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1. The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden
2. Armchair Economist: Economics
3. The Undercover Economist
4. The Undercover Economist: Exposing
5. New Ideas from Dead Economists:
6. Mathematics for Economists
7. Game Theory for Applied Economists
8. Numbers Guide: The Essentials
9. The Economist Style Guide, Tenth
10. The Irrational Economist: Making
11. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist
12. The Baseball Economist: The Real
13. A Guide for the Young Economist
14. Guide to Analysing Companies (The
15. The Economist Book of Obituaries
16. Economists and Societies: Discipline
17. Pocket World in Figures: 2010
18. Discover Your Inner Economist:
19. The Making of an Economist, Redux
20. Guide to Investment Strategy:

1. The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies
by Edward Jay Epstein
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-02-23)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1933633840
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In a Freakonomics meets Hollywood saga, veteran investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein goes undercover to explore Hollywood’s “invisible money machine,” probing the dazzlingly complicated finances behind the hits and the flops, while he answers the surprisingly puzzling question: How do the studios make their money?

Along the way we also learn much about star system and what makes the business tick:

+ What it costs to insure Nicole Kidman’s right knee ...

+ How and why the studios harvest silver from old film prints ...

+ Why stars do—or don’t do—their own stunts ...

+ Why Arnold Schwarzenegger is considered a contract genius ...

+ How Hollywood goes about doping outside investors and hedge fund managers ...

+ Why Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is considered a “masterpiece” of financing ...
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Insightful read
With the business of movie making looking to new ways of delivery & production, "the hollywood economist" helps demystify the market forces that are forcing the industry to re-engineer itself. For anyone looking to get up to speed quickly on a quick primer of the production & dealmaking landscape of hollywood production this is a great introduction. Filled with relevant and enlightening case studies and examples.

5-0 out of 5 stars informative & fun
i learned as much as i enjoyed reading this book, a tight, concise interplay of sharp arguments and real-life examples.

4-0 out of 5 stars A quick informative peak at the dollars behind the make up
Epstein has had a distinguished journalistic career breaking stories as varied as disclosures surrounding the Kennedy assassination, the diamond trade and the spy craft between the KGB and the CIA. He turns his eye and energies in this 2010 book to an astute analysis of movie financials. In short pointed chapters, he digresses little and wastes few words in making his points about the risk money behind movie production, distribution, actors' salaries, creative accounting and tax incentives in the US and abroad. His prediction,at the end,about the portent of the demise of independent movies is presumably true,but sad nonetheless.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not original and not substantive
This book is perfectly average in its genre. The articles are as short as newspaper columns (average seems to be about 300-500 words) and so there's not much ability to discuss a topic in any depth. The longest piece is the first one, so if you download the Kindle sample you'll get a wrong idea of how much depth you'll find in this book.

That said, the actual pieces are decently-written. The author probably has some interesting insights into the entertainment business, even if they don't come out very often because of the short length of his sections. There are better books out there on this topic: Jason Squire's "The Movie Business Book" for an overview of the industry and Arthur De Vany's "The Hollywood Economist" for a more economics-wonk analysis. Buy those instead.

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful if dry
I had never heard of Epstein's previous book on the movie business, but after hearing him interviewed on the radio I was excited for this one. The author knows what hes' talking about, clearly explains the ins and outs of film finance and he gives interesting examples. I will be thinking about Arnold Schwarzenegger's elaborate contracts for a while now.

My two gripes? It's just, well, it's a little boring. This might be partly my fault, as I just finished William Goldman's fantastic, more general Adventures in the Screen Trade. Goldman has such a lively voice and illustrates his points with longer gossipy anecdotes. Switching to this was like eating a granny smith after a bowl of ice cream. I know it's good for me but it's not as fun. Issue two is that it's so short. 219 pages and an appendix is slim to begin with but the margins on my paperback copy are huge. The actual text on each page takes up about the space of a postcard. Parts of the book appeared previously in magazines, which makes me feel like four articles were slapped together here.

The Hollywood Economist is serious about its subject, professorial in tone, should be very helpful to anyone working in the movies or aggravated that so few good ones get funded.

The cover is also beautiful, if you're into that sort of thing. ... Read more

2. Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life
by Steven E. Landsburg
Paperback: 256 Pages (1995-03-01)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$1.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0029177766
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the planet, the University of Rochester professor valiantly turns the discussion of vexing economic questions into an activity that ordinary people might enjoy.
-- Joe Queenan, The Wall Street Journal

The Armchair Economist is a wonderful little book, written by someone for whom English is a first (and beloved) language, and it contains not a single graph or equation...Landsburg presents fascinating concepts in a form easily accessible to noneconomists.
-- Erik M. Jensen, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

...enormous fun from its opening page...Landsburg has done something extraordinary: He has expounded basic economic principles with wit and verve.
-- Dan Seligman, Fortune ... Read more

Customer Reviews (67)

4-0 out of 5 stars Why tigers are in danger of extinction while cows never are? Why Landsburg's analysis may be wrong?
Why tigers are in danger of extinction while cows never are?
Why Landsburg's analysis may be wrong?

In the book Armchair Economist, Steven Landsburg argues that the reason behind cows' population growth is the ranchers' self interest. Due to the fact that ranchers' profits depend on breading more cows they will make sure that this specie will never go extinct. On the other hand existence of tigers will not benefit any body and that makes them prone to extinction. Following the same chain of reasoning Landsburg argues that recycling will have a counter effect on trees' population. By recycling the loggers' business will be less profitable which will decrease their interest in keeping forests full of trees and thus forests will be more in danger of deterioration.

This chain of reasoning although may apply perfectly well to cows but seems to have some problems when applied to forests. Landsburg forgot to take into account the cost associated with keeping the forests full of trees. His argument is only valid if the cost and investment associated with planting new trees returns in time with enough profit. Contrary to cows that have short life span, forests tend to take several decades to grow back, therefore an investor may find it more profitable to use the forest once and never replenish it. On the other hand, as he himself mentioned in his book investors tend to diversify and hedge their investments consequently they are invested in both paper industries and recycling businesses, therefore they may find it more profitable to force paper industries to cut trees without the cost of replenishment for more profit now and when the tress become scarce they will decrease their interest in paper industries and increase it in recycling. If ROI of repopulating trees is more than switching to another business I am sure that the investors will choose to use current resources and move to another business later.

Due to the reasons I offered above it is necessary to understand that in capitalist society, long-term planning is often left to the state. But unfortunately at the same time, the powerful influence of industrialists in a country's affairs stipulates for a smaller government. And a small government won't be powerful enough to address long term problems such as environmental issues. Although I love Landsburg's book and I should say it opened my eyes to many new and valid new points. I think that in the case of environmentalists he fell short of his own standard and method of scientific analysis.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fails on a number of levels
The author has some neat ideas, a nice turn of phrase and a dry wit. However, this book is wildly opinionated and often poorly justified. The author is demonstrably ignorant of topics outside of economics. Biology and climate science are particular weaknesses which are embarrassingly used in far too many examples. I have never classified myself as an environmentalist but when reading the author's anti-eco tirade I couldn't help wondering if this was a joke. It reads like the author and his friends, all paid-up Republican-voting supply-side economists, decided he should write a book that discredits all those nandy-pandy liberal ideas that are ruining America. If only, he argues, we had purer and freer markets everything would be fine. Every problem is the result of interference in the magic distribution of Smith's invisible hand. The author has clearly no idea of jurisprudence either. This is the key problem of the book. It's simply not rigorous in its justifications of sometimes outlandish-seeming claims, particularly improbable-seeming behavioral predictions. It's so flippant, you wonder whether you're supposed to take any assertion seriously.

The result is a political manifesto masquerading as a book about economics. I accept that the two are related. As a political manifesto, it's not without its merits. The problem with its moral/political judgements is that we've just come out of over a decade of "light touch" regulation in financial markets and the net-effect has been a global financial catastrophe where the very rich are being bailed-out by the relatively poor. All brought about by other economics lobbyists, with similar beliefs to the author, succeeding in reducing federal regulations on the financial services industry, instead advocating self-governance. As the author states early on, "people respond to incentives".

1-0 out of 5 stars Digital edition costs more than print!?!
For some reason the publisher wants me to pay MORE for the digital edition than the print, even though they've turned off features and I can't resell it or give it away.

I get it, Simon & Schuster/Free Press, you don't want me to buy a digital copy even though that's how I read now. Fine, I'll buy a used copy and you'll never see a profit from my sale in the first place. I just can't figure out, from an economics perspective, why you'd want that. *shrug*

5-0 out of 5 stars Great quality
The book has some annotations near the beginning, but as a student, those are just extra notes. The book is in really good condition and was VERY inexpensive. Great quality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
Some economics books read more like a manual of technical instructions, designed only for those with a PhD in economics, yet Landsburg's witty writing and precise examples keep the book entertaining enough that it's hard to put down.
Landsburg does get a bit caught up in some heavy-handed language and technical jargon in a few chapters (most notably in the middle of the book), but the rest of the book more than makes up for it. In short, The Armchair Economist is a must-read for anyone who doesn't know anything about economics but would like to. ... Read more

3. The Undercover Economist
by Tim Harford
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-01-30)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345494016
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
“The economy [isn’t] a bunch of rather dull statistics with names like GDP (gross domestic product),” notes Tim Harford, columnist and regular guest on NPR’s Marketplace, “economics is about who gets what and why.” In this acclaimed and riveting book–part exposé, part user’s manual–the astute and entertaining columnist from the Financial Times demystifies the ways in which money works in the world. From why the coffee in your cup costs so much to why efficiency is not necessarily the answer to ensuring a fair society, from improving health care to curing crosstown traffic–all the dirty little secrets of dollars and cents are delightfully revealed by The Undercover Economist.

