vieblen, Keynes: they're all in this book, which focus on their ideas and the time in which they lived, as being the main factor in their opinions. The author states, corrrectly, that the time for "philosophers" economists is gone.
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on October 21, 2009
This book was a required text for my freshman Macroeconomics course, but each page was truly a pleasure to read. Chock full of rich history and insightful analysis. Would recommend to anyone either struggling to understand economics or with an interest in the subject.
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on February 6, 2013
This book is by no means the be all end all of economic thought. However, it is a very informative bit of economic history written in an easy to read style. He has his own personal interpretations of what economics means and what economists are relevant. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn the CONTEXT in which economic theory was developed and proposed. It's a good book. A lot of people seem to 'know' everything about economics and why you should subscribe to their particular way of thinking but this book can put some of the major figures into a historical context that those very same know-it-alls seem to never consider...
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on July 31, 2009
"The Wordly Philosophers" is a classic text on the history of economic thought. It touches upon the lives and the ideas of Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Mill, Marx, Veblen, Marshall, Keynes, Schumpeter and some other notable figures. Heilbroner pays as much attention to personal biographies and oddities as he does the broad economic visions of these thinkers. The end result is a very readable account on the developments in economic thought through the ages.

The market for books about economists and their ideas is pretty big compared to that of tomes dealing with other disciplines (try finding a book on classical sociologists and their ideas - not as easy). The fact that this book has held a dominant position for a very long time in such a context says something. In a way, buying this book is somewhat like buying a piece of history. As Paul Samuelson speculated, this book has doubtlessly inspired a lot of young economists.

In case you have already explored the history of economic thought, you will probably find little new here. You can find a more detailed treatment of the lives of Smith, Keynes, Schumpeter, and Marx in Jerry Muller's "The Mind and the Market". Duncan Foley's "Adam's Fallacy" covers some of the ideas of Smith and Ricardo in greater technical detail (in particular, their ideas with regard to value). However, if you are searching for a good introduction, this could be a very good choice.
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on July 3, 2007
Best book I've read in a long time! I have exams in economics, and usually I read some light "for fun" books during exam times in order to relax. This is one of those books, and I'm learning something!!! Excellent writer!
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VINE VOICEon June 24, 2003
This book is an important history of economic thought throughout the ages. It gives the general reader a basic understanding of how economics has changed through the years from Adam Smith to contemporary times.
The impression I gained of this book was that economics does not have a unified theory that addresses all circumstances. A doctrinaire approach could lead to disaster if the solutions proposed to not match the circumstances they were meant to address. In fact, most of the great thinkers of economic matters are addressing specific difficulties which tend to be narrowly focused on a particular set of circumstances. Adam Smith sought to address the problems of mercantilism, Karl Marx the dislocations of the industrial revolution, Keynes, the problems of deflationary economic policy. This is an insightful thesis which explains a great deal.
This book is useful to the person who is familiar with economics and a cautionary tale for people like myself who are not. It provides a good overwiew and gives a good critical understanding of the men and ideas who have contributed to our understanding of these issues.
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on February 28, 2015
I loved reading about the lives and the works of some of the moat influential economists of our time. Never knew that some people like Keynes were such accomplished businessmen outside of economics.
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on April 21, 2014
Heilbroner does a fantastic job of making Economics very interesting, and ties everything together VERY nicely! I highly recommend this for an overview of why economics is the way that it is.
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on December 14, 2013
Goes a long way toward explaining the world we live in. While I have my doubts about where we have ended up, it is always good to see how the road we've taken has led us to where we are.
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on May 5, 2014
This book gives great background of some of the greatest economic thinkers (good and bad) and really makes you think about the workings of our economic systems and their histories.
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