The fourth edition of Basic Economics is both expanded and updated. A new chapter on the history of economics itself has been added, and the implications of that history examined. Among other additions throughout the book, a new section on the special role of corporations in the economy has been added to the chapter on government and big business.
Basic Economics, which has now been translated into six foreign languages, has grown so much that a large amount of material previously found in the back of the book has now been put online instead so that neither the book itself nor its price will have to expand. The central idea of Basic Economics, however, remains the same: The fundamental facts and principles of economics do not require jargon, graphs, or equations and can be learned in a relaxed and even enjoyable way.
©2011 Thomas Sowell (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Clear and concise...Among economists of the past 30 years, [Sowell] stands very proud indeed." (Wall Street Journal)
I have to say that it's been a long time since a book influenced me enough to prompt me to actually write a review of it. I write this review in some sense due to a feeling of outrage that it stands unchallenged and might be taken as an authority on the subject for us lesser mortals, for whom Mr Sowells contempt is barely guarded.
"Basic Economics for the uncouth, undeserving and otherwise retarded public" might have been a more appropriate title given the overall flavour of this sweet and sour alphabet soup that Mr Sowell has vomited upon us. Make no doubt about it, as the author has no such second thought: the peoples and governments of the world are dense to the point of disbelieving mathematics in favour of the Marxist dogma that is presumably peddled as democracy in our society.
The author hammers home a belief system with trite examples that oversimplify most of the subjects, condemning any other belief than his own to cheap ridicule. The degree of simplification that he uses in his black and white interpretation of the world is almost childish, to the point of ruining even his most well made arguments. It is this constant contempt in which he treats his reader that most of all spoils what could have been a great book.
But it is still a compelling read (listen?) and I have spent more time with this audiobook than I have any other in the past year. As long as you aren't as stupid as he assumes you are, you should be able to get the best bits out of this book, and if nothing else it will be a sound introduction to economics, even with it's right wing barb.
A must-read for anyone interested in how money and economics works, and a good introduction, if somewhat biased.
I would disagree with some of the other reviews, i feel the book is quite balanced and generally portrays economic principles as economic principles and attempts to stray away from political views accept to highlight an economic point or use political mistakes of the past to deepen understanding of how an economically driven outcome would have been better than the politically driven policy.
My main gripe with this book however and why it may feel to some as though the author has an underlying agenda, is that it repeats itself a number of times and the examples used do not often move away from the political arena. A much better grounding in economics would start with the areas of economics that individuals can understand, like their own day to day dealings and gradually build to more in depth examples.
Due to the feeling of the book repeating itself it is also far to long for the content it covers, and is also very light on some behavioural economics and in explaining different approaches to standard issues in economics. All in all this makes the book very ominous and repetitive and unfortunately in my opinion is not a complete introduction. However there are not many books that attempt to provide a complete overview of economics or the economy without using maths and this is probably the best of those.
Clear but not very concise. Tends to repeat some concepts over and over again. Even so it is a good read as it explain economics in simple terms. I have the feeling author is overly keen on classical economics tough.
The subtitle of this book could/should be: 'An Introduction to Economics In Defence of Free Market Capitalism'. That's exactly what it aims to do: to introduce the average reader to the study of economics in a way which defends free market economics. That should not put the potential reader/listener off, especially because, in my experience, introductory books are best when the author tries not to be strictly neutral, even if you do not share their biases.
Even if you do not lean towards free market economics, this is still an excellent book for someone who wishes to be introduced to economics. It is clear, thorough, engaging and entertaining, and feels relevant to the average Western reader/listener. Whilst this is no short listen, Sowell's prose doesn't make it feel like heavy lifting. The narrator chosen for this book is also superb.
He starts out the book stating that economics has basic principles which are objectively accepted, no matter the political persuasion of the observer. I very much agree. Then goes on to tell interesting stories that are engaging and, seemingly, balanced and fair. But, then he gets into healthcare and comparing price controls within the UK's NHS versus the US healthcare system, a subject I know quite well. He presents the US healthcare system as being superior to all others (of the English speaking world) when that's hardly the case.
I believe Sowell thinks the plural of "anecdote" is "data", a major misstep for an economist. His bias is obvious, undoing his initial statement saying that bias doesn't even enter into it.
Amazing how a little intellectual dishonestly or laziness can undermine his entire body of work.
I wouldn't trust his opinion.
Tom Weiner has a voice I could listen to for days. Thomas Sowell, however, has a very black and white outlook on life, and rarely, if ever, takes the time to think about the flaws in his own arguments.
That said, it did introduce me to a lot of arguments I had not considered before. I'd be lying if I said I was not swayed by some of them, However it is a shame that it is so forthright that it doesn't stop to think of the benefits of other ways, as well as their failings, and vice versa for itself.
I find it hard to compare this book to anything I have read before. Not just in subject matter but tone. The closest, in a weird way, would be the books by Terry Goodkind (yes, those), because of the lack of ability to appreciate that things are not always black and white, but sometimes grey.
Without Tom Weiner, the book would be very dry, and quite frustrating in its overly optimistic Conservative outlook. I would probably throw it against against the wall in anger at how it fails to understand the stress and indignity of doing entry-level work.