“A rare specimen: a book on economics that will enthrall its readers . . . It brings the power of economics to life.”
–Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics

“A playful guide to the economics of everyday life, and as such is something of an elder sibling to Steven Levitt’s wild child, the hugely successful Freakonomics.”
The Economist

“A tour de force . . . If you need to be convinced of the everrelevant and fascinating nature of economics, read this insightful and witty book.”
–Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization

“This is a book to savor.”
The New York Times

“Harford writes like a dream. From his book I found out why there’s a Starbucks on every corner [and] how not to get duped in an auction. Reading The Undercover Economist is like spending an ordinary day wearing X-ray goggles.”
–David Bodanis, author of Electric Universe

“Much wit and wisdom.”
–The Houston Chronicle
From Publishers Weekly
Nattily packaged-the cover sports a Roy Lichtensteinesque image of an economist in Dick Tracy garb-and cleverly written, this book applies basic economic theory to such modern phenomena as Starbucks' pricing system and Microsoft's stock values. While the concepts explored are those encountered in Microeconomics 101, Harford gracefully explains abstruse ideas like pricing along the demand curve and game theory using real world examples without relying on graphs or jargon. The book addresses free market economic theory, but Harford is not a complete apologist for capitalism; he shows how companies from Amazon.com to Whole Foods to Starbucks have gouged consumers through guerrilla pricing techniques and explains the high rents in London (it has more to do with agriculture than one might think). Harford comes down soft on Chinese sweatshops, acknowledging "conditions in factories are terrible," but "sweatshops are better than the horrors that came before them, and a step on the road to something better." Perhaps, but Harford doesn't question whether communism or a capitalist-style industrial revolution are the only two choices available in modern economies. That aside, the book is unequaled in its accessibility and ability to show how free market economic forces affect readers' day-to-day.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Harford exposes the dark underbelly of capitalism in Undercover Economist. Compared with Steven Levitt’s and Stephen J. Dubner’s popular Freakonomics (*** July/Aug 2005), the book uses simple, playful examples (written in plain English) to elucidate complex economic theories. Critics agree that the book will grip readers interested in understanding free-market forces but disagree about Harford’s approach. Some thought the author mastered the small ideas while keeping in sight the larger context of globalization; others faulted Harford for failing to criticize certain economic theories and to ground his arguments in political, organizational structures. Either way, his case studies—some entertaining, others indicative of times to come—will make you think twice about that cup of coffee.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (59)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sparks some insights about everyday's economy
This is an easy going book that tries to explain few insights from famous economical theories through examples from real life. Basically the author did a very good job delivering that promise and the book is a fairly easy read, but one which also keeps you thinking.Overall this is a very enjoyable book that provides several "ha-ha" types of insights, even for readers who didstudy economics and marketing in the past (like myself) but usually don't spend to much type analyzing its daily life impact on the smallest things around us.

The book is divided to chapters, each of which explore a different topic. Chapter 1, titled "Who pays for your coffee?" which among others explains the relationship between the high coffee prices at Starbucksand their demand for the top location for their stores (e.g. right across the exits of a train-station). Chapter 2 than continue to explore various tricks from price setting strategies and how they cause us to pay a little more for products that basically have the same value. Overall there are 10 such chapters dealing with the issues of globalization, the growth of china, and others.

My main problem with the book is the following:there are many disagreements about the validity of various economical theories (as they often neglects many of the variables that are found in real world), and as such economic theories have basically very little predictive power. The author on the other hand, while explaining a topic often takes a very narrow, one sided view of the topic and does not give enough room for different views or counter arguments. For example, one can look at the chapter about Globalization and be surprised to see the strong view against the anti-globalization movement. However, in the analysis he neglects many important arguments including political pressures, the importance of self-sustainability and others.

In the end this is a very enjoyable read, the topics are interesting and well explained. This book is recommended almost to anyone as it requires no prior knowledge of economic, just good old intuition and life experience.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sickening Neoliberal Apologist Propaganda
I am delighted that I borrowed rather than paying for this book - I would hate to send a price signal to the market that might encourage Harford to write more of this rubbish.

Listening to a neoliberal talk about economics usually feels like listening to a fundamentalist talk about their religion. There is no doubt that Harford is a preacher of the neoliberal religion.

It is difficult to explain just how intellectually disingenuous this book is. I will attempt to do so by drawing an analogy with one of my favourite passages from answersingenesis dot org.

"As you add up all of the dates, and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth almost 2000 years ago, we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6000!), not millions of years. Thus, if the Bible is right (and it is!), dinosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years."

The above passage makes more sense than most of Harford's book, which is nothing more than a bunch of cherry picked examples that supposedly validate the author's fundamentalist neoliberal worldview. The examples are oversimplified to the point of irrelevance, and then tied together in a series of non sequitirs that Harford ultimately uses to proclaim "Thus, if neoliberalism is an accurate and complete model of human economies (and it is!), then globalisation is great, and poor countries are poor because they deserve to be."

This apologist propaganda would be funny if there weren't so many people falling for it. In its defence, this book does paint a reasonably accurate if grossly simplified picture of one of today's most widely (ab)used economic models. In doing so it also provides some damning insights into how the neoliberal mind "works".

It is unsurprising though that when a fundamentalist like Harford repeats (ad nauseum) that "we economists think ..." he completely neglects to mention that other economic theories and models exist outside the neoliberal doctrine.

The majority of readers who will be appalled by Harford's bigoted insincerity should take heart that there are vast numbers of principled economists working towards a sustainable and more humane future for us all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than I thought!
Being a manager for 15 years, I thought I know quite a bit about economics, so I bought the book with a portion of skepticism, looking for an easy plane-ride read and somewhat encouraged by other reviewers.
Turns out it is irrelevant how much you already know about economics, even well known concepts are explained with always entertaining and occasionally even amusing examples. I never thought about the reason behind the random sales at my local supermarket, and now I know - but I won't tell you, so you won't skip over on a great chapter.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most fun econ books you'll ever read.
This book, culled mainly from Harford's great body of articles for the Financial Times in London, was a fantastic read.I've been an economist for some 15+ years and picked up this tome while waiting for a flight in Mumbai.As a sidenote, if you're planning on being in India anytime soon, you can pick up the British paperback edition for around $4.50 at the airport.The book is an excellent tutorial on basic microeconomic principles.Not a lot of heady theoretical stuff here.Plain English.Interesting.Compelling.Topics that are very relevant today.I'd say the ideal audience is a college econ major or a sharp high school kid who is thinking about majoring in econ in college.Also a great book for us economists to give to our non-economist friends to explain how useful and important we are in the world.
The most value in the book is that it gets you to think in economic terms about everyday things.As a result, it is not a quick read.You will pause and think and reread sections and have long discussions with your wife and officemates about all that you're learning.And that is certainly worth the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Making economics obvious
This book was great!Harford takes major economic ideas (rent-pricing, taxes, incentives in health care, China's opening economy, environmentalism, comparative advantage were some of the biggest) and presents them in relevant, funny ways.

He starts by talking about coffee stores, pointing out reasons for some ubiquitous trends in coffee stores and then delving into where the profit really goes.Using this as an example, he's able to discuss who really sets prices in our market, a common theme throughout the book.This technique of grabbing an everyday example is leaned on heavily and serves his writing style quite well as ideas are introduced in this easy-to-understand manner before moving to bigger, more abstract theories.This isn't like Freakonomics, where economics is applied to interesting stories, rather this is a book that attempts to explain broader ideas about markets using easy to grasp examples.

The author follows the perfect rule of leaving your audience wanting more.The book is short, and since each chapter feels like its own story it never seems to drag out in any section.As a columnist, you can tell he's used to covering ideas in concise ways to a broad audience, but here he gets a bit more room to really back up his points.

I'd recommend this for any age and intellect, as an Economist-reading grad student I loved the light-hearted approach to some weighty issues but I could easily see this being a good read to a curious high school students or my parents.A number of friends have already lined up to borrow my copy! ... Read more

4. The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor--and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!
by Tim Harford
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2005-11-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$7.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195189779
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
An economist's version of The Way Things Work, this engaging volume is part field guide to economics and part expose of the economic principles lurking behind daily events, explaining everything from traffic jams to high coffee prices.The Undercover Economist is for anyone who's wondered why the gap between rich and poor nations is so great, or why they can't seem to find a decent second-hand car, or how to outwit Starbucks. This book offers the hidden story behind these and other questions, as economist Tim Harford ranges from Africa, Asia, Europe, and of course the United States to reveal how supermarkets, airlines, and coffee chains--to name just a few--are vacuuming money from our wallets. Harford punctures the myths surrounding some of today's biggest controversies, including the high cost of health-care; he reveals why certain environmental laws can put a smile on a landlord's face; and he explains why some industries can have high profits for innocent reasons, while in other industries something sinister is going on. Covering an array of economic concepts including scarce resources, market power, efficiency, price gouging, market failure, inside information, and game theory, Harford sheds light on how these forces shape our day-to-day lives, often without our knowing it.Showing us the world through the eyes of an economist, Tim Harford reveals that everyday events are intricate games of negotiations, contests of strength, and battles of wits. Written with a light touch and sly wit, The Undercover Economist turns "the dismal science" into a true delight. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (128)

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and readable, witty but forgetable
This is a quick read, entertaining, sometimes illuminating, but mostly a tool to kill a few hours. The reason for that is lack of depth; nevertheless it offers some insights worth thinking about. All in all good value for your time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Very Good; Very Bad
I wanted to enjoy Mr. Harford's book, but I found his work very uneven.He says some very good, very true, things, and I commend him for that. He recognizes that the American Health Insurance system is broken (Mr. Harford is English). He says that Free Markets can be disrupted because of asymmetric information and his example of the used car market is a good one. He explains well the idea of scarcity pricing. AND he admits that much of his defense of Free Markets is a pure , see pp. 72 and 80. Along these lines Mr. Harford explains that economic theory makes certain assumptions and simplifies processes to such an extent that it loses all those thousands of messy details that would otherwise allow the theory to actually capture reality.He even says that corporate polluters lie to regulators about the costs of pollution abatement p. 92. He acknowledges that numbers like GDP tell us very little.All of this is very good.
But now let's move to the very bad. The example of the Chinese made underwear is pure foolishness. Harford says that Chinese workers selfishly (which is good to Harford) look for the best jobs, and manufacturers (selfishly) look for the best employees; somehow all of this results in goods being made only if people want them, and made by the people most appropriate to do the job, p. 77. I'm suspicious when someone tells me that the world is best served when my underwear is made for me in China. This seems to ignore the reality of millions of lead tainted toys, formaldehyde leaking sheets drywall, and baby killing cribs that have come out of China recently.Who really wants that stuff made?There is an advantage to knowing who is making your stuff and being able to trust them to do it right.Harford also ignores the benefits of the multiplier effects of local spending.Even worse is the ridiculous little chart on p. 204 entitled Does Globalization Cause Pollution?This chart purports to show how as foreign investment rose in China pollution was decreased!!!Does anyone remember the Beiing Olympics?The Chinese government temporarily shut hundreds of factories and mandated severe driving restrictions on motorists trying to reduce pollution levels which eventually were only three or four times worse than the worst days in Los Angeles. Anyone thinking that Chinese pollution is being dealt with successfully hasn't been to China or read the news.As other reviewers have remarked, it does seem that Mr. Harford wants to push a Free Market ideology, even though he sometimes admits the limits of such markets.
Finally, the use of Ad Hominem is distressing.On p. 213 Harford simply states that: If voters are well informed and fully understand economic theory, then in a democracy the protectionists will be voted down. Please don't try to argue like this.Mr. Harford has just said that if you disagree with him you can't be well informed and/or you just don't understand economics (like he does).This is an insult rather than a good argument.
So this is a frustrating book that does have something to recommend it, but overall is not worth the time to read.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Good Read
This book is a joy to read.The man can write.

