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on December 1, 2017
It is a book that should be read to complement and with caution, not to be taken as a text book. There are very good essays, as very bad ones. The book distils an over-the-top market fundamentalism. At the same time it ignores the most correct theories about markets. When the author discusses inflation and interest rates it does not mention Mises (Austrian School) at all. The simplifications make a caricature of economic theory, which may indoctrinate the reader. It ignores the role of the policy maker, the role of government and society in building solid institutions that ensure proper market operation. It mockers and treats with utter disdain features such as the right of literacy and school initiatives to teach about the relevance of environment preservation. It is a good book if the reader is already relatively informed, because it is important to get to know other opinions and find common ground. But for a first contact with economics it could be damaging. The way the writer makes his point on species extinction is repulsive. The book attempts to make economics simples, but it makes it short sighted to say the least. Market fundamentalism is a fanatical religion that resist facts such as the entrepreneurial participation of the United States government seeding technologies like the internet, airspace; it overlooks South Korea development, and China's. Should the U.S. government slashes tuition financing, all those market fundamentalists would be forced to live closer to reality and write something about it. If really free markets come into existence one day, they would close economics departments across the country, laying off free market fundamentalists. Now that would be "efficiency".
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on December 18, 2014
I'm a college student and usually do not enjoy the bland textbooks teachers assign. This book, however, was amazing! I kept it after the semester instead of selling it and read it again :) Really helped me gain an intelligent grasp on economics. I was able to meet Landsberg in Dallas a year ago and he was also the nicest person ever! Most economists and academics are so pretentious but he was so willing to answer my questions and discuss policy issues.
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on July 25, 2014
I didn't buy this book based on a review I had read or heard but as a prescribed reading for my graduate class in economics. I expected this book to be boring and drab like most, but I was pleasantly surprised. What I find most captivating about this book is the fact that the writer uses everyday experiences and our individual preferences to shed light on basic economic principles that would otherwise have been difficult to comprehend. From the first to the last page this book is filled with thought provoking and nagging questions that I have never dared to ask myself.It isn't straightforward read but intricate in a way that it tasks your mind.
The Writer does not push his opinions on the reader but leaves you with a set of possibilities and solutions to choose from by analyzing every subject. For example in Chapter 11, he looks at the subject of deficits. I have never stopped to think twice about making a payment at the store, if I have money in my account or on my credit card I would just use any of the two methods without as much as caring about the costs I would incur by choosing either option. Landsburg has one powerful weapon-analysis, and he utilizes it in a way that is non threatening but very helpful to his readers.
After reading this book, not only do I understand certain topics better but I also know that every choice I make comes with a cost and benefit . At the end of the day I wouldn't want to lose more than I gained. I will definitely read this book again after my class is over, its like a book of life in economics
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on July 17, 2014
I had to read this book for one of my course in Graduate school and I have to admit that it end up being more entertaining than what I expected. A very good reading that illustrates how economists think and tries to teach some basic economic principles through simple stories.
The book does a really good job opening the eyes into new and valid points that are usually ignored when drawing conclusions. The chapter “How statistics lie” is a really good example of this. One of my favorite chapters “Iowa Crop Car” (The shorter in the book) gives a very simple and easy to understand explanation about trade theory.
One of the few things I don’t appreciate about the book is that sometimes asks a lot of questions and doesn't always provide the answers. (But maybe that’s just and opportunity to trigger the reader's critical thinking)
The last chapter of the book is a bit controversial, and will definitely not be enjoyed if you are an environmentalist. It’s hard to read it without letting your own preferences bias your opinion, however the author makes a very reasonable point stating that protecting the environment is a matter of preferences and involves trade-offs, that should not be overvalued in comparison to others peoples preferences.
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on May 18, 2017
I really wish I would have read this book earlier, I have taken a couple economic classes. My background is in engineering where I understand the math, but my approach was very logical to understanding how micro / macro work which is cause and effect, this created a very black and white picture for me. This book illustrates the principles with great metaphorical examples. Great read! Will revisit when I need to remember.
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on June 16, 2016
Overall, the book is a great start for anyone who is interested in the field of economics. The author explains how economics is related to life and how it can be used to explain people's behavior towards many things. I just think that the author exaggerates at some points when he asserts that economists can explain everything using pure economics. Still, the book has changed the ways in which I think about economics. Plus, the author's writing style is rather amusing and can carry some sense of humor.
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on July 21, 2014
Landsburg is very thought provoking in his approach to explaining the intricacies of everyday economics. He uses such examples as the drug war, movie theater popcorn, and recycling to articulate his thoughts on individual choices as well as societal choices as a whole.

His occasional use of sarcasm and puns keep the book interesting, whereas some similar books lack this attribute. I found myself chuckling at plenty of junctures throughout reading this book, which is very rare to say for a book assigned as a part of a class requirement in school. Overall, I found it very enjoyable and worthwhile. I pondered his several opinions to myself even when I wasn't reading and his way of simplifying certain topics was quite deliberate and easy to understand.

I recommend it.
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on September 6, 2016
A fun book about how economic principles affect our daily lives. My first thought was that the author's style is very similar to Malcolm Gladwell's books such as "The Tipping Point," "Blink," etc.--entertaining, easy-to-read, but very insightful based on real life stories and examples. Even if you don't like economics, this is a great way to get some exposure to the field.
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on August 30, 2015
Easy to read, interesting, a bit dated in some of its references but not bad.

Some of his conclusions are a bit unexpected: if you drop a dollar bill you should let it go as your microscopic contribution to fighting inflation. His rationale is carefully laid out, but all along you know it is a tongue-in-cheek exercise and at the end he admits to picking his dollar back up anyway.

The book is full of short stories and scenarios like this one, fun to read and think about.
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on December 3, 2017
It was alright not the best book I've read.
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