Informative, Interesting, Well-written
One of the most interesting and informative books I have read in a very long time.
It touched on such a broad array of areas that covered such diverse and often mundane topics such as market forces, economy, poverty, one could easily get lost.
The author undoubtedly is a great teacher - something rare of very smart people...the ability to impart to others what's in their minds. A must read!
Every point Ha-Joon Chang makes about Capitalism is supported by examples. Every point is very relevant to the world of economics and monetary system structure. This is the best published work I have found advocating a rethinking of our world's monetary and political systems.
In the end this book advocates capitalism and democracy. It suggests that certain ideologies have allowed policies to drift over the decades causing us to loose sight of long term planning, among other things, partially contributing to the greater economic instability felt worldwide today.
Offering excellent data to defend more equatable financial and monetary policies this book is a must have for those interested in monetary policy, finance or economics. However, it requires no prior knowledge of such subjects making it a good introductory book to these subjects.
Unfortunately, there is no technical data about how a improved democratic-capitalistic government-markets would operate but, it definitely establishes a precedent for such work.
I liked the book, but I may not be the intended audience. I struggled to get through it. Very dry.
I thought "Bad Samaritans," another book by Chang also available here, was the best nonfiction audiobook I have listened to, so I was happy to have the chance to listen to "23 Things" as well.
This one is a bit of a disappointment as an audiobook, because it relies on a "bullet point" style, with headlines announcing the received economic wisdom and then Chang's refutations. This probably makes for a visually appealing book, but it doesn't work so well in the audiobook format, and I found myself getting lost quite a bit.
The audiobook reader doesn't help by over-enunciating phrases which often the points Chang is actually trying to refute. The reader sounds a bit like Casey Kasem delivering a Top 40 list, which detracted from the seriousness of Chang's ideas.
As a complete stranger to economics, I learned much from this appealing book, but I had to rewind often to follow the flow of the argument. I may just check out the physical book from the library instead of trying to listen to it again.
This book is balderdash. Hacked up complaints about capitalism - create a straw man and bravely execute him. If you want to learn something, hear an important argument, find a great insight, I have only one bit of advice - look elsewhere!
I recommend taking notes, if you want to be conversant on this topic. Written by a guy who is not wild about our modern version of 'free market' capitalism. A very good analysis. I recommend this book.
If the author didn't hide behind his understanding of the issue in order to promote his agenda. There are brief snippets that we see the author stating that we do not have capitalism, but rather than addressing that fact he is constantly setting up strawmen in order to push a story. His interpretation of history like his definition of capitalism is questionable, but he never stops to discuss, each section is a sprint in order to get to the point he can shout about how bad free exchange is. Nothing new, interesting, or true here.
Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.
I have to admit, this book languished in my library for awhile before I read it, in part because I assumed it would be less than, er, fun to read. Boy, was I wrong. I bought it because I've always felt embarrassingly inept and uninformed about finance and economics, and hoped to bone up a bit, as clearly, things in that area have been going awry for some time. As such, I thought this book might help me gain a better understanding . . . it certainly did.
This is not anti-capitalist at all, by the way--if anything, it's anti-(so called) free market economics. The big surprise is how interesting this book is. There's nothing dry about it--I couldn't put it down. I felt great when I finished it--empowered, well-informed . . . . It's one of those books that you want to recommend to everyone the moment you finish it.
Finally, it's extremely well-written, and the narrator does a great job with it. You'll be glad you bought this!
A lot of interesting concepts and ideas, although much of it seems to be quite biased. The author seems to have fairly firmly established opinions and does his best to present these in a convincing way to the reader.
The facts and statistics that are presented as evidence for the "things" are all very interesting but frequently feel very unscientific. If comparing whether policy A or policy B is the best choice for economic development, it's not enough to say that "Look at country X, they used policy A and it gave them i% growth rate, while country Y used policy B and got j% growth rate." Those data points are not enough to give any sort of statistical indication without also considering a thousand other factors, and the author never acknowledges this by saying that "careful statistical analysis shows that..." so as a reader I don't know whether the arguments are pulled out of thin air or really just a huge simplification of a proper scientific study. I realize that the book aims at laymen with no background in economics (which surely matches me) but that's not really an excuse if it doesn't give me as a reader good confidence that the author has a firm basis for his claims.
The above situation actually extends to the whole book. I can accept that the "things" the author presents may very well be true, but reading the book I still get the impression that I'm not reading a neutral academic description but rather a manifesto.
The book is still very interesting though, and I'm not saying that the conclusions are wrong, in fact many of them seem very plausible to me (as a layman, once again). I'm sure that the argumentative rather than scientific format wouldn't at all feel as notable if it wasn't for the controversial topic of the book. With the world's financial system currently in turmoil it's clear that this isn't just light reading about economics, it's an opinion piece.
Bottom line, it's a good read and I can recommend it to any non-economists willing to hear a refreshing second opinion about our current capitalistic system.
Eye opening unassailable logic.
required reading for life in the modern world
The World would be so much better if everyone understood the truths in this book.