Having said that, I give the book 3 stars because the author has an agenda and it is not my agenda.He seems to be a nice kinda guy (he has a cute sense of humor), but close reading reveals him to be a shill for the bad guys.I think.

On page 65, he says: "In a perfectly competitive market, the price of coffee would equal the marginal cost of coffee."This explanation of our economy is the centerpiece of the first half of the book, that free markets are efficient and result in prices that are close to costs and that distribute money to where it should go in market terms of supply and demand.Harford does allow for exceptions, like "externalities," but he does not offer the possibility that our "free market" is not free or efficient because it is anything but perfectly competitive.It seems, for many markets, that the inevitable result, over time, of "perfectly competitive markets" is monopolistic markets; that, in fact, the free market inevitably tends away from freedom toward market control.

On the other hand, the author parallels my agenda with his discussion of externalities, but he stops short of an interesting discussion of how he might PRICE externalities.Example: how can we price the external costs of fossil fuel consumption, such as pollution and greenhouse gas emissions?How can we PRICE these externalities?I might suggest an incremental (increased monthly) tax on fossil fuels until they are no longer bought or sold.Harford seems to have an ambiguous attitude toward governmental solutions but he is not clear on when a tax is OK and when not.

On page 132, the author argues that the best kind of health insurance would be disaster insurance, or what used to be called a major-medical policy.My father was an insurance broker all his life and he advised (ME at least) to purchase major medical policies when I was not covered by an employer. I bring this up as I have never seen anyone else make this suggestion and it is an excellent one.It's a pity he never went before Congress to suggest such a solution.I would have the major medical policy paid for by taxes (which covers everyone buying a policy).

On page 221, he says: "The question is whether any environmental catastrophe, even severe climate change, could possibly inflict the same terrible human cost as keeping three or four billion people in poverty.To ask that question is to answer it."Well, this sounds good, and humane, and compassionate.But it is wrong-headed.If a runaway greenhouse effect is a possible "environmental catastrophe," well then that is a million times worse than world-wide poverty, because it would be world-wide extinction.So I question if this economist has a grasp on environmental issues.I understand that sticking to economics without bleeding into other areas is difficult.Nevertheless, ...

I would like to see Harford admit that we are a mixed economy; and that a pure free market economy makes a great computer model, as it is easy to model, but that it will not remain free in practice, that money will inevitably flow toward the already wealthy and that wages will tend toward subsistence (until we learn how to limit population growth - hah!).Not only not fair, not desirable (except to the bad guys).

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Enlightening
This book is a wonderfully enlightening description of how economies work. It includes discussions about prices, poverty, wealth, and the overall reality of why the economic world works the way it does.

I've always avoided economics-related stuff, because so much of it is so dry & boring & unintelligible. But this book really breaks it down beautifully.

Especially enlightening is his well-justified description of how wealth builds in some places and why poverty festers in other places. It's a refreshing reprieve from the typical blame/shame-based "poor people are poor because rich people are evil" rhetoric that is so pervasive in our world today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read Mr. President
Great introduction to economics in a way that will not put you to sleep. Every person who graduates from high school should read this book so there will not be so many confused people who end up voting for the liberal ticket on monetary issues. Mr. President, it would not hurt for you to read this book also. ... Read more

5. New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought
by Todd G. Buchholz
Paperback: 368 Pages (2007-04-06)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452288444
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The classic introduction to economic thought, now updated in time for the publication of New Ideas from Dead CEOs

This entertaining and accessible introduction to the great economic thinkers throughout history— Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and more—shows how their ideas still apply to our modern world. In this revised edition, renowned economist Todd Buchholz offers an insightful and informed perspective on key economic issues in the new millennium: increasing demand for energy, the rise of China, international trade, aging populations, health care, and the effects of global warming. New Ideas from Dead Economists is a fascinating guide to understanding both the evolution of economic theory and our complex contemporary economy.Amazon.com Review
Over 150 years ago, Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle dubbedeconomics the "dismal science." But it certainly doesn't seem that wayin the skillful hands of Todd G. Buchholz, author of New Ideas fromDead Economists. In this revised edition of a book first publishedin 1989, economics is accessible, relevant, and fascinating. It's evenfun--for example, when he uses the cast of Gilligan's Islandand Henny Youngman jokes to explain complex economic theories. "Whynot have the last laugh on Carlyle by using the dead economiststhemselves to reverse their bad reputations and to teach the lessonsthey left to us?"

Buchholz surveys and critiques economic thought from Adam Smith'sinvisible hand of the 18th century to the depression-fighting ideas ofthe Keynesians and money-supply concepts of the 20th-centurymonetarists. He also relates classic economic principles to suchmodern-day events as the fall of communism, the Asian financialmeltdown, and global warming. Buchholz includes plenty of anecdotesabout the lives of the great economists: Karl Marx, for instance, wasan unkempt slob; David Ricardo, the early-19th-century Englishpolitician and economist, was among the rare economists to get richtrading stocks; and Maynard Keynes was so homely his friends calledhim "Snout." Here's a lively and authoritative read for thoseinterested in the past, present, and future of economics. --DanRing ... Read more

Customer Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great overview of many different schools of Economic thought
Todd Buchholz brings together a wonderful and well written overview of many different schools of economic thought. This book neatly discusses, summarizes, and brings up criticisms and problems in economics from the days of Adam Smith, to our most recent 'Rational Expectations' school. Each section is divided up into 20 to 30 odd-some pages so that the reader will not be too engrossed in one partiular school of thought, and will be able to easily transition from one school to the next and for the most part, he works in a chronological order. You will learn about the most famous economists Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall, as well as Milton Friedman and some of the lesser known economists, whose theories are the foundation of both micro and macroeconomics. Well written and worth the read!

5-0 out of 5 stars As enjoyable as economics can be
I bought this book because I like to consider myself a well-informed person, and enjoy finance/economics/business, but never knew what people were talking about when they referred to "Keynesian economics" or "Adam Smith's invisible hand".This book is exactly what it claims to be- a solid introduction to modern economic thought.It covers all the great economists, a brief summary of their life, and an explanation of what they added to economic theory.The author is clearly biased, but how could you not be clearly biased against Marx?His writing makes a somewhat tedious topic entertaining- I literally laughed out loud a number of times.I would highly recommend this book to anyone with the same goal as me- a quick catch-up on what's been going on in economics in the past few hundred years, to understand the topic a little better and have intelligent conversations about it.There are definitely no detailed descriptions of theories or in-depth personal analyses of the men themselves- it is a beginners book that makes the topic entertaining and gives you just enough information to understand what people are talking about when economics comes up, and maybe even contribute your own opinions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Intro to the History of Economic Thought for Beginners
Other texts are more technical and exhaustive, but this book is written for the layperson and is *almost* a primer for economics itself, seen through the passage of history.It begins with Smith, devotes chapters to Malthus, Ricardo, Marx, Veblen, Marshall, Mill, Keynes, Friedman, Public Choice, Rational Expectations, etc.The descriptions of how prices coordinate activity and of comparative and absolute advantage is about as good as any, and clear enough for anybody to understand.

This is a great book to use as a jumping off point for studying more of the economists, schools of thoughts, and concepts mentioned.A great companion book to Naked Economics, Basic Economics (Sowell), or Economics in One Lesson.

For a far more accurate (and far more in-depth and less beginner-friendly) treatment of Marx, see Sowell's book on Marxism, the chapter here repeats a few well-worn misconceptions about Marxian economics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant survey of the history of economics
I am constantly amazed how little economists know about the history of their profession. They have heard (at best) of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J.M Keynes. This survey will add to the reader's store of knowledge of an additional ten seminal thinkers.

4-0 out of 5 stars This book started off slow, but the end was great
1. There was a bit too much detail about the subjects' private lives-- however this information was somewhat useful in getting an idea of the context from which the ideas came. So.....Keynes (the aesthete) seemed to be some sort of reaction against the Victorian background from which he had come.

2. The Public Choice policy discussion was, by far, the best part of the book. The thoughts that were expressed in this chapter are ideas that I have encountered in many other contexts-- but these were a wonderful, concise exposition to the ideas and their founding fathers (Mancur Olson). There was also wonderful discussion of what they did explain and what they did not.

3. Monetary and Fiscal policy were also great. A lot of people know those words, but don't know the profound differences in the ideas that anchor these concepts ("fiscal stimulus"/"Monetary stimulus"). I counted in these people before reading this elucidating book but can at least talk conversationally about it.

4. Because this book deals with the basic schools of thought in different parts of Economics, it can give you specific places to start looking in the search for deeper information. It can also clarify the most fundamental differences between differing schools of thought.

5. On the down side, the book is not all that light to read. Most books this length I could take in about 2 afternoons of reading. But this one is of such a depth that I could read (and absorb) no more than one chapter per day.

6. There were also a few problems with the author's attempts at drollery. He could have left them out and the book would not have been diminished in any way.

Other than that, this is a great book and well worth the (new) purchase price. I have a feeling that it is something to which I'll return time and time again. ... Read more

6. Mathematics for Economists
by Carl P. Simon, Lawrence E. Blume
Hardcover: 960 Pages (1994-04-17)
-- used & new: US$69.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393957330
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Mathematics for Economists, a new text for advanced undergraduate andbeginning graduate students in economics, is a thoroughly moderntreatment of the mathematics that underlies economic theory.An abundance of applications to current economic analysis, illustrativediagrams, thought-provoking exercises, careful proofs, and a flexibleorganization-these are the advantages that Mathematics for Economistsbrings to today’s classroom. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for what it is.
Every undergraduate student that wants to earn a PhD in economics is usually told to take a set of math courses.These tend to include all the calculus courses, linear algebra, differential equations, real analysis, and mathematical statistics.If you've taken, or are taking all those courses, then this book will seem easy.However their are some things in this book that those courses do not teach.The material on optimization will probably be new to you, particularly the Kuhn Tucker theorem.The book is not too hard, nor is it too terse.I urge anyone who thinks that this book is terse and unmotivated to take a look at Walter Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis.That is a terse book, and even then it is very good.Those who complain that this book is too challenging are simply the mathematical have-nots of economics bitching because they don't like heavy math and don't like that modern economics is a field where you cannot do without it.

