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Summary

Called by H.L. Mencken, "one of the few economists in history who could really write," Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for his brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes, and recession. Covering considerable ground, Hazlitt illustrates the destructive effects of taxes, rent and price controls, inflation, trade restrictions, and minimum wage laws. And, he writes about key classical liberal thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Herbert Spencer. 

©1962, 1979 by Henry Hazlitt (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"If there were a Nobel Prize for clear economic thinking, Mr. Hazlitt's book would be a worthy recipient...like a surgeon's scalpel, it cuts through...much nonsense that has been written in recent years about our economic ailments." (J.W. Hanes, former Undersecretary of the Treasury)

What listeners say about Economics in One Lesson

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sensible economics

This book provides an elementary lesson in Economics. It's a plea for free market economics and only for government to intervene when it's absolutely necessary. It shows up economic fallacies like trying control prices, rent controls, subsidizing farmers, unions and protectionist activities and lots of other things. This book really made me think and change some of my views.

6 people found this helpful

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COVID related!! Excellent read

Greatly relevant to today’s economic policy. Poor narration however, robotic sounding recordings needs improvement! Would recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Describes current situation

This book aged incredibly well. Written more than 70 years ago and predicts and outlines the problems associated with the current 2020 crisis

1 person found this helpful

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Relevant today

This book was originally written in the 40s and rewritten at the end of the 70s and is as relevant to day as it was then . It is written in a slightly old fashioned way but if you can get passed this , it does what it says on the cover . Economics in One Lesson.

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Very informative and interesting

Though old, it gives very good perspective and basics of economic fallacies. Examples are very helpful too.

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Highly recommended

Great narration. The topic is very timely these days. Well good lesson, everyone should know this.

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Debunks Economic Fallacies

A very good book that debunks economic fallacies that have led to bad government policies. Unfortunately the policies are still being implemented and harming many country economy

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Great first introductions

Full of surprisingly useful facts that I never considered before while mindlessly watching political debates and reading the news. Now I am in a much better position to question all government policy and consider the forgotten man.

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A simplified lesson in economics

the book was great the narrator was good. its a dumbed down version and is good for people who do not unxerstand or know nothing about Economics

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Timeless

An Excellent narrator. Very clearly written message. Hard to believe how relevant it is today.

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  • William Michael Brauer
  • 29-12-16

Should be required reading in every school.

As Hazlitt states, economists must simply throw up their hands trying to teach anyone when the bulk of the population has not even progressed an understanding of what Adam Smith wrote in the 17th century. Reading this book should be required prior to any citizen of any country being allowed to vote. This book, along with "Innumeracy" by John Allen Paulos, are the first two I read that have led me on a journey of voracious non-fiction reading to learn more about the myths I've been told and convinced to believe. From there to Sowell and Friedman, and beyond, economics informs (well, ... should inform) politics the way mathematics informs physics.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 06-01-14

The Best Book on Economics

Would you consider the audio edition of Economics in One Lesson to be better than the print version?

Unknown

What other book might you compare Economics in One Lesson to and why?

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell is equally brilliant.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't understand the question

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Economics in One Lesson?

This book is all you need to know about economics and nothing you don't.

Any additional comments?

This is the best primer on economics ever. If you know nothing about economics you must listen to this book. This book explains how the economy actually works. It is as timely today as it was 30, 40 or 50 years ago.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ferg Merkl
  • 12-10-07

New to Economics? Start here!

This book is a wonderful introduction to Economics for those (like myself) unfamiliar with the field. The author clearly and logically illustrates economic principles by examining what he takes to be the major economic fallacy of modern times: That all public spending and intervention is only good, and has no secondary consequences.

Mr. Hazlett sets out his one lesson in the first 20 minutes, and then uses the rest of his effort to illustrate using easily understood examples and actual scenarios. This contact with reality is refreshing for those wearied by the large amount of theoretical illustrations employed by other economists.

Although his views will be out of favour with many North Americans and their increasing devotion to government spending & protectionism, Hazlett presents a surprisingly balanced case for his one lesson.

As the examples unfold, we are reminded that unions are NOT always bad, government spending is NOT always bad, we DO need to consider those who have lost work due to large scale shifts in the workplace due to technology.

The one lesson comes back to it's origin: There are consequences to our actions.

We are encouraged to consider those consequences, think first, and then act. This is a bad thing?

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • E&M DeSpain
  • 13-08-05

Guide to Conservative Economics

While this book has a hugely conservative bent and doesn't take into account the value of any other economic ideas. It is a very good overview of the major arguments with which macro-economists work. It is quite insightful in some of its analogies and comparisons, and sure to be mind-expanding for those unfamiliar with economics.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kenrick
  • 10-10-03

Truly an amazing work.

The book explains sophisticated concepts in very understandable terms. It helped me analyze the strengths and weaknesses of various economic actions even though I had no real prior economics training. A must for lawyers, investors, or any person who uses money in society.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Captain Amazing!
  • 01-02-03

The truth about Economics

This book is excellent as it takes the myths that people have about economics and gives instruction on the falsehoods of those statements. Myths people have such as "War is good for the economy" etc. are expertly handled. This book was written some time ago and stands the test of time. These principles ring true years later. If you want to continue to believe that you can get something for nothing or that through higher taxes and more government spending you will have a greater society then don't buy this book. If you want to understand the truth of economics then look no further.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Darius Samani
  • 02-04-19

Some of the principles in this book are outdated

Ever since 1948 when this book was originally written many of the principles put forth here have proven invalid, especially at the international level. The author, being an open market economy purist, opposes import/export control measures such as: import tariffs, export incentives,... Experience has proven that without the imposition of import tariffs some segments of the American economy (e.g.: steel industry) were being seriously threatened by some foreign countries (e.g.: China) by means of their governments subsidization and price manipulation.
Furthermore, the author argues that if country A does not import from country B, country B will not be able to import from country A, because B won’t have A’s currency to purchase A’s goods. On the contrary, in this day and age it’s more common for countries to use stable currencies such as U.S. Dollar and Euro for international trade rather than other countries’ local currencies.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 13-06-13

Refresher

What did you love best about Economics in One Lesson?

This is a great refresher of basic economic principals. It takes the tact of refuting economic fallacies proffered by politicians pandering to various special interests and the broad voting class with little or no understanding of economics. While the book is somewhat dated in context having been rewritten in the late 1970s, the principals are intact. In fact, there are frightening correlations for our current state and many statements that foreshadow turmoil we have since encountered.

Economics should be taught in every high school and probably required before we receive the right to vote.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric Pietz
  • 16-10-09

Hazlitt debunks the biggest fallacies

Dumb title, awesome content. For anyone interested in the truth about economics and government intervention. Hazlitt doesnt get caught up in numbers. Just the truth about economics and unintendend consequences of free market interventions. Great book for people just starting out with economics OR people already schooled in it. Suits the whole range.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ian Wagner
  • 14-08-20

Never been more relevant

The author is articulate and has depth of thought that has been all but lost in the intervening decades filled with an ever faster race toward short term thinking by politicians as well as the general population of Western countries. This book has never been more relevant. Required reading.

1 person found this helpful