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Free Lunch: Easily Digestible Economics Paperback – 1 Jan 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (1 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861975066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861975065
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

David Smith delivers a highly accessible guide to a subject that many claim to understand but very few do. -- Jeff Randal, BBC Business Editor

Once again David Smith has demonstrated his talent for opening up the world of economics and finance to a general audience. -- Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer

This book is a good read. It is well written and in a few hours someone who didn't know much about economics could learn a great deal. -- Management Today, January 2003

Those of you looking for an entertaining and stimulating gift should look no further than this excellent new book..it's worth every penny. -- City Diary, Finance Pages - The Guardian

Book Description

Updated with a filling course on the credit crunch, this digestible guide to economics, organised like a convivial meal with friends, will lead you through many of the mysteries of the economy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By tdsfox on 15 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
This highly informative and interesting book is presented in an original and 'easily digestible' format, suitable for all readers. Smith manages to cover most, if not all, of the economic issues concerning us today, in a concise 282 pages. I was particularly impressed with the references to economic history and the incorporation of so many of the 'big names' in economics - both new and old.
For those new to economics, perhaps one of the most refreshing features about the book is that it contains no diagrams and just two simple equations - which is very unusual for a contemporary book on economics. As an undergraduate studying economics, I cannot help think that a diagram in one or two places would have clarified the explanation - however, this may have over-complicated things for the general audience, and I think Smith was right to leave the book diagram free.
Even as a student, who supposedly should know a fair bit about economics, I found the book highly informative, clarifying issues that I am studying at the moment and touching on new topics that I have not yet encountered. To my surprise the book focused on various aspects of current economic theory in a clear and concise manner that will no doubt help me in my studies.
'Free Lunch' contains a wealth of general economic knowledge presented in a highly accessible and often witty writing style. I would therefore recommend this book as an excellent introduction to economics.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Williams on 21 May 2007
Format: Paperback
Economics is one of those things I've always thought I ought to know more about, but all previous attempts to educate myself have ended in either confusion or terminal boredom. Well done then, to David Smith and his Free Lunch, for rendering the subject both understandable and engaging. Smith introduces all the basic ideas and the big names in this whistlestop tour of economic theory. By the end you'll be familiar with Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, you'll be able to wax intelligent over the dinner table about interest rates, and you'll have heard some interesting anecdotes along the way.

I personally found it very useful in drawing out all the connections between consumer spending, tax, interest rates, and how they all impact each other in the mysterious machine known as 'the economy'. Those wanting deeper analysis will want to look elsewhere, but if you're only going to read one book on economics in your life (and let's face it, for most of us one is plenty), this is what you require.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Julia Whitfield on 12 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
David Smith, Economic Editor of The Sunday Times, has presented an excellent and digestible introduction to economics in his new book, Free Lunch, Easy digestible Economics. Smith provides a good general overview of key economic concepts, an examination of current economic issues and an introduction to key economic thought of the last two hundred years. Smith includes topics such as whether Britain should change to the Euro currency, why some countries are designed to remain in poverty, and how British monetary policy has evolved over the last twenty-five years. Best of all, Smith uses only one simple equation and does not offer a single complicated mathematical example.
The book is set out as a meal plan with appetizers, a main course, desserts, coffee and guest speakers. Guest speakers include many well-known economists such as Carl Marx, Adam Smith, and Maynard Keynes, but the contributions of some less famous economists such as Ricardo are also examined. Smith also provides further details of economic web sites worth visiting and a book list for the interested reader wishing to learn more about economics.
All in all, the book is a fantastic introduction to economics, giving the necessary information to understand the way in which our countries are run and our personal finances are controlled.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Reavy on 11 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is easy to recommend to anyone wanting an overview of economics.

I came across David Smith via his web-site which reproduces the columns he writes as the economics editor of the Sunday Times.

I studied economics at school but it never quite clicked. Later, when I got interested in free markets, I read Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson and a couple of books by Hayek.

These were great, but I could never quite link them up mentally with the economics I learned at school. David Smith's book has joined up the gaps for me.

He takes the basic concepts and links them into today's economy. For instance, he summarises UK monetary policy since the 70s into a couple of pages and briefly explains the thinking behind tax credits.

There are introductions to major economists like Smith, Ricardo and Keynes.

It's a handy primer which I found useful.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C J RAMSEY on 27 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
I have a fairly average understanding of the economy but have often felt fairly lost when watching business news on TV and listening to people talking about GDP, the relationship between interest rates and inflation, the effects high/low taxation on government revenue and public spending etc . . . . My business is investing in the property market and I need a firmer understanding or economics if I am to reduce the risks associated with my line of work.
This book gave a good, top level grounding in how the different elements of the economy interact. He does this without getting boring or going into too much detail. I found the book very easy to read and it held my attention. This is no easy feat for a book on economics!
However I am left feeling that my taste has been wetted and I need to know more in order to fully understand the subject. The book has done well to stimulate my interest to the extent that it did, but did not provide enough detail to satisfy me.
If you just want a top level, interesting introduction to economics and how it effects Joe Bloggs you won't regret buying this book.
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