©2009 Mark Skousen; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Both fascinating and infuriating...enaging, readable, colorful...credulous, disingenuous, and tendentious." (Foreign Affairs)
Mr Skousen brings us a solid, comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining history of modern economic thought from Adam Smith to the present day. Skousen succeeds wildly in making esoteric economic theories accesible, and draws in the reader/listener with quirky stories about each of the economists: Why did Adam Smith Burn all of his clothes? What was the story behind J.M Keynes's hand fetish? Who fathered Marx's housemaids child? These are just a few of the high points of this work.
Admitedly, Skousen is strongy biassed towards a Neo-Classical/Austrian viewpoint, and holds some quesitonable ideas, but don't let that turn you away! The author does a great job explaining each Economists viewpoint in a clear, concise, logical way; I was even able to get a good handle on some of Marx's important formulas from Kapital while driving on the freeway. This book is that good! Skousen is very careful to completely present each Economist's bio and arguments first and only then move on to a critique on their more questionable assumptions.
In regards to the narrator, I have no idea what the other reviewer is talking about. Hughes speaks clearly, pronounces German and French words well ans seems honestly excited in his narration. In fact, to me he seemed so excited that I initially thought it was the author narrating his own book.
Overall, having listened to some of Sowell's audiobooks and a few of the great courses on Economics, I have to say that this is the best choice on Audible to get readers excited about Economics. Well worth the credit!
Economics is sometimes referred to as "the dismal science". This is a book which gives lie to the charge. Skousen treats the history of economic thought with both style and substance, a rare combination most suitable to the simultaneously technical and biographical nature of this book. With astounding clarity and candor, The Making of Modern Economics tells the story of our steps and mis-steps on the road to economic understanding while describing the lives and personalities of the people at the forefront of economic thought with humanizing warmth. Skousen has shined a light on the foundations of the ivory tower of economics, introducing to us personally the great scholars and revoltionaries who built it- and revealing how some of the greatest among them were buried beneath it. Out of dozens, this may be the only economics book which I have read more than once cover-to-cover (perhaps I should say ear-to-ear), and will most likely return to again.
My goal is to be one of the greatest literary giants in writing. Though my books do not sell, my goal now is to help those who are successful in writing, to become even greater.
Again I have my homework to do. Yet Skousen does for Economics what Tesla did for Innovative Power. He is objective, well researched, and focused on what he wants the reader to do, not to judge the character of an Economist, but do their ideas work? From the beginning of the story, he introduces to great Economics, their habits, their idiosyncrasies. He does not give you Economics straight, but provides a chaser with antidotes, along with pertinent facts. He is far ahead of the game of his Academic Communities than he knows. He is on the verge, if not there, on the Mt. Everest of Greatness!
I like him, had a terrible Economics Professor in 101 Econ back in College. If the Professor, unlike Skousen's The Making of Modern Economics, could have made me majoring in Economics rather than Ancient and U.S. Histories.
Hughes is fresh, lively, and sounds as if he never tires, he is a welcomed relief, and does what is supposed to, bring the text alive with crisp inflections.
Well, Skousen seems to use what I would like to call "Oral Histories" or "Action History" where you, and he, study together events, and the effects of theory making in the world of Economics. This book is a must read for anyone in Government, State, Local and at the Federal Reserve.
If you teach Economics at any level, think if Skousen could be described as an NBA player; He could be considered to be another Lebron James!
The performer's voice is too soft, and too close to a monotone. To his credit, there were no flaws in his reading, but unfortunately his voice just isn't suited for it at all.
I would not recommend this reading to anyone, I can't imagine how the other reviewers made it all the way through!
A non-biased presentation that doesn't try to demonize Keynes and glorify Friedman and the Austrian/Chicago school.
Something by Keynes to wash the Market Fundamentalist crap out of my brain. Actually I have since listened to Paul Krugman's book "End This Depression Now" and I feel greatly cleansed.
Not be biased.
It put the great economists into a clear chronology for me and gave me a more personal understanding of their lives and thoughts.
If Skousen hadn't tried to make the case toward the end of the book, that an unfettered and unregulated free market will somehow produce a stable economy, and that there is such a thing as efficient markets and that there is no such a thing as involuntary unemployment, the book might have gotten a much higher vote from me. Keynes wasn't necessarily right about everything, but he was right about some very important things, and there are some much needed and much ignored Keynesian solutions to our present economic circumstance.
"To be avoided!"
This book is for those with absolutely no knowledge of economics only. Overly simplified , often misleading and sometimes downright wrong. One can only hope that Audible will soon present a serious title covering the history of economics instead of this 'children's book'.
"Useful and entertaining"
I was looking for a grounding in economic thinking that wasn’t just a textbook and this seemed to fit the bill. It is unsurprisingly pro free-market and the author makes no bones about his libertarian sympathies and admiration for the Austrian school. But this did not bother me as I have other sources for liberal Keynesian and socialist apologists. The Narrator does a pretty good job of bringing life to what is still quite a dry subject matter. I found this book quite useful and informative but I should add I am relatively new to the technicalities of economics.
"Informative but leaning toward unwarrented bias."
Skousen writes a lucid and highly informative history of the greatest minds in the field of economics however to anyone who understands academic sources, it is clear that he has an agenda to convert the reader to faith in laissez faire capitalism despite its obvious moral and even economic failures. Updated in 2009 just after the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, Skousen's optimism seems dated and uninformed. By repeated referring to Adam Smith's writings as a system of "perfect freedom" and upholding Milton Friedman as the pinnacle of economic genius, he positions himself as a naive believer that there are only two economic systems - laissez faire capitalism (good) and Marxist socialism (bad). Thinkers who have attempted to walk either a middle road or somehow deviate from the Smithean orthodoxy are described as failures who wandered from the true path - that path being only laissez faire. The recent government bailouts of major bastions of pure capitalism have demonstrated that perhaps John Maynard Keynes, whom Skousen labels as a failure who pandered to socialism, might still have something to say.
To be fair to the author, the life histories and side stories are interesting and well worth the read, however the structure of how Skousen relates the life stories of various economists can be at times confusing, introducing a character and then not speaking of him again for a long time while going back to an earlier character. This is particularly confusing in the audiobook format. Also his frequent reference to important charts not visible to the listener means that having the book or the accompanying website in front of you while you listen is an advantage.
Overall this book is an interesting read for non-specialists in the field and those with an interest in history however the extreme bias in favour of laissez faire capitalism disqualifies it as an impartial primer to understanding economics.
"Partisan but interesting and informative"
The author seems to be clearly a republican, for instance in the opening chapters Adam Smith is painted as godlike (the benevolent father of economics and capitalism) while Karl Marx is the Devil incarnate (though nonetheless acknowledging his place in economic thought albeit at the bottom of the \"totem pole\" ...). However Skousen does acknowledge in the opening chapter that the book is very much his own point of view and that many readers may strongly disagree with him. And the book while clearly partisan is none the less interesting and informative.
The narators american accent may be slightly grating for some Anglo saxon ears, but grows on you and is quite acceptable after a while
I can't comment on the whole book as have only listened to 1/3 of it so far, but thus far its an interesting introduction to the foundations of economic thought.
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