5-0 out of 5 stars for students of economics who also really like mathematics
This is a book for students of economics who also really like mathematics.

You may think that this book is similar to Chiang's book Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics, but you would be wrong to think so. The perspectives are different and therefore their "path of guidance" is also different: Chiang explains from the viewpoint of economics, Blume explains from the viewpoint of mathematics. In other words it uses the lens of mathematics to view the landscape of economics.

Therefore Blume's book is more "pure" mathematics than Chiang, i.e. you will learn more about mathematics in Blume's book than in the latter. Whether this is an important difference to you or not depends on how much you like mathematics as a subject and how much you wish to understand it. Don't get me wrong here, Blume's book is still applied mathematics - the mathematics is the means, not the ends. If you are an economist and have not realized it by now, in mathematical economics the methods are choosen to fit the theory, and the mathematics covered is at the discretion of what Economic Tradition holds as crucial for economists to know - it is a hotpot or mishmash of methods and not a true representation of what mathematics really is. So if your aim is to understand mathematics you should not use applied books at all, least of all economic ones, and instead use books such as Apostol's Calculus, Vol. 1: One-Variable Calculus with an Introduction to Linear Algebra (Second Edition) (Volume 1), Spivak's Calculus, 4th edition and similar.

Speaking as an Economics Masters student, either book will prepare you well for advanced studies. Speaking as a person who likes mathematics for its own sake, Blume's book is more rewarding to work with than Chiang. It also made me interested in learning unapplied mathematics as well, and after Blume I decided to study Apostol's books and similar...which leads me to think that maybe I should have majored in mathematics instead.

Anyway, the problem I have had with books like Chiang's is that they were not rigorous enough: if I am to understand and use a method I need to understand more of the details, otherwise I am not convinced of the validity and usefulness of what I am learning, and the picture feels incomplete. Blume's book gave me much of the details I needed - as far as understanding the mathematics behind core economic theory is concerned. It helped me understand mathematics and the structure of economic models better, something I often struggled with after working through less rigorous books.

Even-though the authors state in their preface that it is best if the prospective student already knows a little about calculus and matrix algebra before using the book: the first 9 chapters in the book - over 200 pages! -gives as good a coverage of these topics as any beginner's book that I have seen and worked with. So I would not be concerned if I had no prior knowledge of these topics.

In summary, before I found this book there was a big gap in my mind between the mathematical theory on the one hand and economic theory on the other. This relatively rigorous book helped narrow that gap, but it is by no means a definitive book, for me this book was just the starting point before moving into unapplied studies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simon and Blume's Math for Economists
Very good book for those interested in an introductory survey of mathematical methods in economics, practically self-contained.

4-0 out of 5 stars needs update
I have not read the whole text but would have the following suggestions to improve the use of this textbook
1. update the references to current research
2. have the applications as seperate books by speciality
eg. political science

3-0 out of 5 stars Good econ/math text
This is a good book for Economists that need a math review.However, I had a problem teaching myself from this one. ... Read more

7. Game Theory for Applied Economists
by Robert Gibbons
Paperback: 288 Pages (1992-07-13)
list price: US$49.50 -- used & new: US$43.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691003955
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This book introduces one of the most powerful tools of modern economics to a wide audience: those who will later construct or consume game-theoretic models. Robert Gibbons addresses scholars in applied fields within economics who want a serious and thorough discussion of game theory but who may have found other works overly abstract. Gibbons emphasizes the economic applications of the theory at least as much as the pure theory itself; formal arguments about abstract games play a minor role. The applications illustrate the process of model building--of translating an informal description of a multi-person decision situation into a formal game-theoretic problem to be analyzed. Also, the variety of applications shows that similar issues arise in different areas of economics, and that the same game-theoretic tools can be applied in each setting. In order to emphasize the broad potential scope of the theory, conventional applications from industrial organization have been largely replaced by applications from labor, macro, and other applied fields in economics. The book covers four classes of games, and four corresponding notions of equilibrium: static games of complete information and Nash equilibrium, dynamic games of complete information and subgame-perfect Nash equilibrium, static games of incomplete information and Bayesian Nash equilibrium, and dynamic games of incomplete information and perfect Bayesian equilibrium. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars sweet
This is a very short textbook suitable for the first course in Game Theory. All the fundamental games are clearly covered. Highly recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars one of good books to start game theory
I think it is a good book to know about game theory.

But for asians, some sentences are somewhat hard to understand clearly.

So my friends and I spent a little time to understand clearly.

However, it is a good book because it has plenty of examples.

Don't try to know all the examples. Picking some examples is a better way

for starters to understand and study game theory

1-0 out of 5 stars Review
I wouldn't know anything about this item because it never arrived (even after I paid expedited shipping.) Further, I wasn't able to obtain a refund. Thanks Amazon.

1-0 out of 5 stars Never Buy from This Seller
It is pretty simple. The item never arrived after a month and never had any contact from the seller despite attempts to make contact.I had to contact the Credit Card company to get my money back.Avoid at all costs.

3-0 out of 5 stars A concise primer for undergrads
This is a nice book on game theory if you're not very mathematically inclined. It was recommended as a supplementary text for a graduate-level course that I took, and I enjoyed it as such. But for a more thorough introductory text for undergrads, I strongly recommend Osborne's An Introduction to Game Theory. This one is preferable only if you're allergic to rudimentary set theory. ... Read more

8. Numbers Guide: The Essentials of Business Numeracy, Fifth Edition (The Economist Series)
by Richard Stutely
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2003-04)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$11.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1576601447
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The essentials of business numeracy

The Numbers Guide, now in its fifth edition, is aimed at managers who have budgetary, planning or forecasting responsibilities and is invaluable for everyone who wants to be competent, and able to communicate effectively, with numbers.

There are chapters on Key Concepts, Finance and investment, Measures for interpretation and analysis, Forecasting techniques, Sampling and hypothesis testing Incorporating judgments into decisions, Decision-making, Linear programming and networking.

The guide also points out common pitfalls, such as:
On rounding: Two times two makes four? Right? Wrong. The answer could be anywhere between two and six when dealing with rounded numbers.
On percentages: If the inflation rate rises from 10% to 12% it has risen by two percentage points, but the actual percentage increase is 20%. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

I've been looking for an easy to read, understand and all rounder book in business math and finally i found it. Number Guide is, in most part what I've been looking for. I've been looking for a quick reference that would help me in recalling many math basics especially statistics basics and to be honest was a little lazy in going through a complete course again, however, this book did a great job and served as a compromise for me. I enjoy reading this book everywhere and whenever I have time. Even reading it early morning in the rest room before going to work. This book is an excellent starting point for a more comprehensive, easy to understand number guide detailed book which I hope the author think of writing it as I assure him it would be a best seller and a must have reference for both students and practitioners.

Thanks economist for the excellent serious of books that I became one of its fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars OK, who ordered the numbers?
Appreciative readers (they tend to be long-term readers as well) of the ECONOMIST sometimes wonder why misspellings and non sequiturs are virtually absent from that superb weekly magazine.

The answer?: an obsessive dedication to editorial rigor, nowhere better exemplified than in this 'style guide' for the numbers set. It doubles as a methodological guide, for it sets out near canonical equations and means for solving economic problems.

Nine chapters cover:

Key concepts
Finance and investment
Descriptive measures for interpretation and analysis
Tables and charts
Forecasting techniques
Sampling and hypothesis testing
Incorporating judgments into decisions
Decision-making in action
Linear programming and networking

This guide should be required reading for everyone who manages from a numbers-intensive platform.

4-0 out of 5 stars From Great to Good
I have read cover-to-cover a previous edition of this book (when it was published by Wiley in 1998) and recently had an opportunity to carefully peruse this current edition (5th ed. by Bloomberg Press???). What I found is that this is a strange case of how a great book (the 1998 edition) turned into merely a good book (this 5th edition). Because of this regression toward the average, I deducted one star from my review (but still feel that it is good enough for 4 stars).

As you may have noticed, I really loved the older edition of The Economist Numbers Guide that I thankfully own. It is a great overview and introduction of mathematics as it relates to business. There are a lot of great things about that edition of this book. One of the things I admired about it was the range of topics covered, from interest rates and basic probability/statistics all the way up to Markov Chains, linear programming, and marginal analysis. It is hard to find the breadth of topics covered in that book elsewhere - whether all in one book or in any combination of books.

So I found it perplexing that this 5th edition dedacted some materials and topics covered in older editions. Gone are the interesting discussion of descriptive statistics for sets of data that do not easily conform to any of the standard probability distributions (e.g., where median is the best measure of the 'average' and substitutes must be used for the more common parameters such as standard deviation). I have a hard time finding anything coherent much less accessible on those topics elsewhere so it is a shame that they were left off of the 5th edition.

The only new material (not previously present) is a short blurb on public-key cryptography. While that topic is interesting to me and the limited discussion was illuminating and mathematically sound, it seemed a rather quixotic choice to put in when some interesting materials in previous editions were left off and new material that would have been more useful to the targeted audience have yet to be added.

What I mean by useful material that have yet to be added is that both the 1998 edition and this edition don't have some materials that I would think naturally ought to be added. E.g., the section on finance & investment mathematics is mostly devoted to various discussions on interest rate/time value of money & basic probability. I think adding material on CAPM (although CAPM Beta is defined in the book's very helpful glossary section), option/derivative pricing, financial portfolio optimization, and other topics in financial mathematics/engineering would make a great and natural addition to this book.

Some problems common to both the prior and current edition of this book are the occassional (relatively rare) typos. They are usually minor (although they are most annoyingly frequent in the section on time value of money / interest rates).

Another flaw in both the older and newer editions is that there are gaps in the expository material that don't make much sense. To be fair, this book is designed to be a brief intro/overview into a wide swathe of topics so it wouldn't be reasonable to expect that the author go into great detail on every topic. However, there are instances - e.g., the example on mixed strategies in game theory - where one or two additional sentences would help novices to understand (e.g., how did you get the the mixed strategy probabilities? author should have added a couple of more lines about how the system of equations are interrelated with one another when determining mixed strategies).

Having said all of that, let me reiterate that BOTH the old and the new edition of The Economist Numbers Guide is a wonderful resource for people interested in business mathematics. The sections on decision-making and forecasting are especially of value since they are so wonderfully explained here and a comparable set of explanations are hard to find elsewhere.

