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Publisher's Summary

In this fifth edition of Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell revises and updates his popular book on commonsense economics, bringing the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Drawing on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history, Sowell explains basic economic principles for the general public in plain English.

Basic Economics,which has now been translated into six languages and has additional material online, remains true to its core principle: that the fundamental facts and principles of economics do not require jargon, graphs, or equations and can be learned in a relaxed and even enjoyable way.

©2014 Thomas Sowell (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Basic Economics, Fifth Edition

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The most eye-opening book I have ever read

A fantastic book by a brilliant author, fantastically read by a brilliant orator.
To anyone who thinks "economics does not interest me", I say: Give this book a try regardless. I promise that, unless you have read other economics books before, this one will feel truly earth shattering. It is well-written, well-researched, easily understandable by everyone and enormous in its educational value. Grab it while you can.

55 people found this helpful

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Astonishing brilliance

Would you consider the audio edition of Basic Economics, Fifth Edition to be better than the print version?

I haven't ready the print version. But this translates well into audio; there are no charts or graphs in this economic tome. It's simple logic, presented clearly.

What did you like best about this story?

It's hard to argue with this guy. I have to be careful and not simply accept what he says at face value. Surely there are counter points! But how can you argue with history? That's his brilliance. History repeats itself, and Sowell uses history to demonstrate fallacy. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it

What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

He has a clear voice. I would imagine reading an economics book is difficult. He does a fine job

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

When I listen to the brilliant words of Thomas Sowell I feel my mind opening up to truth. Thank you, Thomas Sowell.

Any additional comments?

This should be required reading to anyone who votes. I admit I wish I knew someone who could present counter points to this; surely there must be a counter to his obvious brilliant analysis of the fallacy of anything other than free, open markets. He makes everything seem so self evident!

28 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal Primer

Superior book on basic economics. Dr Sowell explains principles and gives examples that even an ol' boy with a Nebraska education can understand. Highly recommend this book to everyone, most especially to voters and potential voters. Politicians won't read it so we must...and then hold them accountable.

23 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal!

People say that is all the time, but this REALLY NEEDS to be required reading (listening in this case), and here is why:

Mr. Sowell expertly explains economics in this 25 hour long monster in a way that everyone can understand and enjoy. Everything he says is very well supported either using simple logic, hypothetical situations and many real world international and domestic examples.

Even if you don't agree with his explanations, you will still come out of this book with a better understanding of economics as you would have to come up with a logical reason to disagree with him, because his beautiful explanations and examples are essentially devoid of emotion, which is a very good thing.

Some of my favorite things of the book are:
- His often repeated statement is his definition of economics: Utilization of scarce resources which have alternative uses.
- His explanation of the difference between prices and costs.
- His examples of the effects of price controls.
- The absolute lack of mudslinging towards liberals, he actually operates under the assumption of people encouraging government intervention all with the best of intentions.
- His reminders how economists are known for being boring because of splashing cold water on policies due to cold hard boring facts.

This thing is almost 25 hours long, takes a while to listen to but it is like music to your ears. It's economics pure and simple and is fascinating.

Thomas Sowell for president! (Hey he's only 85, that isn't too old is it?)

93 people found this helpful

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  • 09-29-17

Economics does not need to be esoteric.

This properly named book explains complicated economic concepts in simple language that anyone can understand. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the fundamental forces at work in economics and to a certain degree, society as a whole.

10 people found this helpful

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Great Publication

This is one of the best audio books I've purchased so far. I believe it should be required reading and that the principles should be taught early in the educational system. There is a lot of information that explains a lot of economic problems - poverty and unemployment, for example - that could be eliminated through policy adjustments or eliminations. The concepts are so clearly conveyed, in fact, that it's difficult to fathom how or why any great society would implement contradictory regulations.

The narrator spoke at a pace and pitch that facilitated ease of reception of the material (this is subjective, I suppose).

