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Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy Hardcover – April 3, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 368 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Clear and concise... Among economists of the past 30 years, (Sowell) stands very proud indeed." Wall Street Journal "Basic Economics is not only valuable for a general lay-person audience; it would also benefit lawyers, politicians, and yes, economists as well." Washington Times"

About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 3rd edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465002609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465002603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John R. Smith on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Basic Economics has become an institution in itself. With this, its fourth edition, the publisher offers the same great essential survey of economics with more examples and new material in the form of a chapter on the history of economics. If there was anything lacking in the first three editions, it was this general history of the study. The history is provocative and rings of new theories like that in Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It.

In Basic, Sowell mainly addresses the various principles of economics through the problems and concerns of modern society such as the effect of price controls, the role of profits and losses, and international trade.

Altogether, Sowell covers some very complex and relevant topics. The theme that becomes clear upon reading this book, however, is that all of these issues have at their root very basic principles based on supply and demand, and the inherent risks of "unintended consequences" that stem from government intervention. As he states in the introduction, basic economics apply in many different kinds of economies--capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on.

The upgrade over the 3rd edition is definitely worth the extra cost (this coming from someone who has read both). For anyone debating whether to add Thomas Sowell to their shelves, this would be a great start.
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Format: Hardcover
There's a story Milton Friedman use to tell when he was the Nobel Prize winning Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. He would say that an economist is a man that knows a thousand ways to make love, but has never been with a woman. The truth of this statement is embodied in just about every concept you will study in economics, and the people responsible for those concepts. It is as though they go out of their way to be as confusing as possible. They use language that only a fellow economist could hope to understand but probably doesn't.

This book by noted scholar Thomas Sowell seeks to DEMYSTIFY ECONOMICS, and it gets the job done very well. If you ever wanted to understand economics but could not get the job done, guess what? You now have your chance. This book is clear, readable, to the point, deep, logical, and gripping. You will never read the weekly jobs report or economic output release from the government in the same way again, what's more, you will understand it. We have all been involved with jargon. Some esoteric thinker lays a paragraph on you in such a way that you don't understand a word he is saying. It's all intentional. Here's your chance to get even. You read this book; it will be you laying out the economic concepts for your friends. Here's just a taste of what you will learn.

There are SEVEN distinct sections to the book. All of them will hold your attention. They are:

I Prices and Markets

II Industry and Commerce

III Work and Pay

IV Time and Risk

V The National Economy

VI The International Economy

VII Special Economic Issues

The author chooses his words in such a way as to make the topic highly readable.
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6 Comments 214 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This is simply the best book on understanding rudimentary economics available. This book takes a sophisticated subject and makes it very clear and understandable. While not as detailed as a textbook on the subject would be, it gets across the main theories of economics with real examples that can be understood and related to by almost anyone. This is simply the best and most readable source available to get a basic understanding of economic principles.
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Format: Hardcover
Everyone without a degree in Economics should read this book. This is a very easy and practical way to understand basic economic principles. Sowell is a master at making seemingly complex concepts into something very understandable by removing all the unecessary jargon and replacing it with real life examples we can all understand. I'e read this book twice. The second reading two years later than the first. I got as much out of it the second time as I did the first. I'll share this book around the family, but will definately be getting it back again.
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Format: Hardcover
When one thinks of economics, one is typically confronted with the kind of malaise that Jimmy Carter once spoke of. However, Sowell's book is filled with concrete examples of how to apply some basic and interesting principles of economics in daily life, and he explains why these principles are so fundamental to our lives. I think all high-school graduates with any sense should read this before signing up for credit cards or getting a job, and certainly any college student looking for work as well. A fantastic read, which is certainly difficult to do when one is speaking about the economy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is simply an excellent read, taking the complicated subject of economics and making it totally understandable. Mr. Sowell, much like Hayek and Friedman, helps you understand how free markets, capital, supply and demand, and pricing are the true keys to freedom. This is a complete explanation as to how we use our talents, in a free society, to create wealth and provide products and services that others want or need. Beyond simple economics, this book helps you see how we all relate to one another through our economies, good and bad.
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