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Fair Play First Edition Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0684827551
ISBN-10: 0684827557
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Editorial Reviews

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.

Review

... 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
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Product Details

  • 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ross Nordeen on April 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Numerous books have been written on applying economics to everyday life, but Steve Landsburg's latest book employs a paradigm that puts it head and shoulders above the rest. His interactions with his daughter Cayley put a fascinating spin on things as her experiences and actions are filtered through the eyes of an economist. Landsburg points out again and again how we hold adults to a different, and lower, standard than we hold children, how we tell things to other adults that we would never say to a child and that adults accept excuses and reasoning from other adults that we would never accept from children.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Steven Landsburg is extraordinarily gifted both as an economist and as a writer. He proves what many economists lazily deny: that economics can be made accessible to those untutored in the subject. Not only will non-economists learn oodles from this spirited book, so too will economists. The only nit I have to pick is Landsburg's analysis of minimum-wage legislation. I find his analysis of such legislation unpersuasive (though clever). The rest of the book is a genuine intellectual delight.
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As a parent and a citizen-of-earth, I enjoyed (almost) every page of this book. Landsburg helps the reader to think through some issues which are much more "black and white" than our society seems to think they are. Seeking for truth? Be careful of what you wish for. Some of the truths that Landsburg finds in his daughter's life and the way he wants to bring her up will shine some light in corners you may not want to look at. In particular, I was very moved by his views on how our society treats the most productive and successful among us. You will never listen to a Bill Gates joke the same way again. I loved this book! After borrowing it from a friend, I am buying my own copy. Worth owning and worth reading!
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Best econ book ever written. I've had students, friends, and colleagues read it. It goes through the method of economic thinking in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Landsurg doesn't try to convince the reader that his conclusions are correct so much as challenge the reader to think in economic terms. Other economy for the masses books dwell on conclusions, Landsburg sticks to process. I've read this book at least 6 times through and still enjoy reading it.
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This book is clearly written by a knowledgeable and competent economist, and a good writer. It is informative and laugh-out-loud entertaining in places, with ingenious strokes of insight. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a part of his lunch group. I was disappointed, however, that the author often seemed to reduce Adam Smith's basic concept of "enlightened self-interest" to the much narrower idea of simply "self-interest", which leads to very different and more unfortunate economic, social, and institutional results.
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Awesome book for anyone who wants to understand basic economics and the moral and practical rammifications of public policy. Well written and easy to understand even for the economically inept.
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By Reed Black on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot, and am an economics major so read a lot of econ books, but this is a "savor every sentence" kind of book
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