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Unfortunately, in the fields of economics there are no shortcuts. The books title makes it look like it will give you the ideas of the different economics thinkers.. However what it actually does is a simple catalogue of 50 economics and finance writers with only 1-2 page attained to them. The idea is that you would look at this book and if you find the economist interesting from their brief 2 pages, you go ahead and read more about their ideas from other sources.
If you are really looking to get into economics this book is not for you. If you are only looking to gain extremely simple knowledge about economics which could also be acquired from wikipedia go ahead, this is your book.
I don’t come from an Economics degree but have always had an interest in the subject. Tom’s book works as a wonderful summary of all the major ideas, covering all the core classics and bringing us right up to date with newer economic works and thoughts from upto the last 10 years. I love the summaries which give a mini critical appraisal to challenge thought including linking it to events as current as Brexit. I also love the inclusion of thinkers from the Finance world. I certainly feel much more educated on this important area of academic thought and helped me to think in a much more rounded way about current trends and events.
The book is expected to provide a good overview of top 50 core economic and financial ideas. But in fact it is only a loose collection of those ideas without practical guidance. For each topic the author does not provide his own strong view but instead just recites what others have said. Not recommended for those who want to have a good understanding of various economic ideas.
Good 2 to 3 page summaries of many key books / papers that have influenced economics - very good to provide a background of the bigger picture for economics. The book helps to identify some of the weaknesses in the approach taken by economists e.g. behavioural economics being a latish addition to the discipline undermining the 'rational behaviour' assumption that underpins some of the economic models.
Tom Butler-Bowdon is an exceptionally gifted author. Whatever the subject he takes up, he gets to the heart of the matter and distills the essential wisdom . He takes us on an intellectual journey, but makes it look so easy, so pleasant and profitable. We are better educated after reading his books. 50 Economics Classics is no exception. Economics is disputed as a science, and riven with divisions , cults, theories, controversies. This book introduces us to some of the major ideas ( theories, fads, fashions? ) that have swayed the subject over the last two centuries. The journey through the book is pleasant, though the destination is both uncertain and unattainable in practice! Adam Smith showed what was wrong with how things were being done in his day, and how to change it for the better. A hundred and fifty years later, John Maynard Keynes showed how to make the resultant system workable in a general depression, without sacrificing our freedom. E.F.Schumacher showed us how the modern economy is doomed because it is living on capital. Thomas Sowell showed how governments mess up things. Liberal and level headed John Kenneth Galbraith showed how to combine the market where it works, and government where it is necessary. These are about the most practical and valid ideas we get in what is called economics. All others are mere fancy theories, conjectures, fads. But they are amusing to learn.
One need not necessarily agree with these selections, but that it not because the selections are bad, but the subject is so vast, no one selection would please every one. This book is excellent as an overall introduction to what goes on in the name of economics, in the world of ideas, if not necessarily in practice. Even life long students of the subject are sure to learn a few new things, or gain new insight. That is the beauty of Tom Butler-Bowdon's writings. Then, why only two stars? That is for this particular edition. There was something distinct about the 6 books published by Nicholas Brealy in this series earlier. They were nicely printed, on good paper; they were larger in size, and were easy to read. But this edition is smaller, the font is smaller, the pages are dense and cluttered, the paper is dull and it is so painful to read. I find this edition is not Nicholas Brealy alone, but it has become an
imprint of John Murray Press and Hachett UK Company. Too many cooks ? It is a pity how a good book is spoiled by bad publishing- it also demonstrates how taste and quality are sacrificed on the altar of profitability- a practical lesson in how economics actually works! No wonder, every country in the world is beset by insurmountable economic problems, no matter how many theories float around. As Galbraith once said, economics is useful as a source of employment for economists.
Having read the previous publications of Nicholas Brealy, this is a huge let down. If I see the publisher, I am sure to throw this book on his face! Poor Tom Butler-Bowdon!
Nice collection of Economics classics. One finds it easier to read most of the best works on the subject at one place. At times we don't have time to go for the original texts or cannot carry books for long (this volume serves the purpose to keep those useful texts along oneself in one book!).
I got an extra copy of the book the reason I returned one copy of it.