In future editions, I just hope that the author heeds my advice about bringing back some topics in older editions, correcting a few errors & lapses, and adding some material that would fit in with what has otherwise been an excellent series of books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent index of business math
This book provides concise and clear definitions of business analytics with practical applications.Excellent for the neophyte in business math.Helpful index and glossary to get started.Good guide to use if learning stats or marketing research.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good start
For a novice in economics, not an easy field to be a novice in, this was a helpful book.It got me started, by which I mean I wasn't completely lost when I read it. ... Read more

9. The Economist Style Guide, Tenth Edition
by The Economist
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2010-05-03)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$14.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1846681758
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Style Guide

The first requirement of The Economist is that it should be readily understandable. Clear writing is the key to clear thinking. So think what you want to say, then say it as simply as possible.

Readers are primarily interested in what you are saying. The way you say it may encourage them either to read on or to give up. If you want them to read on, then:

  • Catch their attention  Do not spend sentences setting the scene or sketching in the background. Hold the reader by the way you unfold the tale and by fresh and unpretentious use of language.
  • Read through your writing several times Edit it ruthlessly. Cut out anything superfluous. Unadorned, unfancy prose is usually all you need.
  • Do not be stuffy Use the language of everyday speech, not that of spokesmen, lawyers or bureaucrats.
  • Do not be hectoring or arrogant Nobody needs to be described as silly: let your analysis prove that he is.
  • Do not be pleased with yourself Don’t boast of your own cleverness by telling readers that you correctly predicted something or that you have a scoop. You are more likely to bore or irritate than to impress them.
  • Do not be too chatty Surprise, surprise is more irritating than informative.
  • Do not be too didactic Avoid sentences that begin  Compare, Consider, Expect, Imagine , Remember or Take.
  • Do your best to be lucid Simple sentences help.

Amazon.com Review
Rare is the style guide that a person--even a wordperson--would want to read cover to cover. But The Economist StyleGuide, designed, as the book says, to promote good writing, is sowitty and rigorous as to be irresistible. The book consists of threeparts. The first is the Economist's style book, which acts as aposition paper of sorts in favor of clear, concise, correct usage. Thebig no-noes listed in the book's introduction are: "Do not bestuffy.... Do not be hectoring or arrogant.... Do not be too pleasedwith yourself.... Do not be too chatty....Do not be toodidactic.... [And] do not be sloppy." Before even getting to theletter B, we are reminded that aggravate "means makeworse, not irritate or annoy"; that an alibi"is the proven fact of being elsewhere, not a false explanation"; andthat anarchy "means the complete absence of law orgovernment. It may be harmonious or chaotic."

Part 2 of the book describes many of the spelling, grammar, and usagedifferences between British and American English. While manyBriticisms are familiar to most Americans and vice versa, there aresome words--such as homely, bomb, and table--thattake on quite different meanings altogether when they cross theAtlantic. And part 3 offers a handy reference to such information ascommon business abbreviations, accountancy ratios, the Beaufort Scale,commodity-trade classifications, currencies, laws, measures, andstock-market indices. The U.S. reader should be aware (but not scaredoff by the fact) that some of the style issues addressed arespecifically British. --Jane Steinberg ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Look this up in your Funk & Wagnalls
Eriudite, concise and finely-pointed.The Economist is economical with words-and rich in meaning.If you following their style guide you can improve your writing. Their relentless focus is on maintaing clarity-yet they provide for the extra dimensions of nuance and allusion.Because is why you do something.Since refers to the time passed between the deed and now.The difference between expecting and anticipating is action: if Jack and Jill anticipate their marriage, only Jill may be expecting.This guide puts forth the rules and conventions that create the style that makes the Economist so readable, and it can make your dispatches better read as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars So British
For anyone wanting to be informed, amused and refreshed about the right way to use English, the ninth edition of The Economist Style Guide is invaluable. I'd always thought that "immolate" meant burn but it means "sacrifice" so a photograph of a monk on fire would correctly be termed self immolation but the term would equally apply if the photograph was of a monk who had died from a self inflicted gunshot wound. This and dozens of other little gems throughout the book make it eminently readable and a useful guide for anyone who communicates in print ot text. In particular, the distinctions and subtleties between American and British usage is a reminder of the flexibility of this wonderful language.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for non-native speakers
Writing and speaking are the most difficult skills to learn if you're a non-native speaker. Even though most learners believe that speaking is more useful - and there is some vanity involved in it - it's actually writing that takes precedence in today's connected world. Most business communications today are done through email, and no one wants the recipient to have a laugh at their expense.

Grammar, punctuation and vocabulary are important, for sure, but once you have mastered those, why not spend a few more hours dedicated to polishing a bit your written English? With just 160 pages, you get tips that will make your writing look formal, but not stilted; correct, but not pretentious. You may even have a laugh or two with the entries.

5-0 out of 5 stars A world class standard
This is a good tool and further reference for anyone who is a multinational executive, it provides insights into local knowledge and local references. The book not intensive in grammar is relevant to the modern day communication in any international field.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Economist Style Guide: 9th Edition
I thought there were a few inconsistencies in the manual, but I still highly recommend this concise reference book to anyone who does any writing, editing, or translating into English. ... Read more

10. The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2010-01-05)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$2.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003NHR6VI
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Of the twenty most costly catastrophes since 1970, more than half have occurred since 2001. Is this an omen of what the 21st century will be? How might we behave in this new, uncertain and more dangerous environment? Will our actions be rational or irrational?

A select group of scholars, innovators, and Nobel Laureates was asked to address challenges to rational decision making both in our day-to-day life and in the face of catastrophic threats such as climate changes, natural disasters, technological hazards, and human malevolence. At the crossroads of decision sciences, behavioral and neuro-economics, psychology, management, insurance, and finance, their contributions aim to introduce readers to the latest thinking and discoveries.

The Irrational Economist challenges the conventional wisdom about how to make the right decisions in the new era we have entered. It reveals a profound revolution in thinking as understood by some of the greatest minds in our day, and underscores the growing role and impact of economists and other social scientists as they guide our most important personal and societal decisions.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Where is this book going ?
I actually read this book contrary to both the 5 stars and the 1 star previous comments.

First don't be fooled by the two names written on the book, this book is actually a collaborative effort by more than 20 peoples...and that's one of the 2 main problems I have with this book.

Each writer wrote one chapter on the book, and even though there was an obvious planning of all this, it doesn't avoid some duplication of information or a difference in quality between chapters.
I often thought that some studies/conclusions weren't detailled enough while others seemed to repeat previous chapters.
Finally, some of the authors also seem too proud of themselves, always saying "I did this","We did that","I published", etc... which is a very bad way to write, and quite annoying to read.

The second problem I have with this book is that after reading it, I have absolutely no idea what was the main point of it. If I had to explain the organisation I would say they are 3 parts in it :

- The first part is actually the best. It explains some findings in the fields of economics and neurology, trying to find (and sometimes explain) how people react when faced with choices to make. There are some interestings findings, but again the many authors and the organisation of the book makes this a bit too vague and confusing. I would have prefered if one or two authors explained theses studies in details, to get a better organized and richer book

- The second part is a political one, talking exclusively about terrorism (9/11), global warming, or the economic crisis of 2008.
It uses none of the conclusions of part one (which were often very specific/narrow in scope) and only speak about ways to manage theses crisis differently. Moreover, all theses chapters were US-centric exclusively and of little interest to non US people.
The worst example of this part is probably the chapter "are you a republican ?" where the author argues that environnemental issues used to be a non-partisan issue because Roosevelt and Nixon supported them. 100% US-centric, almost no relation to the irrationality of people when making decisions.

- Finally the third part is about scientists and how they could influence politics. This part is very vague, and seems like another way for the authors to speak about themselves which they seem to enjoy a lot.

All in all that's 3 independant parts, with only one midly interesting. This book was really disapointing specially when you see that what i called "the part one" could have been a great book by itself if the authors had worked a bit more on it and dumped "part two" and "part three".

4-0 out of 5 stars Ignore the One Star Review by the moron
At this time, there are only two reviews.The one star review is obviously by someone who has not only not read the book, he apparently hasn't looked at it.There is no one "elitist" with one "formula", the book consists of several articles on different aspects of rationality/irrationality in decision making by different authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Has a great checklist for decisions among other things
I must admit I have just skimmed this book in a bookstore. That said, I am compelled to 5 star this book as the only other review was 1 star. I am consistently taken aback by the review process on Amazon. 1 star?Nonsense! So many 5 star Amazon rated books didn't make me write one thing down to think further about and use after I read hundreds of pages. One star is entitled to the opinion and I do remember flinching at a couple of things I saw in The Irrational Economist. However, based on what I took from just a quick peruse, it is worth more than many books I have read cover to cover. This is mostly because I am very interested in making good decisions and perplexed about so many bad ones that I see. A pandemic if I ever saw one.

In just a brief skim of this book I took the time to write out a paraphrase of a decision checklist of sorts. Here is basically what I wrote for my personal notes: Make sure you are working on the right problem, using the right frame, trying the simple answers first, using the right language, and listening to all levels. Sounds simple, right? I have personally seen countless millions wasted inexplicably flying in the face of this simple checklist at various corporations. Don't even get me started on the government. Billions don't even begin to describe it.

In my opinion, regardless of anything else in the book this checklist framework is literally near priceless. And though most would claim this to be a common sense rehash, common sense is a huge oxymoron; something that the many know but few heed.

I will use this elegantly simple checklist framework for decision making and problem solving over and over to help ensure optimal focus. Also, I will try to remember to update this review when I have finished the book. While I surely didn't agree with some of what is in the book, the aforementioned premise is extremely valuable and often overlooked and worth the low price of admission in and of itself.

1-0 out of 5 stars Irrational is right!
Another elitist publishing a "formula" for decisions that are too complex for the people to make?!?Haven't we had enough of this garbage already? ... Read more

11. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.)
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
Paperback: 352 Pages (2009-09-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$5.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060731338
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?

What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?

How much do parents really matter?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

Amazon.com Review
Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet. --John Moe ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1810)

4-0 out of 5 stars good read, could be better
I found the book to be incredibly entertaining, in fact, I was so immersed in it that I almost missed an international flight. Some arguments were more convincing than others; I wish Levitt and Dubner were more humble in stating the conclusions, or at least surmising the possible existence of other explanations however unlikely they might seem.

Statisticians use a "so called" p-value -in layman's terms: "what is the probability that our conclusion is wrong?" I wish Levitt and Dubner gave at least an overview of this rudimentary concept instead of redundant reiterations of "numbers don't lie."

