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A Concise Guide to Macroeconomics: What Managers, Executives, and Students Need to Know 5.2.2007 Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The tables and charts scattered throughout the book provide excellent intuition for understanding international comparisons of GDP, the history of business cycles, or whatever topic is presently at hand. All of these media are well referenced in the text, clearly explained, and contain up-to-date information. Moss also illustrates some concepts, such as the Ricardian theory of comparative advantage, with examples of his own; these too are excellent.
What impresses me most about the book is that Moss seems to have gotten the technical level just right: this book has none of the anecdote-ridden flakiness so common to journalistic writing about economics, nor is it ponderous or over-burdened with theory. This guide will aptly explain the essentials of the field to those who are curious; I know of no other book like it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you have any lingering doubts (you shouldn't) just click on the "Search Inside" icon at the top of the page, and click "Surprise Me" to get a random sample of Moss's writing.
As such the first part has a chapter dedicated to introducing each of these three core concepts. The second part has a chapter for each of these three concepts again, but with slightly more sophistication afforded from the reader now having seen all three concepts in isolation, and the conclusion quickly ties everything together holistically. I found this format very effective for the content it was meant to convey.
To be clear though concise is the key word to describe this book. It covers first things first and only first things. As such many concepts, such as foreign reserves, aren't even mentioned. This book is very much a starting point, and it is written for the lay reader with only a simple or passing knowledge of economics concepts in general. It certainly won't make you a genius who can understand the world. It could likely help students understand concepts qualitatively but has no real math or graphical analysis and probably wouldn't help students with their homework or tests.
Despite its brevity and the fact it skips some topics many would like to see in a macroeconomics book I feel five stars is richly deserved on account of an admirable and rare honesty on behalf of the author. Although a Harvard Business School professor (and thus, if reputation is to be believed, about as educated as one can come) Mr. Moss is extremely clear that macroeconomics is not a precise science, most macroeconomic theories do not slide seamlessly into successful practice in real life, the reasons behind macroeconomic situations (i.e. currency collapses, recessions, sharp inflation, etc.) can be ambiguous and arguable, and macroeconomic monetary and fiscal policies (such as interest rate cuts or deficit spending) can have contradictory and unpredictable impacts in the real world. His explanation of macroeconomics can show how we can ask smarter questions to increase our chances of being successful when it comes to private enterprise and government venture, but also shows why there is such disagreement and room for argument on both sides of any macroeconomic issue.
A great starting place and, rare for an academic book, armed with a highly appropriate warning on the limits of a imprecisely understood albeit very important topic.
What is missing from the book should be carefully noted. There is no discussion of dynamics in any form, except for elementary and outdated notions of the Keynesian multiplier, and the like. This is good, because standard macroeconomic theory pretends to do market dynamics but it is in fact all smoke and mirrors. There is no serious, acceptable model of market dynamics, no matter what the so-called experts tell you (if the claim there is, they are liars or self-deluded fools).
Also missing are perspectives on economic regulation. There is no discussion of state failures vs. market failures, the role of automatic stabilizers vs. discretionary fiscal and monetary policy, and no discussion of the sociopolitical forces that led to the replacement of classical macro by Keynesian, and Keynesian by New Classical.
What is missing from this book is controversial, but a discussion of the various sides of the issues would be useful to the reader, who must search elsewhere for such material.