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Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work), in Words and Pictures Paperback – September 1, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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  • Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work),  in Words and Pictures
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I just cannot stress enough how amazing this book is!" --James Floyd Kelly, Wired.com

"Dan E. Burr's appealing illustrations add punch, humor, and clarity to Goodwin's already-excellent storytelling skills. . . . Light switches flicked on in my mind every few pages or so, and after reading Economix I felt like I understood many fundamental aspects about the way the world works. . . . Economix is a book I'm going to buy and give to people."--Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing

"Michael Goodwin hasn't just written a great graphic novel -- he's written one that should be required for every school, newsroom and library in the United States." --Andrew Smith, Scripps-Howard News Service

"Economix eliminates stupidity in the face of economics-speak. . . . You'll come away from Economix with a slew of newly understood concepts, from mixed economy to stagflation, but the most important thing you'll come away with is a newfound confidence in your ability to understand how the economic world works for and often against us. --Bob Duggan, BigThink.com

"Goodwin brilliantly contextualizes economic theories with historical narrative, while Burr's simple but elegant illustration employs classical techniques like caricaturing politicians and symbolizing big businesses (as a gleeful factory) to help the reader visualize difficult concepts. If the book has a prime message, it's that the economy is quite understandable and when things go wrong, the effort and thinking of a whole society must be applied to bring everything back into line." --Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Michael Goodwin is a writer and editor with a degree in Chinese studies. He has lived in China, India, and now New York City. Dan E. Burr illustrated the classic graphic novel Kings in Disguise. He lives in Milwaukee.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810988399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810988392
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an incredible way to learn about the history of economics. I was skeptical as I began to tiptoe into this book, already thinking I was a lost cause as it related to understanding how money, business, and government worked. But, Economix makes its subject fascinating and understandable. Goodwin somehow makes our history clear and often hilarious, although it's justifiably a tragic humor.

This book has given me clearer understanding of market crashes, communism, the New Deal, laissez-faire, etc. The collaboration between Goodwin and his illustrator, Burr, is solid.

Goodwin expresses his wish for the book to be a foundation for people learning about economics and I can't imagine a stronger one.
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Format: Paperback
UPDATE 5/20/14: The Law of Supply and Demand wins out. I can't find a better primer on economics for students (or anyone), so I must live with the single aspect of the book I dislike. I have raised my rating from one star to four. I still hope that for the second edition, the authors will reconsider their needless criticism of gun owners, et al.

EARLIER REVIEW: The author takes unnecessary potshots at too many people and ends up shooting himself in the foot, as far as I'm concerned. I was excited about reading this book and sharing it with my teenagers until the author started belittling conservatives in general. Attacking bad ideas and dumb individuals--specific ideas and specific individuals--is fine with me, but attacking huge swaths of people solely because they own guns or belong to the Republican Party is no smarter than insulting a whole race or religion because you dislike one characteristic of some of its members. Take the high road instead, and make a logical argument against that characteristic. It's the people at whom you are sneering that you most need to convince.

The primary means the government uses to control us isn't secrecy; it's our disdain for each other. It's so easy to trigger that disdain and make people support a bad policy, if it appears to be sticking it to our (apparent) political enemies. If the author revises the book and deletes the mudslinging, I'll buy that version and recommend it to others. The current version has left a bad taste in my mouth.
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Format: Paperback
The author's concept, communicating basic economic theory through a graphic novel is very interesting and creative. It must have been terribly difficult to achieve such a good result in so few pages.

The odd thing about the book is that you whiz from Adam Smith to the 1950's in about 1/2 of the book and then you hit an increasingly political diatribe and the deft talent that the author showed in the first half of the book for quickly describing complicated and difficult topics starts to disappear, replaced by an increasingly tone-deaf one-sided one-size-fits-all philosophy. This is too bad as the author does a VERY nice job of laying out his arguments and would have been considerably more convincing if he had come across as a teacher who has lots of disturbing questions about the official line instead of as a person who knows everything.

In spite of the disappointment at the end, the book earns 4 stars from me for two reasons:
- The first part of the book is solid gold and should be required reading for every high school student
- The author admited that he was going over the edge before he got too far into his arguments. This kind of self-awareness is rare in textbook authors and I encourage more to emulate the author's confidence and sense of humor
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Not since The Cartoon Guide to Physics have I been so entertained and educated at the same time. In the opening pages the author points out that it is impossible to separate political motivations and economics - one is the identity of the other. Fair enough, I'm glad he stated this early; yet, even with our politics not matching I found myself quite engrossed with this book. It really does what it promises - it turns a very complex and often daunting subject into an engaging and entertaining adventure. The imagery does a good job expressing context and adds value to the discussion, but the real gem is the writing which is crisp, entertaining, and most importantly: accessible - qualities I did not expect myself to ever associate with an economics book.

Anyone who wants a broader understanding of economics would benefit from this. I would consider this a great gift for a high school student as it might help them shape their career and or college aspirations. I have found that I refer to this fairly often now when I'm curious about economic decisions or motivations; I'll be keeping this one on my bookshelf for years to come.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really a treatise on why the USA economy is where it is after the Great Recession. Does go into economic theory but its strength lies in reviewing policies implemented in the USA. Because basic economic theory (which should be understood before reading this comic) should be already part the reader's knowledge before reading (see Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein's Cartoon Introduction to Economics Vol-1 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809094819/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_55 and Vol-2 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809033615/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_53), this isn't necessarily where to start so to grasp economic theory. For a guy like me who has virtually no background in the subject, the information is somewhat unsettling but expected (a lot of the information has been mentioned-in-passing on radio, television, and various printed media.)
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