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring, pointless, impratical
I got this book hoping to learn things about economics that were interesting and helpful.Instead I got to learn about drug dealing and the KKK.Go read NAKED ECONOMY by Wheelan instead,MUCH better than this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
I recommend this book to every one interested in looking at apparently trivial topics from a different perspective using common sense and logic. The writers choose to challenge common assumptions and put them to the test. Great writing and very entertaining to read.

2-0 out of 5 stars F****onomics, Rated R for Language (F-word usage)
I read this book for a University class.The book is actually very well written and entertaining.However, it often quotes people using the F-word.The use of the F-word was very distasteful in my opinion.Many books quote sources word for word, especially in the social science filed.Most other books use the * symbol to bleep out expletives, but this book does not.

This book is very entertaining and sheds light on many subjects.I will let you read other reviews for the positive side of this book.

The book had no disclaimer of the foul language and I had no idea it was coming each time they used it.I would love to recommend this book to others, but I simply can't.

Now I know that some people that are reading this are probably going to think the F-word, so what.You probably listen to music and watch TV where it is used all day long.In fact you might even use it more frequently than the authors do in this book.If that is the case then this book will not bother you at all and I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read
Picked this up on referral from friends and was greatly interested after the first couple pages.I'm looking forward to picking up their second book next. ... Read more

12. The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed
by J.C. Bradbury
Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-02-26)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.77
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Asin: B001G8WNIM
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Freakonomics meets Moneyball in this provocative exposé of baseball’s most fiercely debated controversies and some of its oldest, most dearly held myths

Providing far more than a mere collection of numbers, economics professor and popular blogger J.C. Bradbury, shines the light of his economic thinking on baseball, exposing the power of tradeoffs, competition, and incentives. Utilizing his own “sabernomic” approach, Bradbury dissects baseball topics such as:
• Did steroids have nothing to do with the recent homerun records? Incredibly, Bradbury’s research reveals steroids probably had little impact.
• Which players are ridiculously overvalued? Bradbury lists all players by team with their revenue value to the team listed in dollars—including a dishonor role of those players with negative values—updated in paperback to include the 2007 season.
• Does it help to lobby for balls and strikes?

Statistics alone aren’t enough anymore. This is a refreshing, lucid, and powerful read for fans, fantasy buffs, and players—as well as coaches at all levels—who want to know what is really happening on the field. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Baseball Meet Statistics
The book The Baseball Economist by J.C. Bradbury takes America's pastime and mixes together with both economics and statistical analysis. Baseball, in general, is more of a statistical game than most other sports. This is not to say that the whole book is full of numbers. Bradbury asks many different questions through each chapter, as each could be completely separate from the others. He asks questions like why are there no left handed catchers to is pitching coach Leo Mazzone that good?

Each chapter makes the reader think of baseball very differently. Bradbury even tackles the tough spot of steroids and baseball and makes a very good argument on why we shouldn't care. His strongest argument is that many times players use other techniques that are artificial to increase their strength. One example is the Tommy John Surgery that pitchers go under when they get injured. These pitchers usually come back throwing even harder than they did before.

Another strong point in the book is Bradbury's analysis of what is the best statistic is telling how well a player will do. Baseball is both an individual sport and a team sport and it is very hard to isolate the two as each can influence each others stats. For example, pitchers could have low earned run averages because of good defensive players on his team. I have always wondered why people were more concerned with certain states over others.

The negatives of this book is that some of the stuff is dated. Bradbury is writing this book after it seemed 99 times out of 100 the rich team wins, while more recently it seems that this has changed some. The other negative is the book doesn't do much for people who are not deep into baseball. Personally, I love baseball and I would study it if I could. Many people who were looking for more broad strokes may not quite enjoy the book as others. Possible topics they could have been looking for would be like why are concessions so expensive or how much does home field advantage help?

Overall this is a great read for anyone who loves statistics or who loves baseball and economic.


3-0 out of 5 stars Insightfull, yet a bit of a slow read
The Baseball Economist was a interesting book that opened my eyes into some aspects of the game that I never thought extensively about.The first portion of the book, when Bradbury discusses popular assumptions and truths about the game and then uses statistics to either support or dispel those assumptions was the best part of the book.

From there the book remained in insightful in my opinion, but the flow really slowed down when he was discussing the complex nature of the statistical formulas.I understood the research and appreciated it, but that took away from the overall enjoyment of the book.Furthermore, the statistics seemed a bit arbitrary at times when the variables surrounding the left-handed catcher and the threat of the on deck hitter among others were discussed.

This book is good for the curious baseball who desires to glean a bit further into the statistical realm of major league baseball.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Baseball Economist
This is a fun, informative book.It is written in a breezy, informal tone.However, there is serious research underlying the informal presentation.Rabid baseball fans who know nothing about statistics would enjoy this book as much as a serious sabermatrician.

3-0 out of 5 stars Really Makes You Think...But Also Requires A Math/Economics Major To Truly Understand
After reading Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" and being fascinated (if not altogether convinced) by the concepts he discussed, I picked this book up to see how another mind would perhaps interpret the concept of sabermetrics differently.Through my experience reading it, there were some great moments, and some that I wished I would have skipped:

The Good:
-The first two sections of the book, dealing with such topics as the impact of the on-deck hitter, why no lefty catches exist, and why the Marlins and Indians are the best-run franchises in the major leagues.Author J.C. Bradbury uses a pretty hard-core mathematical model (regression analysis) to try and explain why certain phenomena in the game are true/false and what can be done to perhaps change misconceptions of those issues.Though I came up with a counterpoint to pretty much every mathematic analysis that Bradbury postulated, it was still very interesting to read his theories and immerse myself in a whole new way of thinking about the game of baseball.
-Also, I liked how Bradbury tried (at least as best he could) to provide an explanation of all the complication equations/experiments he was running.He knew that most fans wouldn't have a clue what he was talking about, so he gives a valiant effort in trying to make his concepts as simple as possible for the average fan to understand.

The Bad:
-Despite Bradbury's efforts to explain his theories in plain English, there just isn't anything plain about a regression equation that plots a multitude of data points.Though in an Appendix Bradbury thoroughly lays out his research methods, even the smartest of hard-core baseball fans will have a difficult time deciphering all he is doing without thorough research or a firm background (like a Bachelor's Degree) in mathematics.
-Finally, the last section of the book, dealing with the economics of baseball's market, is what really drags the text down.Though some of Bradbury's statistical/mathematic verbiage can be skimmed over and still kind of be understood by his summaries, the economic topics were very complicated and, to be honest, not all that interesting.I think that perhaps Bradbury would have been better suited to expanding (if possible) his section on parity, not writing for pages and pages about whether or not baseball is a true monopoly.

Thus, with all that said, I would recommend that baseball fans check this book out from your local library and read the first two parts, as you will be intrigued by Bradbury's studies.However, unless you are fascinated by and/or have a strong background in math and economics, the final two parts can be skipped altogether.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Baseball Economist
The most boring baseball book I've ever read.As hasrd as I tried, I could not get to the 3rd chapter, and retained nothing from the first two. ... Read more

13. A Guide for the Young Economist
by William Thomson
Paperback: 144 Pages (2001-01-22)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$20.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262700794
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This book is an invaluable guide for young economists working on their dissertations, preparing their first articles for submission to professional journals, getting ready for their first presentations at conferences and job seminars, or facing their first refereeing assignments. In clear, concise language--a model for what he advocates--William Thomson shows how to make written and oral presentations both inviting and efficient. Thomson covers the basics of clear exposition, including such nuts-and-bolts topics as titling papers, writing abstracts, presenting research results, and holding an audience's attention. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
For anyone bright enough to earn a PhD in economics this book will vastly under-deliver.The author should be embarrassed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential guide for economic writing.
Not only for the young economist, I would consider this is an essential guide for those preparing economic papers to submit to academic presses.Thomson's style is warm, clear and engaging, and his advice sound.Anyone who has ever gotten a headache working through the notation of a working economic theory paper will be tempted to buy the author a copy of this book.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Guide for the Young Economist
This excellent book contains many humorous annecdotes, which ease the reading of a semi-technical book.Any academic student looking to write a paper can read this and gain helpful tips to make their paper a sucess.Again, this section of the book is for anyone, and is understandable to the non-economist, although examples are sometimes economically related. The second part of the book focuses on giving talks, and how to get your messsage across in the best way possible.Again, this is for any one looking to enhance their abilities to give a talk in front of people.William gives advice as how to better your communication skills and how to talk to large audiences. The third part of his book, writing referee reports, is more catered to the economist, or the types of people who need to write referee reports.Aagin, he gives helpful tips in a humorous fasion, making it an enjoyable read.If you are looking to enhance your abilities to write papers,(any high school, college, or graduate student), give talk, or write referee reports, this is an excellent source to turn to. ... Read more

14. Guide to Analysing Companies (The Economist)
by Bob Vause
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2009-09-09)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$16.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1576603415
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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How do you tell how well-run a company is and how well it is doing?

  • Which ratios and benchmarks should you use to assess performance?
  • What can be done to massage company results?
  • How do you recognize danger signs on the corporate horizon?
  • How do you compare companies operating in different sectors or even different countries? 

 All these important questions as well as many more are answered in the completely updated and revised fifth edition of this clear and comprehensive guide aimed at anyone who wants to:

  • make sense and practical use of a company’s annual report
  • measure a business against its competitors
  • judge the creditworthiness of a customer or client
  • assess the investment potential of a company
  • put a value on a company.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

2-0 out of 5 stars Too many questions unanswered
'Guide to Analysing Companies' is not a useful book, and I can't see what author Bob Vause sets out to do. Simply proposing to "analyse" a company is vague. Analysis for what purpose? To understand auditors? Is this book for unversed board members? Fraud examiners? It's hard to think of anyone who would really benefit from reading this.

The first three sections appropriately tackle essential corporate data, but Vause's explanations are downright lousy. I kept thinking of 'Principles of Finance with Excel,' by Simon Benninga, which is so much more refreshing in its explanations. Benninga is a far better communicator and has a knack for useful, memorable anecdotes.

What really drove me bananas was how Vause always stopped short of showing how to actually use the metrics he explains. I agree that analyzing companies is an art, but it's not very satisfying to see a cursory introduction to a metric, the words "[x] ratio can be an indicator of [y]," and little else. This guide screams for case studies and examples. Do yourself a favor and just get a proper textbook instead or borrow a copy of The Intelligent Investor and read the chapters that compare companies.

