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Publisher's Summary

A lively, inviting account of the history of economics, told through events from ancient to modern times and the ideas of great thinkers in the field.

What causes poverty? Are economic crises inevitable under capitalism? Is government intervention in an economy a helpful approach or a disastrous idea? The answers to such basic economic questions matter to everyone, yet the unfamiliar jargon and math of economics can seem daunting. This clear, accessible, and even humorous book is ideal for young listeners new to economics and to all listeners who seek a better understanding of the full sweep of economic history and ideas.

Economic historian Niall Kishtainy organizes short, chronological chapters that center on big ideas and events. He recounts the contributions of key thinkers including Adam Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Keynes, and others, while examining topics ranging from the invention of money and the rise of agrarianism to the Great Depression, entrepreneurship, environmental destruction, inequality, and behavioral economics. The result is a uniquely enjoyable volume that succeeds in illuminating the economic ideas and forces that shape our world.

©2017 Niall Kishtainy (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 06-20-18

Biggest big ideas, paced nicely in history stories

The account of each great thinker's big ideas is told so the person of ordinary intelligence and curiosity can readily get it. The finer points are not here, but that is not the point. This is a very fine overview. There is a special skill to telling complex ideas with this clarity and pacing. The narrator, one of my favorites reciting history (such as Tom Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword), is a bit less of an optimal fit here, but quite fine.

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Shallow and ethnocentric

Tries to cover too much history and doesn’t get in depth enough.
Would be acceptable as an introduction to Economics, except that it only covers events and people from Western Europe and America.
“Debt: The First 5000 Years” by David Graeber is a far better explanation of economic history.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Required Reading

This should be required reading for any young person. A brilliant overview of the never-ending debate on Economics. This is a great platform for further, deeper study into the sweet science.

32 of 37 people found this review helpful

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Interesting but a dull narration

As a non-economics major, I find majority of the topics are interesting and want to explore them more in the future. But the narration is dull and poor even to the ears of a non English native speaker.

38 of 45 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 09-23-18

Wrong Narrator for Preachy Book

Normally, Steven Crossley is one of my favorites. This was just the wrong book for his style. Distracting.

The book itself was flawed. Language was as if the author was writing for seventh graders. It is possible to write an introductory book about a complex topic and do it successfully. This book is definitely not that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great information

I got a lot from the information in the book but the narrator spoke so slowly it was impossible to listen to at normal speed. At 1.75x the pace was correct, but the distortion was extreme.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a good education

other reviews have termed this book dry, but I found it fascinating. a detailed summary of the historical views and positions of economists dating back to ancient Greece. it illustrates the evolution of economic positions and policies in a way that reveals the motives and reasons behind such varying intellectuals as Plato, Marx, and Hayek. from mercantilism, to socialism and free market capitalism, I was surprised at the even-handedness with which the author dealt with the conflicting ideas. the goal here wasnt to convince, but simply to inform. obviously many ideas have failed throughout history, and the author goes into the reasons behind that failure.
economics is a continually growing and changing organism, and this book is a worthy introduction to it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

I'm more than halfway through and it's easy to put it down.

The narrative style is one of a fairytale story for kids, but not a very enlightened one. I would have appreciated a more factual and academic account, stated with references, and aiming a little wider than the western view for a more worldly economic "history".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Valuable Information! This Book Is Mercy!

We currently live in an age in America where economics is not taught to people before they are already thousands of dollars in debt. And going further into debt in college. People call themselves "homeowners" when they are mortgaged to the hilt. Young men entering the service have to be taught there how to handle a checkbook. Economics is no longer taught in schools. The Board of Education in the United States has created a nation of financial illiterates by withholding any kind of education in economics all through public school systems. This book is a mercy upon us all. A labor of love. Anyone can easily understand so much about these forces and conditions around them now in a pleasant, amusing, fascinating narration. Standing Ovation!

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Interesting, even for economists

An ecenomics degree tends to leave out all the interesting historical bits and just focus on the math, statistics and equations. This book is a refreshing review of the development of economic thought and how it has affected the world.

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  • Alex
  • 04-27-17

An excellent introduction to Economics!

This book is a brilliant introductory guide to the study of economics and economic theorists. Over 40 chapters it covers a different topic and the economist(s) that based their work on that topic. I think that this book is great for someone who wants to better understand the complex world around them, whilst also giving a good foundation to anyone who wants to study economics academically.

It was also very well narrated.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Daren Knight
  • 07-23-17

The narrator ruined this

I couldn't see this audiobook through. Although I'm interested in the subject matter, the narrator ruined any enjoyment that could be had from learning. It's as though he's pitched his style of narrating a book on economics at an audience of 4 and 5 year olds!

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  • Nicholas Corkhill
  • 09-15-17

Very patronising narrator

Good content, awful narrator. Just get some naturalistic narrators guys. I don't need this posh grandpa style dude condescending his way through the entire book. Irritating. Maybe a woman?

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 04-03-18

brilliant

simply explained and artfully told. I can highly recommend this one to anyone with a thirst for knowledge