50 people found this helpful

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Not a Basic Economics Book

I am surprised by the flying-colour ratings. Like many others have pointed out, this book is not well supported by data and it is not a "basic economics" book as the title claims. It is a Libertarian economics book, yet nowhere in the book is this context stated. The author does not give the reader any overview of the different branches of economics. The author's claims are at best supported by anecdotes, and often not at all. Because I do not know anything about economics before this book, I found it difficult to distinguish what are commonly accepted facts and what are Libertarian-only perspectives in this book. Yet, the author claims everything that he presented in this book to be "facts".
The narrator is good enough for me. Some comments said that the narrative is too slow and dull. But - may be it is because I am a non-native speaker, the pace suites me well.

16 people found this helpful

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Excellent Book on Basic Economics

Not really a "story" but it does tell the history and continuing effect of economics on our lives.

Thomas Sowell presents Economics in a very easy to understand and well illustrated way. This is the 5th edition so is up to date with current examples. There is a lot of information and a plethora of quotable quotes, so probably warrants additional listens to absorb it all.

Tom Weiner is perfect for this type of a book as he reads as one would expect an "expert" in this field might read.

A great book that I will definitely listen to again.

21 people found this helpful

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Super biased

Why would you pay for propaganda? No matter what your views are, paying for propaganda is not wise.

4 people found this helpful

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blatant propaganda

Doesn't teach economics from a neutral perspective, simply makes assertions about the efficacy of free markets and provides some economic justifications for those assertions.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Spitfires
  • 11-06-19

Boring title, boring cover, amazing content!

Along with Bill Bryson's "A Short History Of Nearly Everything", Sowell's "Basic Economics" should be available to every school child in the land. It clearly explains how the people of the world interact, and why sometimes it doesn't work (spoiler - politicians). You'll learn new knowledge throughout this book. You may change your mind on some things, or have light bulb moments as to why you feel the way you do on other subjects. This is a life changer.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Francisco
  • 07-28-17

I promise you, this book will change your life.

I highly or more than highly recommend this book to anyone regardless if you are studying economic or not. The explanation are so common sense and clear you will be enlightened. I am really grateful to have taken the time to listen to it and really want to say thank you to all the people behind it and the author. You have succeed beyond your goals. I will re-listen to it couple times until it becomes a song in my head. So grateful.

25 people found this helpful

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  • F Gibb
  • 12-15-18

Opinion Piece masquerading as Textbook

This is a well presented, but completely one sided economic viewpoint. It works hard to dismiss all government interventions and, instead advocates a somewhat cold hearted conservative economic policy as the only way to proceed.

That would be fine if the book was presented as an argument for hands-off economics. But it's not. It is presented as a textbook introduction to the field. As such it should present a balanced viewpoint- which sadly it fails to do.

16 people found this helpful

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  • MAtthew Eagles
  • 10-20-20

outdated and one sided view of economics

it needs be stated clearly that this book is purely about the authors believed benefits of free market economics. He states his opinions as though they are based in scientific fact, which they are not.
I believe free market economics is the best system for most goods but the author fails to realise the complexity of our economy of society, and that for certain services we need alternative systems. He also fails to acknowledge that economics is not an exact science.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Niall R
  • 09-01-19

Sowell being his excellent self again

Another exceptional book by one of the most interesting and insightful authors I've ever read.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RSK
  • 04-06-19

Informative perspective

Well reasoned and argued right of centre perspective, a little dated at times. Overall a good read though, but could be more balanced.

3 people found this helpful

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  • CMCGROG
  • 12-20-18

Very interesting if you are a nerd like me

Good for all interested in the economy, easy to understand even at 1.5x speed. Recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • astromads
  • 06-03-17

Fantastic

I could have listened to more of this, I never thought economics could be so interesting.
Absolutely loved it.

I would recommend everyone to read this book, gives you a better understanding of how things are not what they seem, would help pick your electoral parties as well.

The man that read this, his voice was perfect to listen to.I could probably listen to his voice from any audio book.

Gave this rating as I could not fault anything about this book.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Antonio Ferreira
  • 11-01-18

B and B book: Boring and Brainwashing

This book is a particularly boring attempt to brainwash the reader into believing that:

1. Free markets are capable of optimising all sorts of economic relations among people and companies. Any attempt to interfere with the laws of free markets can only result in terrible consequences for society.

2. Economy is a science comparable to physics or chemistry. It is precise, infallible, and deterministic in its infinite wisdom. Economists are therefore in possession of sacred knowledge, while politicians in their infinite stupidity insist on interfering with free markets, therefore spreading mayhem.

