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Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated) Paperback – April 19, 2010
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“I recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain an understanding of basic economics with little pain and much pleasure.”
- Gary Becker, 1992 Nobel Prize winner in Economics
“Bravo, Charles Wheelan, for doing the impossible: making the study of economics fascinating, comprehensible, and laugh-out-loud funny.”
- Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War
“Translates the arcane and often inscrutable jargon of the professional economist into language accessible to the inquiring but frustrated layman. . . . Clear, concise, informative, [and] witty.”
- Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.
Burton G. Malkiel is the Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University. He is a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers, dean of the Yale School of Management, and has served on the boards of several major corporations, including Vanguard and Prudential Financial. He is the chief investment officer of Wealthfront.
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For the layman the task is much simpler.
Mr. Wheelan in plain English reveals the invisible lines that connect trade, governance, private enterprise, and the self-interest that drives many consumers & CEOs alike.
You don't even realize what you took for granted until you are told the significance of a pattern of behavior you might have seen play out on the local or the international newscasts.
This book is an excellent starting point for those who are prepared to put down their pre-conceptions of how much they understand about the forces that make the world go around.
I have revised the order of which I am reading some of the other business & finance texts I purchased, to ensure I finish this book first. It's the perspective I was missing.
If you read this book, I feel you'll walk away with a solid understanding about issues about production, wealth, trade, taxes, inflation, job creation, monetary policy, debt/deficit spending, and how all these things interrelate, especially in regard to how public policy is shaped.
What is especially great about this book is that it deals with modern issues that we as a country have faced in America since the Great Depression, all the way up to the housing crisis. It may just skim the surface of these issues. But it shows how economics, although an imperfect science, impacts real life.
My only complaint about the book is that the author seems rather fond of quoting studies done by "Nobel prize" winning economists. As if that adds more "authority" to the insights these people have had. It gets a little annoying. I also wish he would shown more critical thinking around the housing crisis. He pretty much was a fan of the bailouts, as awful as they were. Not every economist would agree with his take on how these things were handled.
But be that as it may, this book shows you how our world works, and what the thinking behind a lot of brilliant economists over the years has been. Highly recommended.
It's bad for being so focused in America because some concepts explained so concretely here might be missed by people not used to the affairs of the United States. The Fed chapter, for example, is an excellent introduction to what central banks (should) do, but the Fed is very unusual in its own ways when compared to most central banks.
It's also bad for being so clearly pro-market. Note that it's the "clearly" part that I'm ranting about. People with no grasp of economics (you know who I'm talking about) usually have antibodies against views that conflict with theirs, so a more sober stance on the fact that an efficient* and unobtrusive Government is better for everyone.
These two small flaws are what stop me from giving up all my material possessions and walk the Earth spreading the Good News of Wheelan
*This includes reasonable care for those who need it