4-0 out of 5 stars A ton of good info,.... but
There is a ton of fantastic information for researching investment opportunities in GUIDE TO ANALYZING COMPANIES by Bob Vause. The work is presented in 3 parts, Basics, Assessing the Facts, and Benchmarks. In Part 1 the chapters include annual reports, balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements. In this section, the author demonstrates his vast knowledge of the history of accounting regulations and how and why they were implimented. In fact, in my opinion, too much time is spent on the why and not enough on the how.

Part 2 is the meat of the book and gets into measuring profitability and efficiency, working capital and liquidity, capital and valuation and finally strategy, success and failure. This is where you'll find useful information, but getting through it is a chore.

Part 3 is nothing more than an appendix and I'm not sure why the editor assigned it as part 3.

I learned from this book, but the presentation is dreadful. I have read electronics instruction manuals with more to capture and hold the reader's interest. In the end, the main thing I took away is this: no matter how diligent you are with your research, bean counters will always find a way to twist the numbers so that your research is mostly for naught.

5-0 out of 5 stars Analyze This!
Bob Vause compiles a handy guide for even the layman to comprehend, in navigating through the frequently muddled world of investing. Choosing the right companies to trust with our investment dollars is a daunting enough task under "normal" market conditions; under the current recessionary climate, it's an absolute necessity to weed out the prenteders from the contenders.

Even then, there are no guarantees; the irrational behavior of investors continues to confuse even the most astute market experts.The past year has befuddled the entire world economic community, as trillions upon trillions of our hard earned dollars has evaporated into thin air.

Perhaps this book will help; it was published over four years ago, when the stock & housing markets were booming.The recent financial meltdown has been rehashed in many books with 20-20 vision; it appears "greed & hubris" have been the biggest culprits, and the vast majority of naive investors were completely fooled by it all.

What makes this book so valuable is its wise advice in spotting the danger signs of pending corporate doom or malfeasence.Investor beware, indeed.Be very careful; it's dangerous out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Analysis of Companies
So not the typical text book for a class so I am very satisfied. To be perfectly honet I had forgot I ordered the book it came so fast so I was totally satisfied.

3-0 out of 5 stars it's really a book for beginner
Hm...I've had only 2 courses in Finance during my study so I thought I'm a beginner enough for this book but apparently I was wrong...I think you should only purchase this book if you have absolutely no idea about finance ... Read more

15. The Economist Book of Obituaries
by Keith Colquhoun, Ann Wroe
Hardcover: 409 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$13.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1576603261
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This collection of obituaries tells the life stories of two hundred of the world's most captivating people as judged by writers Ann Wroe and Keith Colquhoun and as published in The Economist from 1994 to 2008.

Each stylishly written story and accompanying photograph surprises, entertains, and stimulates. The titled, wealthy, and powerful are here, of course, including Diana, Princess of Wales, Gerald Ford, Bob Hope, John Paul II, Norman Mailer, Mstislav Rostropovich, and General William Westmoreland, but so are others: a cookery teacher and spy, the inventor of instant noodles, a self-proclaimed gypsy king, a musical psychic, an American gangster, a patriotic crook, a philosopher of consumerism, a master of tabloid journalism, a protector of minorities, a veteran of Gallipoli, the greatest of second bananas, and so on.

This book is as entertaining as it is edifying; it's a great gift for biography, history, and popular-culture fans, as well as for everyone who turns first to the obituary pages in the daily newspaper. As Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) put it: "I never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Who Knew Death Could Be Such Fun
As a professional obituarist, albeit on a very small scale, this book gives me two goals: to write as well as Kenneth Colquhoun and Ann Wroe and to deserve an obituary in The Economist. The bar for the second is lower. While writers such as Colquhoun and Wroe are rare, if less so in the U.K., one need only be a deposed royal, a defunct dictator, a poet of dubious talent, the last survivor of a largely-forgotten battle or a clever parrot to deserve a page in the back matter of "the paper" as it is called.
The obituaries are more often than not more entertaining and useful than their subjects. The seriously bad are called by their true names without waffling or bile; the virtuous are given their due without fawning. The accompanying photos are as revealing as the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Far too much fun

No fun is more welcome than unlikely fun.

I never thought "The Economist" and "obituaries" would find themselves in the same sentence. But English newspapers are uncommonly imaginative. And so, after 150 years without an obituary page, the editors of The Economist decided to lunch one.

"The Economist Book of Obituaries"is a collection of 200 obituaries that the paper published between 1995 and 2008. The length is fixed --- about 1,000 words. There is no template for the subjects.

Oh, there are the obligatory world leaders and corporate kings. And a British book of obits that did not include Princess Diana would raise the eyebrows of the dead. No matter. The telling detail and the previously unseen anecdote make this a seriously delightful book.

Did you know --- this is from an obit of Digby Baltzell, the scholar who coined the word WASP --- that Al Capone's son went to Yale and married a "well-connected" woman?

Did you know that Dr. Christian Barnard, who performed the first transplant of a human heart, believed that sex-with-romance was "the most beautiful, healthiest and most pleasurable way" to keep fit?

Did you know that Freddy Heineken wanted to put his beer in square bottles so the empties could be used as bricks in Third World countries?

And so many more. A musical psychic. A talking bird. The world's oldest person. (The obit begins: "For l00 years nothing much happened to Jeanne Calment.") A French ski champion, dead at 31. The king of the gypsies. The editor of the Weekly World News, who used "Bolivia" as a deadline when a story was an especially wild fabrication. A man who learned to read at age 98. Pamela Harriman, "expert between the sheets". The forger of the "Hitler diaries". Mao's mouthpiece. An English gardener.

It's a richly rewarding book, deserving of a place of honor on a coffee table. An ideal hostess gift. Useful on the bedside table, where it invites you to read one death a night, comforted by the expectation that you'll be back for the another the next night. And just delightful to read, because, as you'd expect from The Economist, these obits are so well written. Like this, on Marcel Marceau, the mime:

"He [Bip] never spoke. Mr Marceau's father died in 1944 in Auschwitz, and Bip's silence was a tribute to all those who had been silenced in the camps. It was a recollection, too, of the necessary muteness of resistance fighters caught by the Nazis, or quietly leading children across the Swiss border to safety, as Mr Marceau had done. In one of his acts, "Bip Remembers", the sad-faced clown relived in mime the horrors of the war and stressed the necessity of love. In another, his hands became good and evil: evil clenched and jerky, good flowing and emollient, with good just winning."

4-0 out of 5 stars Facinating and well-written
This book includes both the well-known (Allen Ginsberg) and the lesser known (at least in the US) but significant (Maurice Couve de Murville). All the obituaries are facinating, and tell the reader things she might not have known already about the well-known (Ginsberg managed to offend John Lennon) and why the less-known should be known (Couve, the foreign minister of French President from 1959-69, Charles de Gaulle, is largely credited with policies that still affect France's place in world politics.) It's not the most aesthetically attractive volume (black and white pictures; the type is smallish) but reading about the lives they lived is worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
Despite the gloomy title and topic, this compilation is a fascinating collection of, essentially, mini-biographies featured within the Economist during the past decade.The Economist has raised the act of obituary writing to an art form, avoiding the chronological approach to discussing the importance of a person's life, but, rather, focusing on the pure essence of what made an individual's life significant and noteworthy.The profiles collected within are not necessarily those of well-known world leaders.They are, however, profiles of people who made an impact upon the world around them, be that world defined geographically or within a vocational sector.Many may be names one has never heard of.But in reading these short biographies, the reader can't help but feel inspired.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pompous and inaccurate
Written in the smug, strident style of the magazine, the obits are poorly researched and inaccurate.For example, in the review of Allen Ginsberg, you'll be surprised to learn that the Beats started Flower Power - and I always thought it was the hippies.In another review, we learn that The Big Bopper and Richie Valens were Buddy Holly's band members and that they perished along with him.That will be news to The Crickets who still perform,

The same with Hunter S Thompson - no mention of The Hells Angels novel that propelled him to fame - just a collection of cliches about gonzo journalism.This makes me wonder about the veracity of the magazine as well as the rest of the obits.

In balance, if you want pompous. ill-researched prose then this is the book for you. ... Read more

16. Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)
by Marion Fourcade
Paperback: 384 Pages (2010-08-22)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$19.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691148031
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Economists and Societies is the first book to systematically compare the profession of economics in the United States, Britain, and France, and to explain why economics, far from being a uniform science, differs in important ways among these three countries. Drawing on in-depth interviews with economists, institutional analysis, and a wealth of scholarly evidence, Marion Fourcade traces the history of economics in each country from the late nineteenth century to the present, demonstrating how each political, cultural, and institutional context gave rise to a distinct professional and disciplinary configuration. She argues that because the substance of political life varied from country to country, people's experience and understanding of the economy, and their political and intellectual battles over it, crystallized in different ways--through scientific and mercantile professionalism in the United States, public-minded elitism in Britain, and statist divisions in France. Fourcade moves past old debates about the relationship between culture and institutions in the production of expert knowledge to show that scientific and practical claims over the economy in these three societies arose from different elites with different intellectual orientations, institutional entanglements, and social purposes.

Much more than a history of the economics profession, Economists and Societies is a revealing exploration of American, French, and British society and culture as seen through the lens of their respective economic institutions and the distinctive character of their economic experts.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Heirs to Gérard Debreu and Maurice Allais
Why do French economists fare so well in the U.S.? The first French-born economist to get a Nobel prize, Gérard Debreu, has spent his whole teaching career at Berkeley. The John Bates Clark medal, which is awarded every two years to an American economist under the age of forty, went last year to a French national, Emmanuel Saez, who also teaches at Berkeley. The current chief economist of the IMF in Washington, as well as the former chief economist at the World Bank, both speak English with a French accent. According to a survey based on the number of citations in the 1990-2000 period, there were 41 French economists who ranked among the top 1000 worldwide, among whom 16 were living and working in the United States.

One clue to this conundrum is given by Kenneth Arrow who, upon meeting a French economist, asked him casually whether he was a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique (also known as "X") or of the École Normale Supérieure (located at the rue d'Ulm in Paris, hence "Ulm"). "He could not understand that in France, it was possible to do modern economics without being X or Normalien", bemoaned the hapless French university professor, who was neither.

Kenneth Arrow had every reason to believe so. Gérard Debreu, with whom he shared his Nobel prize, had been trained at the rue d'Ulm in the axiomatic method of the mathematical collective that called itself "Nicolas Bourbaki". He saw economics as a pure deductive science that should embrace Bourbakist principles of absolute mathematical rigor, simplicity, and generality. According to one U.S. informer, this "French-style axiomatization" is completely at odds with the "American" way of doing economics. "Rationalism is an episode that has infected the field but will go away. American economics will go back to pragmatism", she comments.

