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on October 20, 2013
Winter offers a straightforward discussion of how economists think about social issues--attempting to rein in their personal preferences and emotions in order to get at the real mechanics of policy choices. Thoughtful and illuminating.
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on January 20, 2013
Bought this as the required book needed for my daughter as one of the books needed in her college class this semester. Arrived in great condition and before the book we had to rent from the university book store which was ordered the same day.
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on June 23, 2007
This no non-sense, straight to the point book demonstrates clearly that no solutions exist to any social situation. There are only trade-offs. I especially liked his argument that there may be too little smoking in the world.

Winter clearly understands that pleasure, life, and many other things do indeed have a dollar value associated with them. Ignoring this exposes you to a variety of logical flaws, leading to false or misleading solutions.
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on February 8, 2006
'Trade-offs' is a good introduction to the economic analysis of policy, with a message clearly conveyed by its title: There are trade-offs for every (public) policy. Excellent for explaining economic analysis to people with little background in economics.

Disagree with the previous reviewer's comparison with Freakonomics: Though both are good, Freakonomics describes things that are at the frontier of current economic research (in an amazingly clear way). So, Freakonomics offers both clarity and novelty, while (at least for most people educated in economics), Trade-Offs mostly offers the former.

I would have given Trade-Offs a four star, but I think it is a bit too short for the money.
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on May 22, 2006
For the past 6 months or so, I have been frantically searching for a text I can use for a second year policy econ course for non-majors. I'd found nothing that covered the range of topics I wanted or at the appropriate level. This text is perfect; I wish I'd found it before the uni bookstore's cut off date! Each chapter would have to be supplemented with additional readings to provide the appropriate depth, but the coverage is almost perfect for the kind of course I'm teaching. Strongly recommended.
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on September 23, 2005
I love the popular writings of Steven Landsburg, Gary Becker and Walter Williams. This book is in the same vein, bringing jargon-laden economics down to a level of prose that everyone can understand and enjoy. (Most of the jargon and formal modeling in AER articles and econ textbooks is entirely useless.) On top of this, Winter has wit. How many econ professors actually have wit? I've done a study -- it's 5 and Harold Winter can happily put himself in that class now.

And this book vastly outshines "Freakonomics," which is nothing more than a book on measurement (not economic theory as it portends) and a incessant celebration of its authors.

My only critique of "Trade-Offs" is that I wish it were longer. I anxiously await "Trade-Offs II: Revenge of the Neoclassicists."
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on April 3, 2009
This book was very simple, but very interesting. It does not require any economics experience/knowledge. It forces the reader to think about what he/she believes in and why using an economist's perspective.
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on July 27, 2006
Excellent, EXCELLENT book.

Though, I beg to ask, why is it so short?

I started recommending this to students. And then told them not to waste their time with "Freakonomics".
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on February 22, 2006
I like it! Economics made easy and fun, a la "Freakonomics."
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