Unlike other histories of economics, Mark Skousen's book provides a running plot with a singular heroic figure, Adam Smith, at the center of the discipline. Skousen unites the great thinkers by ranking them for or against Adam Smith and his "system of natural liberty". He shows how Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes, and even laissez-faire disciples Robert Malthus and David Ricardo detracted from Adam Smith's classical model of democratic capitalism during periods of economic failure and upheaval, while Alfred Marshall, Irving Fisher, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman, among others, remodeled and improved upon Smithian economics as the world economy recovered and prospered.
Highlights include exciting new revelations about the lives of the great economists, provocative sidelights, humorous anecdotes, and even musical selections reflecting the spirit of each major economist.
©2001 Mark Skousen; (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks
Mark Skousen does an excellent job of bringing the history of economics to life. He weaves the lives of these great thinkers together in such an entertaining way that you don't even realize that you are listening to economics. He helps you to understand the theorists by sharing with you their personal histories. This was a great listen. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
One of my two favorite audio books. It is filled with interesting facts presented in a logical sequence. The narrator is very easy to listen to. The book puts major economic thoughts into perspective with each other, primarily with respect to Adam Smith and free market theory. A few odd facts about economists are sprinkled in here & there.
I listen to this book quite often -- I just start at a random point & go from there.
Although this book gives a very detailed potrait of the history of economics and the story of major economists, I find the author's idiosyncratic style a bit disorienting. Skousen maintains a very free-market perspective in his narrative, judging economists by their adherence to Smith's free market principles. The book also repeats facts and other information, leading me to believe that the book is at least partly a compliation of Skousen's previously written materials. I am not sure why we need to know that David Ricardo's teeth fell out while Skousen spends less time on the development of Ricardo's theories. The suggested musical selections are a bit strange, but they don't detract from the book.
Overall, I would suggest that you read the boook if you are interesteed in the story of economics, but be aware of Skousen's biases. Hopefully, Audible will release Heilbroner's The Wordly Philosophers to offer the other side's perspective.
I am amazed that Mark has taken an exhaustive look at the history and characters that have produced the world that we live in today. I do not believe that I would have had the time and focus to read this work with my eyes. I am glad that I was able to listen to it. I have a greater understanding of the ideas and personal beliefs that each of the recent economists have shared with the public. For me, having a foundation of understanding of the history of modern economics is indispensable. Everyone that has any inclination to learn about economics should have this in their library.
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.
Interesting and detailed, but has a very very strong bias against any non ultra-free market findings.
One warning is that the author is somewhat homophobic and pro-theism(most obvious in talking about the early 1900's period and for Keynes). This seeps into some of his analysis and colors his opinions on the character of economists he talks about. Going outside of detailing the figures, he goes into simple vitriol and disdain for the figures he obviously has issues with.
As long as you know that this is a specifically pro-free market analysis, the book is very interesting. But don't let the authors irrational points effect you, and keep an eye on all his analysis. This is only one side of the argument, but he does do a somewhat complete job of explaining that side. Buy this and a book that matches it but from a less supply/free market approach and you'll get a nicely balanced view.
Family on the move.
This book was wonderfully written, focusing on the odd people who made the history. I didn't realize how really different these economists really were until reading this. The dismal science has never been so fascinating.
There are so few authors who really understand the absolutely vital and positive impact that the Austrian, Chicago and Virginia schools have had on economic science. It is written so very well that it is facinating to listen to. This is a great place to hear the real scoop on Marx. Not a bad critique of Mises either. Bravo Dr. Skousen, you are my hero! Now I will have to go out and buy the book.
Mark's book is good for the reasons mentioned by other reviewers, but it's especially good, because you'll never get this material covered in college. Skousen is a follower of the Austrian school of economics, which is only taught at only several colleges around the country, such as George Mason.
Holly said that this is "neocon" economics, which would be as absurd as calling John Adams a Jeffersonian. Well known "neocons" support at least some of Keynes ideas, such as using fiscal policy to spur the economy during recessions. Austrians universally support a gold standard and favor almost no government endeavors (some don't support it for any).
This book is about more than money. Mr. Skousen makes sense of how the world works and brings it to you in an entertaining way that makes you not want to put the book down.
I see that he has written quite a few other books and that makes me wonder what else I'm missing.
I wish more of his books were available on Audible.
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