To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we do not use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
If you're not an economist, then this book has plenty of examples of how economic thinking contradicts conventional wisdom. Landsburg has plenty of stories showing that all alternatives to free markets are inferior. I found his example that cars can be made in Michigan or grown in Idaho very clear and well described, and useful in these protectionist times. However, he comes across as an economic absolutist. Little mention of the limits of free markets or immeasurable externalities. If you know anything about economics, then you might be bored reading this book.
(To grow a car: plant corn, harvest corn, put corn on ship, send ship across the pacific, ship returns full of Toyotas. Farmers and welders are competing directly in the labour market. Ditto in Japan).
A great book and primer for those interested in getting into learning about economics, very accesable and engagingly written. However, I feel that this book has been written countless times with few differences. Of the ones I've read, this is one of the best (Free Lunch is also great).
I didn't buy this book based on a review I had read or heard but as a prescribed reading for my graduate class in economics. I expected this book to be boring and drab like most, but I was pleasantly surprised. What I find most captivating about this book is the fact that the writer uses everyday experiences and our individual preferences to shed light on basic economic principles that would otherwise have been difficult to comprehend. From the first to the last page this book is filled with thought provoking and nagging questions that I have never dared to ask myself.It isn't straightforward read but intricate in a way that it tasks your mind. The Writer does not push his opinions on the reader but leaves you with a set of possibilities and solutions to choose from by analyzing every subject. For example in Chapter 11, he looks at the subject of deficits. I have never stopped to think twice about making a payment at the store, if I have money in my account or on my credit card I would just use any of the two methods without as much as caring about the costs I would incur by choosing either option. Landsburg has one powerful weapon-analysis, and he utilizes it in a way that is non threatening but very helpful to his readers. After reading this book, not only do I understand certain topics better but I also know that every choice I make comes with a cost and benefit . At the end of the day I wouldn't want to lose more than I gained. I will definitely read this book again after my class is over, its like a book of life in economics
I decided to read this after reading Landsburg's MOre Sex is Safer Sex. Like that book the Armchair Economist was a very interesting read. This book goes into more traditional economics than More Sex is Safer Sex but it was still interesting. It was written in the mid 1990s so seeing how things have evolved in our economy and the world was interesting backdrop. Unfortunately the book ended on a slightly sour note for me. Landsburg shared a letter he wrote to his daughter's kindergarten teacher about how she and the school pushed environmentalism and recycling on the kids. I can understand his viewpoint but in my mind the letter came across harsh and bitter. The book would not have lost anything had the letter not been there so I'm quite surprised the editor allowed it. That aside, I still highly recommend the book. He does a great job explaining economic viewpoints without numbers, charts and graphs.
I nearly returned the book the very moment I received it after purchase and flipping through the pages. I thought I had the wrong book because it was part of the set of textbooks my Professor in Economics in Agribusiness recommended and as an economic textbook, the first thing I expected to see was the usual demand and supply curves and equations and because they were conspicuously missing I thought I had the wrong book. Indeed it was worth recommending and reading. This is a book that took Economics to the next level; making effort to present Economic theories to the non-economists. It touches on real life issues and written in plain and clear English without any economic jargon which may be difficult to read and understand by non-economists. The writer made great efforts to argue and dispute several misconceptions in life by applying the realities and economic principles. Some of arguments and concerns on some issues were quite controversial and appear to be based on value judgements. As a result, one may not fully agree with them based on one's values; but in general, it was an interesting reading. I took special interest on the Environmentalist discussion on chapter 24. In as much as it sounded quite controversial to read because of strong advocacy for environment and conservationism (which I am a member), I saw the argument to be a great and interesting one. Indeed "if environmentalists were as passionate as they claim to be about conserving resources for future generations, I would expect more of them to oppose the taxation of capital income, the social security system and other policies that encourage consumption in the present". I found this interesting because truly, sometimes some advocacy concepts only take a parochial and narrow view on issues and that in total effect end up not education the masses well. This not withstanding, there were other sections where issues were disputed but the author did not do much job to let the alternatives be very clear enough. An example is 'why popcorn cost more at the movies' on chapter 16. In this section, the author could not make it clear to my understanding what alternative approach could maximize profit for both popcorn and movie ticket sales. In general however, this is a great book to read.
Landsburg is very thought provoking in his approach to explaining the intricacies of everyday economics. He uses such examples as the drug war, movie theater popcorn, and recycling to articulate his thoughts on individual choices as well as societal choices as a whole.
His occasional use of sarcasm and puns keep the book interesting, whereas some similar books lack this attribute. I found myself chuckling at plenty of junctures throughout reading this book, which is very rare to say for a book assigned as a part of a class requirement in school. Overall, I found it very enjoyable and worthwhile. I pondered his several opinions to myself even when I wasn't reading and his way of simplifying certain topics was quite deliberate and easy to understand.
I had to read this for my AP Macroeconomics class. I went in knowing nothing about the subject and this book explained it in simple language. I received a 95% on a practice test for the class which is impressive for something I knew nothing about the week prior.