We all know that there is a certain class of economists that believe in these principles in the same way that fundamentalists believe in certain religious principles. It is because of them that economics has gained a reputation of being an unethical, ridiculously self-aggrandising, and thick-headed discipline. What is particularly irritating about this book is that it uses unbelievably redundant and circular argumentation. For example, if I argue that:

John is driving a car. He knows how to drive very well, and so he drives very fast. He has an accident when Peter is in the car, who has been admonishing against excessive speed. Obviously Peter is responsible for the accident because I already told you that John is a good driver.

Everyone with minimum intelligence could counter-argue that John might have been and probably was the one responsible for the accident! An intelligent person would want anyway to know more about the circumstances of the accident, which are not provided in a sufficient detailed way so that conclusions can be considered supported by evidence. However, this kind of argumentation is used all over the book, essentially to make us believe that free markets (the Johns) are very good for society and therefore when things go wrong is certainly because of the Peters (the politicians trying to regulate markets).

All this is unbearably superficial and poorly analysed, as these arguments omit everything that could be used to refute them.

On top of everything, the reader uses a preaching tone of voice, it feels like one is learning about economics from a drill sergeant.

A much more interesting reading for those wanting to understand economic science beyond this dogmatic approach is provided by the references below.

Jackson, T. (2009). Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet London: Earthscan. (not yet available in Audible)

Raworth, K. (2017). Doughnut economics: Seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist. London: Random House Business Books. (already available in Audible)

70 people found this helpful

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  • Pavlos Moros
  • 11-16-18

Brilliant insight into thinking like an economist

Thomas Sowell speaks concicely and simply to common sense. Taken to it’s logical conclusions, each proposition put forward in this essay comes together into a set of cohesive principles to navigate the space of economics. 10/10

2 people found this helpful

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  • Albert
  • 03-12-20

Exceptional!

Highly recommended if you are prepared to stick with it; you'll gain excellent insights into economics.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alicia
  • 03-02-20

Must read

This is the most eye opening book and something I believe every citizen should read. Written in plain English and with interesting and relatable examples, Basic Economics contains just the right amount of new material and repetition to embed the principles of economics.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David Pellowe
  • 08-03-17

Best economics text ever!

Really long, but really easy to listen to & understand. And wait to buy the paper version as well.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ellen
  • 10-18-20

Fantastic

This book was excellent and very interesting, I really liked the international comparisons of different concepts and the statistical backing for the claims made.
The narrator was absolutely wonderful and made this book a really easy listen, it was like going on an epic quest into the land of Economics.
Such a great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hermand
  • 09-17-20

Thomas Sowell is an American Treasure

The amount of practical examples he gave really helped to see the validity of what he was saying and kept it from being a theoretical bland read.

My understanding has increased so much thanks to this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-20

Huge topic well covered

Great start for people interested in economics, or who just need a working knowledge.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Austin L.
  • 05-29-20

amazing

Gave me a great insight into how economies function. The ideas presented are truly eye opening.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lucio Trohovski
  • 11-04-19

Great

Very well narrated, content is set out in a way that makes the concept easier to understand and it is clear with plenty of great examples

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-17-18

Insightful

Sowell does a fantastic job in distilling economic concepts in a way that everyone can understand. He beautifully demonstrates how easily people fall into the fallacies of simplistic thinking. This is a book that should be read by all.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nipun S.
  • 05-26-18

Great book to grad the fundamentals of economics

A must read if you are looking to understand the fundamentals of economics. The content is delivered in an easy to understand format with plenty of real world examples and facts. Though it is a long book there is never a dull moment because of the rich content that is delivered and the methodical order in which it is done - it is an easy listen.

This book is guaranteed to change the way you think and will help you foresee the long term economic implication of political decisions and actions of today. It opens up a whole new mindset that helps you think in the long term and understand how everything in interrelated. It also helps you understand fallacies and why some economies in the world thrive while others have failed.

This book will defensively expand the horizons of your thinking and help you see the big picture; and by the end of the book you'll find yourself looking at things in a much broader and practical perspective.

3 people found this helpful