Maurice Allais, the other French economist who received a Nobel prize and whose teaching Debreu absorbed, came from a slightly distinct tradition: that of the engineering-trained high civil servants hailing from the Ecole Polytechnique and pursuing an administrative career as members of the "grands corps de l'Etat". Known as engineer-economists or econometricians, their training was highly elitist. To quote Maurice Allais, who taught members of the Corps des Mines: "The recruitment of econometricians requires minds of the highest caliber... Trying to teach the use of mathematics to students who do not have the ability to master it, as is currently done in some economic training institutions, is a complete waste of time and a probably quite dangerous thing to do."

Nor were they supposed to work full-time on academic research. Maurice Allais completed his first major manuscript during his spare time while working as a mining administrator official, although he soon obtained a permanent research position at the Centre National d'Etudes Scientifiques (CNRS). Throughout his career, he worked extensively on operational problems, such as peak-load pricing and the computation of marginal costs in transportation. Edmond Malinvaud, another econometrician administrator who was once rumored a serious contender to the Nobel prize, used to say that he worked on research from five to seven in the morning and during weekends, and that research is not a profession.

Some of these promising young minds had a rebellious intellect, They were not satisfied with the state of the discipline and wanted to give economics a new twist, either in the directionof a new general theory based on axiomatic principles, or toward a unified social science that would bring down boundaries between economics and related disciplines. In the 1970s, these heterodox tendencies gave way to two approaches: the disequilibrium theory, which proposed a new synthesis between Keynesianism and neoclassical microeconomics based on fixed-price general equilibrium analysis; and the regulation school, which combined the dogmatic Marxism of Louis Althusser and the descriptive structural analysis cultivated at the economic planning agency. Needless to say, both the disequilibrium approach and the regulation school were dominated by alumni from X and Ulm.

The intellectual trajectories of Polytechniciens and Normaliens form only a subchapter of Marion Fourcade's book. Economists and Societies covers much more material, both sociologically--most French economists indeed don't have a background in these two Grandes Ecoles-- and historically as well as geographically--the book spans the evolution of the profession from the 1880s to the 1990s, and French economists are compared to their peers in Britain and in the U.S. Although it is intended primarily for sociologists and political scientists, graduate students in economics would be well advised to read the description of their profession's evolution before deciding between a PhD program in the United States or in their home country. They will learn how national traditions as well as transnational trends shape the state of the discipline, and they will understand better how to distinguish a French economist from an American or a British one--whether he hails from Ulm, X, or another training institution. ... Read more

17. Pocket World in Figures: 2010 Edition
by The Economist
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010)

Isbn: 1846683580
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get Lost In It!
I recently renewed my subscription to "The Economist".As a reward, I was sent a copy of the "Pocket World in Figures".And what a thoroughly intriguing little book it is!

In essence, the "Pocket World" is a grab bag of facts that a reader can be lost in for hours.It's probably not quite a genuine reference book but it's certainly more interesting.The grab bag covers the natural world, populations and facts about them, cities, world economies, aid, life expectancies, transport, the Olympics and still the list goes on.The Japanese continue to be the world's longest livers while Zimbabwe now has the horror title of the country with the shortest life expectancy.And some people still stand by and try to justify Mugabe.Go figure!

Venezuela tops the beer drinking list per capita!Now there's something to aim at Germany.Greece has the most smokers and the US the most prisoners.Cairo is the world's most air polluted city and Paraguay is the biggest comparative producer of clean energy.Timor-Leste (East Timor) spends more as a percentage of GDP on health than the USA.Wasn't expecting that one.The Lebanese and the Qataris are more obese than the Americans.Didn't see that coming either.Turkmenistan has the lowest population per doctor ratio.Where?

This book is a wonderful revelation.Go get one.
... Read more

18. Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist
by Tyler Cowen
Paperback: 256 Pages (2008-05-27)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001OMHUVU
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Freakonomics revealed much about our society. Now, one of America’s most respected economists reveals how individuals can turn economic reasoning to their advantage in their daily life—at home, at work, even on vacation. Tyler Cowen explains how understanding the incentives that work best with each individual is the key to successful and satisfactory daily interactions—from getting the kids to do the dishes to having a productive business meeting, attracting a mate to finding a good guide in a foreign country. Discovering your inner economist, Cowen suggests, can lead to a happier, more satisfying life. What better carrot could you ask for? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

1-0 out of 5 stars You won't find your inner economist in this book
I've never written a review here before, but I was moved by just how bad this book was to write one now.

While 'Discover Your Inner Economist' does contain some interesting material, it doesn't come close to delivering on its promises.

This book has a number of serious flaws--not in the writing style, which was good.The biggest is that it is NOT about your Inner Economist.It just isn't.Several times, I thought the author was finally heading in that direction and then he didn't.Mostly the book seems to be an in cohesive collection of his opinions on diverse topics, like eating out and why you shouldn't bribe your kids to do household chores.

Also, he needs an editor, badly. The chapters wander off topic.One discussion ends and another begins with little transition or apparent reason.If you pulled almost any chapter out of this book, gave it to a friend to read and asked what the overall book might be about, there would be a different set of answers for each chapter.And, none of those would involve an Inner Economist.

There are two specific things that really bother me about the book.In one chapter he talks about signaling and how a great deal of our time and effort is spent signaling our status to others. Later in the book, I really started to wonder if he wrote the book to signal to me (the reader): He writes that he has been to over 100 countries; he eats in the most expensive/fanciest restaurants, etc.

The second is this. The author included a section on books and authors, carefully explaining why not all books are written for the benefit of the reader.He cited cookbooks written by famous chefs, as an example. After reading the book, I concluded that this is exactly the same situation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Needed a better editor
I appreciate the points Cowen tries to make, but as at least one other reviewer said, he rambles. If the book were two thirds its present length, it would be much better. The chapters are all potentially interesting (my favorite is "The Dangerous and Necessary Art of Self Deception"), and he makes some excellent points. His thoughts about signaling are fascinating. And brainstorming sessions ARE a counterproductive way of spending time. But other points are not as strong. His list of the best types of ethnic restaurants in foreign countries (Mexico: Argentinian steakhouses (?)) is ridiculously limited. And his opinion only.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not great but had its moments
This isn't the best book on economics available, but it's not bad.Want to bankrupt your least favorite non-profit? Cowen tells you how. Worth reading if you have some free time.

1-0 out of 5 stars Incentivize This!
Mr. Cowen gives great advice, then fails to follow it himself. The book rambles on and off topic so often that I was continually turning back to re-read his thesis. I could see his theories in his writing, but it was like wading through a swamp in high heels to find them. I do not see how anyone would be incentivized to read this book past chapter one.

1-0 out of 5 stars Do not read this book. You will regret wasting your precious time.
I dont have time to write a detailed review so I will just warn you DO NOT BUY. Terrible book, the author has nothing valuable to share. ... Read more

19. The Making of an Economist, Redux
by David Colander
Paperback: 280 Pages (2008-11-17)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$14.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691138516
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Economists seem to be everywhere in the media these days. But what exactly do today's economists do? What and how are they taught? Updating David Colander and Arjo Klamer's classic The Making of an Economist, this book shows what is happening in elite U.S. economics Ph.D. programs. By examining these programs, Colander gives a view of cutting-edge economics--and a glimpse at its likely future. And by comparing economics education today to the findings of the original book, the new book shows how much--and in what ways--the field has changed over the past two decades. The original book led to a reexamination of graduate education by the profession, and has been essential reading for prospective graduate students. Like its predecessor, The Making of an Economist, Redux is likely to provoke discussion within economics and beyond.

The book includes new interviews with students at Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Chicago, and Columbia. In these conversations, the students--the next generation of elite economists--colorfully and frankly describe what they think of their field and what graduate economics education is really like. The book concludes with reflections by Colander, Klamer, and Robert Solow.

This inside look at the making of economists will interest anyone who wants to better understand the economics profession. An indispensible tool for anyone thinking about graduate education in economics, this edition is complete with colorful interviews and predictions about the future of cutting-edge economics.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Read This Book Before You Do Your Econ Ph.D.
Roughly half the material here is available in related journal articles, but the transcripts of interviews with students aren't. That makes this book invaluable for prospective graduate students in economics who want to get a clearer picture of what they're getting into.

5-0 out of 5 stars An overview of elite graduate training in economics
The Making of an Economist, Redux, provides an update to the surveys of Colander and Kramer's initial The Making of an Economist.It critiques the Phd programs at Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Chicago, Yale, Princeton and Columbia - schools widely considered the elite in Economics training.

The book serves multiple target audiences.Like volume 1, it can quickly turn into required reading.Another (perhaps less receptive?) audience is the providers of graduate economics education.The third audience (including the author) are lay readers interested in economics the field, and what goes into producing economists.

The books succeeds in providing a qualitative analysis of the macro trends of graduate education, and provides alternative views for the dysfunctions in the process.(Very few students or educators seem to agree that what's taught is right.Then again, this critical thinking could be a sign that the process is working.The mediocre always seem to have the most school spirit.)

This shouldn't be mandatory reading for anyone outside the graduation education process in economics, but it does provide insight into what creates a professional economist. ... Read more

20. Guide to Investment Strategy: How to Understand Markets, Risk, Rewards and Behaviour (The Economist)
by Peter Stanyer
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-01-06)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$16.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1576603423
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The first edition of The Economist Guide to Investment Strategy explained the fundamentals of investment risk, how to put together "keep-it-simple" investment strategies, and the need to guard against our own behavior leading to dreadful investment mistakes. The global crisis that erupted in 2008 exposed the flaws in many more complicated investment strategies.

The second edition starts with a new section on financial fraud and how investors can help to protect themselves against this "hearty perennial."  It also includes a new section on risk profiling and discusses the role of risk tolerance questionnaires. In Chapter 3 data are provided pointing to underperformance of equities between 1978 and 2008. Against this background, there is a new Chapter 4—"Which should we do: buy-and-hold or time markets?" Chapter 5, which discusses the design of short-term and long-term strategies, includes a new section—"How safe is cash?"—and the discussion of bond ladders is extended to reflect issues of bond selection in the light of corporate credit risk and the financial difficulties of some US municipal authorities.

Part 2 has been updated extensively to reflect developments in the past four years and the impact of the financial crisis on credit instruments, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate.

The book concludes with a new chapter on investing in art and collectibles. It explores the argument that art prices "float aimlessly," discusses financial investment in art, and provides some reasons for expecting that a portfolio of art might perform well in the future. ... Read more

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