Economics

The User's Guide
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
Categories: Money & Finance, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (185 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In his best-selling 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang brilliantly debunked many of the predominant myths of neoclassical economics. Now, in an entertaining and accessible primer, he explains how the global economy actually works - in real-world terms.

Writing with irreverent wit, a deep knowledge of history, and a disregard for conventional economic pieties, Chang offers insights that will never be found in the textbooks. Unlike many economists, who present only one view of their discipline, Chang introduces a wide range of economic theories, from classical to Keynesian, revealing how each has its strengths and weaknesses, and why there is no one way to explain economic behavior. By ignoring the received wisdom and exposing the myriad forces that shape our financial world, Chang gives us the tools we need to understand our increasingly global and interconnected world often driven by economics.

From the future of the Euro, inequality in China, or the condition of the American manufacturing industry here in the United States - Economics: The User’s Guide is a concise and expertly crafted guide to economic fundamentals that offers a clear and accurate picture of the global economy and how and why it affects our daily lives.

©2014 Ha-Joon Chang (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Worth it if you keep an open mind

If you could sum up Economics in three words, what would they be?

Provocative, informative, valuable

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the exposition of various world life examples and their analysis through the lens of different schools of economic thought.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The particular manner of speaking of the narrator and the inherently not very entertaining information made it hard for me to listen to the book for more than 30min. It was especially taxing when the narrator recited large tables with economic numbers. Seeing this on a paper or e-ink would have been immensely more convenient. Thus, consider also the written book or a combination of the two.

Any additional comments?

As a PhD student in Economics trained in the Neoclassical and New Keynesian traditions I was curious to explore different points of view. I have been fond of prof. Chang's talks on Youtube and his statement that economics cannot be separated from politics, so I decided to give his latest book a try.The book begins with an annoyingly repetitive attack on the economic profession - it can be considered either populist - so that readers hyped by media about the "failure of economics during the Great Recession" can be drawn into it; or it could just be my subjective perception. In either case, I urge you to keep an open mind and bare with the introductions.The book's general message is that one must not be "a man with a hammer" and view everything as a nail. That is to say, it promotes a pluralist view on economic and political issues and gives a broad overview of diverse economic theories and their applicability to real world examples. One could occasionally notice the Marxist training of the author and his fondness of "production" in economic issues, still he deserves credit for presenting a relatively unbiased view on the merits and drawbacks of each theory (with the merits of Neoclassical economics being underrepresented).Overall, the book takes on a broad spectrum of economic issues and sheds insights for both non-economists and professionals. I, personally, benefited from the collection of numerous teachings and facts that otherwise would have taken me too long to uncover.Again, go through the book with an open mind and humbleness, otherwise you risk being drawn to the extremes of trashing it or rejecting economics as a respectable discipline all together.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A breath of fresh air.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Anyone interested in economics should read or listen to this book. The brilliant, well-considered, refutation of rigid economic orthodoxy presents the diversity of the dismal science, making it a little less dismal.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

If you could give Economics a new subtitle, what would it be?

Beyond the hammer and the nail.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly recommend!

Half-Moon Chang is humble and brilliant. He cares about society, as well as the reader.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A "user's guide" with a plot twist.

Where does Economics rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is not a "must-read, cannot-put-down" book. But, it is an important book that seems to be well written. And, the audio performance was very good, considering the complexity of the topic.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Huh?

Which scene was your favorite?

Again, .....huh?

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No!

Any additional comments?

This is a great book. But, it may or may not be a great audio book, depending on what you want. If you want to listen to an in depth assessment of the evolution of modern economic thinking, and don't mind "listening" to data tables, this is a great audiobook!If you want a better feel for the data, buy the hard-copy instead.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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enjoyed the story. Need charts and tables

enjoyed the story. long, but kept my interest. would loved to have a pdf of the charts and tables.

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A great book on the current state of economics.

Ha-Joon's book is practical and easy to read. I am not an economics major but it is easy to understand the ideas. Well thougjtout and presented. I found a lot of meaty truths in this book, easy to sink your teeth into. Great read.

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Audio vs physical

I would only make the comment that while largely the book translates fine into audio, there are some tables and statistics that I suspect are more easily digested if you can see it laid out on a page. Similarly the notes (which I suspect lay out as footnotes in the physical text) and the section headers make sense in the context of print because of how they can be laid out on the page. But in audio they disrupt the logical flow of thought by providing us with partial sentences. It takes the brain a second to then recognize the partial sentence as not a thought waiting for completion but a section title. These are things I’m sure the makers of the audio version considered, and I don’t disagree with the choice they made (I’m not sure what the alternative could have been). I bring it up though for those deciding between the audio and the physical version. The meat of the book is there in both cases, but I wonder if some things are clearer and more digestible in the physical version.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Engaging & lucid

Written with clarity and humor. Brilliantly read. Reviews multiple schools of thought and discourages dogma. Invites us all to think critically and grow our understanding of economics.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Overview of Economics

A bit too long for my interest in economics, but provides a good overview or study of economics worldwide. Struggled to finish the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent overview for the layman

Covers the history of "political" economics from the 15th century. A tour fe force. I highly recommend this book and pretty much anything this author had written in the last ten years