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Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book) Paperback – May 15, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8-10-- Maybury has used a series of letters as a clever technique to present some basic economics lessons. In brief chapters, the breezy text explains terms such as recession, inflation, money, the wage/price spiral, and Gresham's Law. But the book lacks thoughtful analysis. Reminiscent of many letters to the editor, Maybury's style of economic reasoning is simplistic and biased against government. The reason big corporations can't buy better tools, he asserts, is that they must "pay so many taxes that they don't have enough money left over." In another passage, government is blamed for "taking money from others." (Civic responsibility and government services are not a part of the author's vocabulary.) He does nothing to promote global understanding by his references to the reliability of money in Chile, Mexico, and Argentina: "I would not like to live there." A caution against blaming others for inflation and recession is followed by an explanation of the role of Jews in Europe before World War I: "Compared to everyone else they were wealthy." A section of the book is devoted to disconnected miscellanea, out-of-context quotations, and a rather subjective list of resources. There are also advertisements for the author's writings, including a financial newsletter for $149. For economic principles, one should look instead to materials published by the Joint Council on Economic Education or Lerner's "Economics for Today" series. --Miriam Hansen, Indianhead Federated Lib . System, Eau Claire, WI
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Maybury's forte is explaining economics in an interesting, logical, and easy-to-understand manner no small achievement in economics pedagogy. Equally important, the economics in 'Whatever Happened to Penny Candy' makes such good sense. When government's economic policies make us say 'uncle,' let's hope it's 'Uncle Eric,' Maybury's letterwriter and alter ego." --John G. Murphy, Ph.D., President, National Schools Committee for Economic Education (commenting about the previous edition)<br /><br />"This book is must reading for children of all ages. Its presentation of some of the fundamentals of economics is lucid, accurate, and above all highly readable." --Michael A. Walker, Executive Director, The Fraser Institute, British Columbia, Canada (commenting about the previous edition)<br /><br />"This one slim volume can and should replace at least one full shelf of weighty tomes. There's really no excuse for being baffled by economic theory and economic theoreticians when you can spend an evening with this grand book and learn the ABC's of a subject about which the politicians, in particular, wish you'd stay illiterate." --Karl Hess, Author, "Capitalism for Kids" (commenting about the previous edition

"This book is must reading for children of all ages. Its presentation of some of the fundamentals of economics is lucid, accurate, and above all highly readable." --Michael A. Walker, Executive Director, The Fraser Institute, British Columbia, Canada (commenting about the previous edition)

"This one slim volume can and should replace at least one full shelf of weighty tomes. There's really no excuse for being baffled by economic theory and economic theoreticians when you can spend an evening with this grand book and learn the ABC's of a subject about which the politicians, in particular, wish you'd stay illiterate." --Karl Hess, Author, "Capitalism for Kids" (commenting about the previous edition
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Product Details

  • Series: An Uncle Eric Book
  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Bluestocking Pr; 5th edition (May 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942617525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942617528
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Gelabert on February 16, 2006
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Absolutely marvelous and clearly explained! I am a science teacher certified to teach all the major science disciplines and have read many books concerning economics. This one trumps them all! Common sense is throughout.
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I was hooked on Richard Maybury's series after reading "Are you Liberal or Conservative? Or Confused?" I immediately ordered the entire series and have not regretted it for an instant.
I began with number one and moved through them all in the correct order, or at least the recommended order by the author.
"Let's talk about Personal, Career and Financial Security" was the first and just wet the curiosity. It left you wanting to know more.
This book began the meat and potatoes of a series that is easy to read, written on an understandable level for everyone and enlightening to all concerning the many mysteries of historical, economic and governmental issues and interminglings that have to do with social, moral, political and so many other issues.
I would recommend this series as a Middle School Required reading text with in depth discussions and working groups for the youth of America to be better informed than they now are about the world and how it all works and fits together.
Mr. Maybury's elaboration of the various "Models" that people create for the world they try to live in was a very thought provoking exercise and explained a great deal about the great divide that currently separates the American consciousness.
Two down and still batting a thousand. Great job Mr. Maybury.
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After having suffered through four college econ courses (Principles and Intermediate) I have come to the conclusion that most professional economists are nearly worthless ivory-tower eggheads whose theories are almost completely disconnected from the real world, and that "Ph.d" truly does mean "Piles high and deep." It is truly a shame that a reader can learn more from this marvelous little book than from getting a degree in economics. This book should be taught starting in junior high. It's clearly and simply written and very few of the concepts require a great deal of thought. After understanding it, you'll trust your own judgement over the babblers on tv and in the universities.
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Must reading for anyone who thinks understanding economics is beyond their reach. Richard Maybury explains economic "jargon" in anyone can grasp it terms. ex: debasing, Tanstaafl, Gresham's Law. Great crash course in economics and our free enterprise system. This is required reading in our homeschool.
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The great thing about this book is that it's a great explanation of inflation. The bad thing about this book is it's a great explanation of inflation. Yes, I said the same thing twice.

When it was first written-1978-inflation was the major thing in American economics. Today it is still a major threat-but the social urgency over it has declined as the rate of inflation has waned over the years. Yet, I still give this book a 5 star rating because understanding inflation requires explaining money. This book explains money better than any other book I've read.

Understanding money is VERY important. It is not only the key to explaining inflation, but it is the context in which almost all business activity plays out. A good understanding business requires understanding this context. This book does a great job a laying out that context.

The writing style is down to earth and simple. The book is short, very entertaining (for an economics book), and has clearly defined chapters. The author has some good illustrations. I don't really mean the expected graphical illustrations-although it has some of them too. I mean historical illustrations: stories of how societies have used (and abused) money in the past. These stories not only buttress the author's arguments, but also anchor the lessons in tangible human drama.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in learning economics and/or business.
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I think this is the best book out there to help quickly spread a basic understanding of economics and therefore how the world works. The knowledge and importance per page ratio is the highest I have ever read. Even better than Harry Browne's intro to economics from his famous first 80 pages of "How you can profit from the coming devaluation" .

Pages 13 - 90 are the heart of the book. That is 77 pages that in less than 2 hours can take your average person from unfortunate ignorance to economic genius compared to your average economics college graduate.

Somehow someone needs to reach Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and get them to read this book and put a copy in every american household. That would really be the most charitable thing they could do.
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Using LinkedIn I've recently connected with a friend from twenty years ago. We've exchanged some emails and will try to get together when he is back in town. When my friend learned that I had three daughters he recommended several books by Richard J. Maybury. I requested a couple from my library. The first one I got was What Happened To Penny Candy?

What Happened To Penny Candy? is a short book of 80 pages. It is a quick read. The book is structured as a set of letters from "Uncle Eric" to his nephew "Chris." In these letters the book explains the basics of economics. It does a good job. Over the last thirty years I've read dozens, maybe even hundreds, of books on economics. This book does a good job of covering the basics. I even learned a few things. For example I didn't realize that the reason quarters and dimes were lined with the little ridges on the side was to show if little pieces were clipped off the coin.

Richard Maybury, the author, writes from a strong Libertarian viewpoint. He explains why government manipulation causes problems. Someone who feels government is the solution to economic problems will not enjoy this book.

I'll return the book to the library and buy my own copy. I plan to have each of my daughters read this book. It is short enough that they won't fuss too much about having to ready a dry topic. Economics is an important subject, one that I want my daughters to master.
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