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Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living [Paperback]

Evan Davis
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 May 2012

What are countries famous for making? For Japan, the answer might be electronic goods. For Germany, automobiles. For France, perhaps a Louis Vuitton bag. But what about Britain?

Here, Evan Davis sets himself the task of finding out. Offering a fascinating look at our manufacturing industries and revealing the various companies that might not be household names, but are very much world leaders in their fields, he shows how we have learnt to specialise in high end and niche areas that are the envy of the world.

Taking in our disappointments and successes, Made in Britain is a brilliantly readable tour of our economic history, exploring the curious blend of resilience, innovation and economic free-thinking that makes us who we are.

Frequently Bought Together

Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living + How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having it All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity + Who Runs Britain?: and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess We're in
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349123780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349123783
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Could not be more relevant Scotland on Sunday A lively, upbeat account of the way we make our living -- Independent On Sunday Sean O'Grady Hits the spot. Upbeat, balanced and ... filled with interesting facts ... An engaging book written by an author whose passion and command of his subject shine through City AM

Book Description

A brilliant, thought-provoking look at British manufacturing industries, and whether it matters that we don't produce like we used to, from the much-loved Today presenter, Evan Davis

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By hfffoman TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This morning I heard on the Today Programme that Max Hastings has been slating the British as idle and useless compared with the Chinese. John Humphreys must have been itching to say, "That's a load of tosh and my colleague Evan Davis's book explains exactly why". Well, I can't be certain that John Humphreys has read the book but I have, and I will never be deceived by ignorant raving about Britain again. Reading it actually changed my opinion.

"Made in Britain" is an extraordinary combination - a serious book about economics which is entertaining, easy to read, easy to understand, balanced and impregnably sound in its judgements. The author is not just a journalist but a respected economist with a background at Oxford, Harvard, London Business School and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The book is unfortunately littered with typos. The author must have been furious with the BBC for screwing up the schedule so that it went to print before it had been properly edited. But, as he points out astutely in chapter 11, organisations protected from market forces with a licence to collect money, can become too much of a good thing.

This is pretty much a must-read for anyone interested in the state of Britain or worried about our future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasons to be cheerful, part 4? 26 Sep 2011
By Steve Keen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Britain, the doomsayers would have you believe, is sinking in a dead-end economy in which manufacturing is reduced to an insignificant rump, replaced by burger-flipping and call centres. The common complaint, here as in the US and, no doubt, Japan, is "We used to make stuff..."

In this well-balanced assessment of the reality of post-modern British industry, Evan Davis tries to cheer up the Eeyores, first of all showing that, despite conceptions to the contrary, our European neighbours France and Germany also don't manufacture that much any more, and that although Americans are in aggregate better off at least we don't have to work their hours. More importantly, what we do manufacture is pretty damn good; world leading, in fact, when we look at UK companies like GlaxoSmithKline, ARM Holdings and Brompton, but also in foreign-owned factories such as that of Nissan near Sunderland.

That's less than half the story, though, (in fact, less than a quarter) because the majority of British industry is based on services, and there we really are good. We just need to ensure we understand how to stay ahead of the game in that respect, as emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil move up the value chain, and there the government has a crucial role to play in ensuring it not only encourages the right behaviours but also in ensuring it does not stifle the success stories. For example, in imposing increasingly restrictive conditions on student visas we not only deny ourselves the revenues from tuition fees from newly affluent citizens of the rising economies, we also deny ourselves access to overseas talent. Davis uses the example of post 9/11 US policy to demonstrate the potential effects.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a dull read 7 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was expecting a book about world class British companies, but it was more about economics and it was a bit obvious, for instance If you want to survive then make higher value goods or services and it is not necessary to manufacture goods just be smarter in design, see Apple for instance.
I was expecting more from the book and was a bit disappointed the book was quite superficial.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a fantastic book to read! It will open your mind about what Britain still has to offer the world and challenge your views on services v manufacturing. I personally work with British exporters and see a lot of what Evan Davis writes about put into practice every day. The British economy has changed and it keeps changing - will we embrace the change and feel proud of our achievements and excited about what's ahead? A clever, thought-provoking book that you'll go back to again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 18 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
brilliant, in depth analysis, good to have a varied opinion so was a good read would reccomend as a first read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, insightful and substantial 20 Nov 2011
Economics was dubbed "the dismal science" by Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle - reacting to the doom-laden population predictions of Thomas Malthus - but this entertainingly written and cleverly researched book is anything but dismal. It elicits a mood of optimism and potential when looking at the history of and prospects for the British economy. It is a well-argued antidote to the current economic gloom.

Evan Davis is a well known economist and British broadcaster who made his name with shows like Dragons Den but in writing Made in Britain he shows a deep and knowledgeable engagement with how British industry developed and the sort of businesses that are creating value today. His argument is that the economy is always in flux and the challenge is to get the right balance of manufacturing, services and the creation of intellectual property. He argues, and clearly shows, that those in love with nostalgic, sepia-toned notions of the sanctity of manufacturing are just as narrow minded as those who argue that we will end up us a purely service based nation. In the aftermath of the debt laden financial crash it is the balance that we must rediscover.

I missed all the BBC broadcasts which accompanied this publication but I can attest that the book stands alone as a good read and a thought provoking analysis. It is perhaps a bit of an indictment of the BBC that the series, only broadcast very recently is no longer available on the iPlayer or DVD. A change of BBC policy may be required for such genuinely valuable and timeless programmes.

Another well used phrase - this from JM Keynes - is that "practical men are slaves of some defunct economist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read even for non economists
Evan Davis leads the reader through an examination of the British Economy explaining economic concepts in an easy and accessible manner. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James Davey
1.0 out of 5 stars Appologies for Thatcherism
This book seeks to big up the mess that thatcher left as her legacy. Davis leaves no stone unturned in his bid to assure us that everything is just fine. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Meeky Too
5.0 out of 5 stars Made In Britain: How the Nation Earns Its Living
An eye-opener. The book gives a whole new insight into the UK's economic performance over the last 30 years or so
Published 20 months ago by Philip Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I love to watch Evan Davis on TV. He is a wonderful presenter and can simplify complicated issues into simple components. Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2012 by Rajeshk4u
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an in-depth review but a recommendation to read this book
Other reviewers have taken the time and care to review this book in greater depth than I and I don't intend to contradict any of that. Read more
Published on 21 May 2012 by Big Jim
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but doesn't cover public sector
The book certainly shows how diversified the British economy is, describing how the country has left low-value manufacturing to China/India, whilst retaining high-end and niche... Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2012 by Mr. S. P. Bracken
4.0 out of 5 stars written review
Purchased this for my son as a 1st year specialist doing Economics at PreU/A level. We have found it to be very relevant, an easy read and very clear in its economic evaulation of... Read more
Published on 30 Oct 2011 by yummymummy
5.0 out of 5 stars Made in Britain
This ia a compelling read. Evan Davis is a great communicator, and an expert at clarifying complex economic theories. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by Martin Newlan
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