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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - do not be put off by the dense ...
Excellent - do not be put off by the dense language. North takes economics out of it's box and places is in a much broader context, including culture, belief systems, values and cognitive factors which are outside the comfort zone of many economists, regulators and politicians. It's not light reading, but as with all North's works, the concepts are relevant on many...
Published 2 months ago by Ian Stones

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Thesis, ponderous writing
Having attended several lectures by Dr. North I know him to be a brilliant man, but not the most engaging communicator.

This book has a small summation of several important ideas of the role of uncertainty and technological change, and how economic actors move to adapt to these. Nothing could be more topical these days. Unfortunately, I find the writing...
Published on October 5, 2008 by H. N. T.


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Thesis, ponderous writing, October 5, 2008
By 
H. N. T. (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Understanding the Process of Economic Change (Princeton Economic History of the Western World) (Hardcover)
Having attended several lectures by Dr. North I know him to be a brilliant man, but not the most engaging communicator.

This book has a small summation of several important ideas of the role of uncertainty and technological change, and how economic actors move to adapt to these. Nothing could be more topical these days. Unfortunately, I find the writing unnecessarily dense and even the simplest issues are treated in a verbose manner. I always love reading Hayek, Friedman, Mandelbrot and so many others; but despite my great interest in the subject reading this book was a chore.

Only for the technical experts or very motivated enthusiasts.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts out great but fizzles out, December 25, 2006
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Michael Emmett Brady "mandmbrady" (Bellflower, California ,United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Understanding the Process of Economic Change (Princeton Economic History of the Western World) (Hardcover)
North starts his book out emphasizing the important role played in economic development by the uncertainty of the future that impacts the decision makers whose actions will create technological and institutional change over time.This uncertainty is the uncertainty emphasized by Schumpeter,Keynes,Knight,Ellsberg,and Mandelbrot( or mild risk versus wild risk),as opposed to the risk emphasized by neoclassical economics in the form of the standard deviation of a normal probability distribution.Throughout the book North correctly emphasizes uncertainty and not risk as being the environment in which decision makers make choices that will determine future economic growth and change.Unfortunately,North devotes only one small paragraph on p.13 to this vital distinction(uncertainty versus risk).North needs to have spent much more time and pages carefully covering this distinction since it is crucial to understanding the process of economic change .North needs to provide the reader with at least two chapters devoted to covering the risk versus uncertainty topic.The only readers who will benefit from this book would be readers who have already read the relevant works of Knight ,Keynes,Schumpeter,Ellsberg,and Mandelbrot that deal with this topic.I would recommend that a potential reader first cover chapters 7 and 8 of Knight's 1921 book,Risk,Uncertainty and Profit ,and then read chapter 7 on the business cycle from Schumpeter's 1912 book The Theory of Economic Development.North needs to substantially revise the book .His preliminary chapter on cognitive psychology can be filled out more completely once he has added the chapters on uncertainty and its impact on the irreversible nature of investment in long run,long lived, physical,durable capital goods which is " cast in concrete " and essentially irrevocable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - do not be put off by the dense ..., August 23, 2014
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Excellent - do not be put off by the dense language. North takes economics out of it's box and places is in a much broader context, including culture, belief systems, values and cognitive factors which are outside the comfort zone of many economists, regulators and politicians. It's not light reading, but as with all North's works, the concepts are relevant on many levels. Highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The quest for a theory of change in economics, November 13, 2013
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This is a summary of Nobel Laureate North's work towards a theory of economic change. It is still an ongoing quest, and his thinking might not have been appreciated enough in economic circles because he throws a wider net across concepts of social sciences (e. g. beliefs). That's why he is a Nobel Laureate and economics a science falling short in so many regards. Highly recommended his later co-authored 'Violence and social order', which provides an excellent framework to think about (institutional) development.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, September 2, 2013
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Kenneth Davidson (Arlington VA 22205 USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Understanding the Process of Economic Change (Princeton Economic History of the Western World) (Hardcover)
North's book confirms that he remains the dean of economic historians. Without his sense of how economic change takes place we cannot understand business and public policies that can guide our future.
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23 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Economic Change For the Business Executive, November 23, 2005
This review is from: Understanding the Process of Economic Change (Princeton Economic History of the Western World) (Hardcover)
I think everyone interested in general business, economics or business strategy should read this book. For some a topic as big as the one Professor North is tackling here might require thousands of pages and a great deal of analytical complexity.

Most students of economics recognize Nobel Prize winner Douglass North and his work. As a specialized student of management, finance and accounting, I am not qualified to analyze the work in relation to its place in the professional field of economics -- although I understand its intentions and direction. My review rather focuses on the relevance of Professor North's statement in this book as a guide for my students of corporate strategy, business policy, finance and accounting; including as well my many clients in executive positions and the practice of law.

The systems view of economic change provided by Professor North casts light on long-term organizational thinking and helpful to our search for corporate and business strategy models in the increasingly efficient capital market environment revealed by modern financial economics.

More to follow....
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