Software engineer and avid, lifetime student. I like deep, thoughtful non-fiction, and fiction that compliments and enriches it.
Skousen's bias is unabashed from beginning to end. All Neo-Con ideas are "rescued" and any contrary ideas are a "step backward". I picked this book because I wanted to get a deeper background in the evolution of Economics. It will do that--somewhat--for the listener, but between suggested (subliminal) orchestra listening for each chapter and lengthy, hollow presentations of the economists' bios--complete with the subtle judgments of a Mormon author--relatively little time is spent actually analyzing both sides of what the various Economic theories imply and what evidence and arguments exist to support or refute them.
When Skousen covers Liberal economists I know and have studied, I find the coverage to be mired with half-truths and bad representations followed by superficial refutations that would be laughable in a real debate. Economists compatible with Neo-Con views are given much more favorable treatment. This makes me deeply question the legitimacy of the rest of its information.
I'm pretty sure a would-be learner can find better resources.
Audio: 5 star. Excellent. Clear, well-spoken, easily understood. The levels of voice volume and inflection were even throughout with only slight fluctuations occasionally.
Content: 5 star. LOADED with biographical information on economists from the 17th century pre-Adam Smith to the present. (I've heard of the "biggies" but I had no idea there were so many others.) It's also loaded with the gems of economic theory and application from those economists. I only read economics for my personal education but it seems to me the author covers the subject(s) quite well. IMO this might be a good textbook for Intro to Economics or Economic History.
Context: 3 star. I suspect this fine history and reference book may be better to read than to listen to. First, the subject matter jumps around alot. This is probably due to the numerous sidebars and graphs the author mentions in his introduction. Still, it is disconcerting and somewhat hard to follow in the spoken work. Second, some of the gems of economic theory and practice tend to fly right by. Yes, I rewind from time to time but that gets annoying, and you can't easily, if at all, bookmark those gems for later replay. This is the kind of book in written form I would want to reference often, leaf back and forth, look up things in the Index, etc. I found the list of figures, illustrations, and photos online and there are a LOT of them, which of course you won't have in audio.
I'm sure I'm not the first person who has wished audiobooks came with at least a text Table of Contents, perhaps with the time lapsed for each chapter. And wouldn't a function to actually leap to specific chapters be great. I think audiobook sales could be hugely increased with more interactive and informative interfaces.
Skousen paints a wonderful history of economic thought from Adam Smith to today, illustrating the merits and pitfalls of the dominant schools of theory while providing insight into the personal lives of the men and women who have shaped the economic and political landscape we live in.
I found the book educational and entertaining; although, I did find myself drifting into thought at times, usually to mentally debate an idea or concept that was introduced.
Skousen is upfront and unapologetic about his approach; namely, he is a free market economist and judges all other schools of thought from this angle. I found it a refreshing vantage point to evaluate this sometimes convoluted subject.
A wonderful defense of free markets with wonderful insights into human striving. Brilliant analysis and presentation. Often I am torn between rating the content and the audio presentation, but this book gets five stars on both accounts. Listen to this, then look at ?The Pentagon?s New Map? and compare the troubled spots in the world today where countries are a threat to their neighbors and where there exists widespread human suffering and conduct a comparison of the extent of the openness of their market. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that open markets rule!!!!
This book provides an excellent review of the history of development of economic theory from Adam Smith on down. There are many histories of this type, but this one puts it together better than anything similar that I am familiar with. The author becomes a bet polemical at the end with his admonitions against regulation, which is OK as long as you immediately turn to The Trillion Dollar Meltdown for another view.
Of my growing library of audiobooks (now at 53 books), this is probably my favourite audiobook. As a rule, I don't read books more than once, but I am listening to this one for the fourth time now. The narration is very good and the writing style is pretty good (odd music selections), but the content is the clincher.
This book opened my eyes to some lies, fallacies and misconceptions which are even found in most modern economics textbooks, and helped me to distinguish between truth and fiction. I found the criticism of Keynesian theories the most insightful. On a recent university course on micro economics, the lecturer asked me where I had studied economics before, but of course I had simply read this book. It really helped in my studies and I have now also bought a copy in paperback for reference.
When reading through the other reviews of this book, you will notice that most of the criticisms come from people with seemingly little or no background in economics or who seem to have only a passing interest in the subject. Those who have some background on the subject just love it. That does not mean this book is not for beginners or only for professional economists - on the contrary. It is clear and easy to follow on all levels of preceding knowledge... but the more you know about economics, the more you will enjoy this book.
This book is great. Really sweeping in its approach and astonishing in its depth. Learnt far more listening to this than studying economics at university.(Okay I only did economics one). Loved its presentation of the developmental history of economics/ It was done in a way that I could largely grasp all the concepts and follow the evolution of ideas. Above all I now understand why the house that Adam Smith built still stands and all the others don't.
I would agree that Mark Skousen does an excellent job in explaining the foundations and progressions to Modern Economics, but would add that it reads more like a text book. If you're looking to re-produce this intellectual analysis of the authors cited, then it would be best to purchase the written word.
This is a great book. Well written and well narrated! I got more from it than my university studies in Economics.
It appears to be biased against communism at places but the critique is honest and thought provoking.
Would-be Economics students should read this book and it will give them a head start in their course work.
This book bridges the gap between the academics and general masses. Economics does not seem all that esoteric after listening to this book. I also ordered a print copy of this book as it appeared to be useful to have a good perspective on both micro and macro economics issues.
Great book to hear. Broad overview of history of economics. Well written and interesting to hear. Well done for the author and the narrator.