It would be a very strange film...
I chose this book because I want an introduction to the subject. This book was perfect covering a wide variety of topics. Quality is excellent. Narrator is easy to listen to. Highly recommended.
Being an Computer science student and professional, I never had much interest in Economics but introduction of the book triggered me to read/listen this book. I'm glad I did. I found this book interesting even though I didn't follow completely and I've a plan to listen this book again :).
Overall it's an excellent book if you are relatively new to economics or a politician! Even for the more experienced reader the examples are still interesting. I disagree that the author shows contempt for the reader, he certainly shows frustration with many of our elected officials (which is justified in my opinion) but makes it clear that this is not a personal thing, just that most of them are more concerned with being re-elected than making good economic decisions. If this book was mandatory reading in schools then the number of people supporting socialist policies would half within a decade. I have two complaints about the book; 1) sometimes the short-term vrs long-term implications of decisions are not fully explained (so rent control laws lead to builders building less low-cost house prices creating shortages, but in the UK for example the government started forcing builders to build low-cost houses). 2) the narrator conducts a full frontal assault on the english language throughout the book, 'forbade' sounds like 4bad and he takes it upon himself to rename Nokia and Nissan.
Dr. Sowell presents economics in such clear and concise terms. Concepts, truths and fallacies all made crystal clear by detailed examples from economic history. Economics comes alive in this presentation.
The narration was so superb, He could make tax code interesting!
"This Must-Read will inoculate you against fraud"
Sowell covers so many economic fallacies (fallacies we have heard propagated daily in the news, for all of our lives), and explains why they are wrong. He uses inventive illustrative scenarios to make clear difficult concepts. He takes you well-past a limited concept or idea, to the full consequences of that idea, and makes the case using real-world historical examples from around the world. This will inoculate you against future fraud for the rest of your life. My only critique: the reader, while clear and understandable, is a bit dry and devoid of expression. Still worth it though. I have "re-read" many chapters since I bought it.
"Fantastic introduction to economics"
Thomas Sowell does a fantastic job of explaining economics in simple non-technical terms that anyone can understand. He points out the many misconceptions about economics and helps the reader / listener understand events attributed to economics in a better context.
This should be required reading for every high school student. Certainly this offers the level of understanding every voting of our society must have before they can make informed decisions.
"A lost story..........."
The "story" of economics, sadly, is not part of the basic education fabric in this country. One would think, a country built on a free-enterprise/captialism model would do a better job of informing it's citizens about what all of that means. Mr Sowell does a fine job of unpacking the baggage, talking about each piece along the way in understandable words and anecdotes, for the "interested" reader. What a great refresher or primer, depending on where you are when you pick it up.
"Fascinating Overview of Economics"
It's amazing to me that people so frequently choose to ignore the best science available. Sowell dispels economic myths and misconceptions perpetuated by most politicians. He does this by illustrating basic concepts using very accessible examples of failure and success from the recent past. This is a great introduction to economics with just the right amount of editorializing. Readers of a the left-leaning persuasion are going to find this as challenging as Sean Hannity might find a textbook on Biology.
"A big blow on economic fallacies"
This book covers a lot of ground on economics. As I am a beginner on the subject I found this book very interesting. If I had had the printed version I'm not sure I'd have been able to go through the whole thing since it's a long book but the narrator did a fantastic job. Students of economics would find this book useful as well.
The first half of the book is mainly about concepts and explaining how things work on the market. The second half was way my favorite where the author destroys many of the fallacies we hear politicians talking. I wish everyone who votes would hear this book.
"Great Summary of Economics!"
I really enjoyed this book. Thomas Sowell introduces economic concepts that really broadened my understanding of how the economy works. This is narrated very well. Listened to this on trips to work.
"Objective and just what most people need to hear"
I spend hours on the road so this was a great way for me to take a refresher course on economics while I drive. I liked how he teaches a theory or principle then supports it using one or more examples. I think this is just what most people need to hear and understand, especially at a time when many people around the world seem to be leaning toward socialism to answer all the problems of societies. Great book. I'm going to buy the book in hard cover just so I can reference it from time to time. If you're looking for a short simple "Economics for Dummies" then this is not for you. This book is very, very long and gives highly detailed descriptions of the basic principles. Highly recommended for real thinkers.
"Excellent Primer on Economics"
This book covered basic economic concepts very well, as well as giving background on some famous economists. I had taken macro and micro economics in college, but still learned new things from this book. I got a little bored towards the end on the topic of international economy and how other countries' economic policies can have a global effect. However, the size and depth of information from this book more than makes up for a few topics that I found dull.
i didn't enjoy this book, but it does give an overview of basic economic concepts. unfortunately, despite its length the book did not teach me anything i didn't already know, and as the book goes on, it becomes increasingly focused on the evils of government intervention, and less so on explaining economic concepts. i could have done without the extensive libertarian diatribes. i'm a believer in free-market economics and the global economy, but the agenda was so clear and tone was often so biased and closed-minded that the experience was simply not fruitful for me. it's a shame because when sowell sticks to economics, he explains things quite effectively, but i'd have rather purchased a less partisan book.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.