- Series: Cartoon Introduction to Economics
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Hill and Wang; Edition Unstated edition (January 19, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809094819
- ISBN-13: 978-0809094813
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 9.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 80 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume One: Microeconomics Edition Unstated Edition
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The award-winning illustrator Grady Klein has paired up with the world's only stand-up economist, Yoram Bauman, PhD, to take the dismal out of the dismal science. From the optimizing individual to game theory to price theory, The Cartoon Introduction to Economics is the most digestible, explicable, and humorous 200-page introduction to microeconomics you'll ever read.
Bauman has put the "comedy" into "economy" at comedy clubs and universities around the country and around the world (his "Principles of Economics, Translated" is a YouTube cult classic). As an educator at both the university and high school levels, he has learned how to make economics relevant to today's world and today's students. As Google's chief economist, Hal Varian, wrote, "You don’t need a brand-new economics. You just need to see the really cool stuff, the material they didn't get to when you studied economics." The Cartoon Introduction to Economics is all about integrating the really cool stuff into an overview of the entire discipline of microeconomics, from decision trees to game trees to taxes and thinking at the margin.
Rendering the cool stuff fun is the artistry of the illustrator and lauded graphic novelist Klein. Panel by panel, page by page, he puts comics into economics. So if the vertiginous economy or a dour professor's 600-page econ textbook has you desperate for a fun, factual guide to economics, reach for The Cartoon Introduction to Economics and let the collaborative genius of the Klein-Bauman team walk you through an entire introductory microeconomics course.
Take a Look Inside The Cartoon Introduction to Economics
In the panels below, Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman illustrate economist Adam Smith's principle of the invisible hand. This priciple suggests that individuals unwittingly benefit society by pursuing their own self interest. (Click on any image to enlarge)
From Publishers Weekly
As a study aide, if you can get past—or roll with—the often-precious humor presented by humorist/Ph.D. Bauman, this book is well organized and direct, using its overviews to deflate some of the pomposity that surrounds economic theory. While pro–free trade, the book regards the theories it presents with a slight grain of salt, giving the reader an even broader view of economic history, with the trends that worked short- and long-term. Often, though, this is almost as tedious as an economics textbook—only those who are assigned a class in microeconomics might find some enjoyment in this book, a potential respite from their dry assignments. Also on the negative side, the drawings seem to be flat blobs. For those required to study the subject or already familiar with it, this has some value as a colorful brush up, but the merely curious may struggle. (Jan.)
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The most important decision of the authors is their choice of which microeconomic topics to cover. They present the material in three parts, each with 5-6 chapters, i.e.,
I. The optimizing individual
Individual v group outcomes
Decision trees ("opportunity costs")
From one to some (next part)
II. Strategic interactions
Cake cutting (equity or fairness)
Simultaneous move games (prisoner's dilemma)
From some to many (next part)
III. Market interactions
Supply and demand
Margins (marginal thinking)
The big picture (lots of exceptions to the ideas above)
My only comments on the text are slightly nit-picky, but I think relevant:
It's important to remember that individual "discount rates" are not the same as interest rates when it comes to making decisions about costs now for future benefits. Many students confuse the two, and this book does as well.
Neanderthals are presented as rather dumb compared to homo sapiens when they were actually smarter as individuals. Homo Sapiens had the advantages of language and thus group cooperation, which is why we took over from neanderthals.
Far more should have been said about various impediments to efficient markets, as most readers have experience with imperfect markets.
The authors should have clarified that market economics provides limited insights that political economy can better explain, i.e., how communities can provide "goods," the source and need to regulate negative externalities, etc. (read more here).
Bottom line: I give this book FIVE STARS for being entertaining at the same time as it makes it easier to understand important economic ideas.