- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (November 8, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684827557
- ISBN-13: 978-0684827551
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From Kirkus Reviews
Another collection of brash, intelligent essays on economics by the author of The Armchair Economist (1993). Landsburg, a columnist for the online magazine Slate, turns his hand to demystifying everyday economics, using his nine-year- old daughter as a sounding board. While his exchanges with Cayley can turn overly sentimental, Landsburg's sharp wit and sharper insight make this a fun read for anyone with a taste for logic and unbiased opinions. Landsburg begins a discussion on NAFTA by debunking the notion that the number of workers who quit their jobs because of pay cuts represents the true cost of foreign competition. It's the workers who stay and take a pay cut, he argues, who are the real losers, because they bear the full brunt of the loss in wages. He later points out that while some would argue that it's unfair to the $16-an-hour worker to lose a job to a $3-an-hour worker, it's actually the public who, from the point of view of pure economics, has been cheated: They've been overpaying for products made by overpriced workers. At times, Landsburg risks sounding like a curmudgeon: He's irritated that Cayley's teachers dictate on the environment, sex, and drugs. But he rightly points out that even the best-intentioned environmental lesson often consists simply of memorizing the number of acres of rainforest lost, rather than a more complex analysis of land use. His best response is saved for Cayley's Hebrew school class: When asked to write an essay that begins ``To be more like God, I will . . .'' students penned treacly lines such as ``I will be kind to animals.'' Landsburg's stinging response: ``I will slay the first born of my enemies.'' Often funny and at times poetic, these essays are eminently readable and always smart. (Radio satellite tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
... a lively and provocative look at everything from trade policy to environmentalism to affirmative action.... In a clever and accessible way, he exposes a lot of bad economic reasoning that even Barney could see through. -- The Wall Street Journal, Todd G. Buchholz
Milton Friedman An ingenious and highly original presentation of some central principles of economics for the proverbial Everyman. Its breezy tone conceals the subtlety of the analysis. Guaranteed to puncture some illusions and to make you think. -- Review
This University of Chicago-educated mathematician and economist is a serious academic. But his true gifts lie elsewhere: He makes complicated economic and public policy issues accessible to a general audience and, like Hazlitt before him, forces the reader to challenge previously unexamined assumptions that muddle public debate.... The book's breezy tone and light-hearted title belie the thoughtfulness and scholarly sophistication that undergird almost every assertion that Landsburg makes, no matter how outrageous. The book is part primer on economics and public policy, part tutorial on the value of skeptical inquiry. -- Reason, Nicholas Schulz
Top customer reviews
Landsburg sometimes departs from the father-daughter paradigm to discuss issues that don't always fit in the with the rest of the book, but are fascinating none-the-less. Landsburg has a talent for making you think about an issue in novel ways. His analysis of minimum wage laws is clever and principled and nothing like you've ever heard before. Landsburg sheds the same critical light on everything from affirmative action to the rights of the unconceived.
But this is more than a book about economics. It's about what principles we want to use to guide our lives. It's about families. It's about a lot of other things too, but it's especially about fun. If you don't laugh out loud several times while reading this book, you need to have your head examined. Only the most determined curmudgeon could read this without cracking a smile at least once.