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Naked Economics - Undressing the Dismal Science [Paperback]

Burton G. Malkiel , Charles Wheelan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science 5.0 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

7 Oct 2003
Naked Economics makes up for all of those Econ 101 lectures you slept through (or avoided) in college, demystifying key concepts, laying bare the truths behind the numbers, and answering those questions you have always been too embarrassed to ask. For all the discussion of Alan Greenspan in the media, does anyone know what the Fed actually does? And what about those blackouts in California? Were they a conspiracy on the part of the power companies? Economics is life. There's no way to understand the important issues without it. Now, with Charles Wheelan's breezy tour, there's no reason to fear this highly relevant subject. With the commonsensical examples and brilliantly acerbic commentary we've come to associate with The Economist, Wheelan brings economics to life. Amazingly, he does so with nary a chart, graph, or mathematical equation in sight--certainly a feat to be witnessed firsthand. Economics is a crucial subject. There's no way to understand the important issues without it. Now, with Charles Wheelan's breezy tour, there's also no reason to fear it.


Product details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; Reprint edition (7 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393324869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393324860
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Clear, concise, informative, [and] witty." -- Chicago Tribune

"Explains our global economy in a way that is—gasp!—actually entertaining." -- Book

"Wheelan has an anti-Midas touch. If he touched gold he would turn it to life." -- Burton G. Malkiel, from the foreword

Clear, concise, informative, [and] witty. -- Chicago Tribune

Explains our global economy in a way that is—gasp!—actually entertaining. -- Book

Wheelan has an anti-Midas touch. If he touched gold he would turn it to life. -- Burton G. Malkiel, from the foreword

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In 1989, as the Berlin Wall was toppling, Douglas Ivester, head of Coca-Cola Europe (and later CEO), made a snap decision. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
113 of 113 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Having studied economics at degree level and found much of the literature dry and inaccessible (but rewarding when you get into it), I have made it a bit of a hobby reading these sort of "economics is fun" style introductory books. (Note to self: perhaps you should get out more?)
Many of them (e.g. by David Friedman or Steven Landsburg) are a both well informed and a great read. However, they tend to come from just one perspective - a libertarian one which is unable to conceive that governments can do anything but harm nor private enterprise anything but good (this is an exaggeration, but not a huge one).
The strength of Naked Economics is that it takes a more balanced approach without abandoning the "rules" of the economic game. It is also well written, with clear and interesting real-world examples and robust but not overly complex reasoning.
For anyone wanting to read one book on economics which is enjoyable, explains the unique perspective economists have on the world, and is balanced about the range of political views they hold - this is the one.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading and informative 28 Nov 2008
By Mobi
Format:Paperback
This is a very good for everyone! It explains basic tenetes of economics with examples. After reading this book you should be able to understand following topics at least:

Why a good government is necessary for good economy
Why poor countries remain poor
How Federal Bank/Bank of England etc. decides interest rate
What are inflation and deflation and how they affect our lives
Why government usually cajoles minority groups
How you pay stealth taxes
Why free trade actually helps everyone in long term
How corruption affects economy and well being of citizens
Why environmental groups don't always care for environments
Why sweatshops are good for all of us
Why a good economy should make everyone better off without making anyone worse off

There are no charts or equations. The language is lucid and the book is quite nice to read.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare I say, fun to read 21 Jan 2003
Format:Hardcover
A well-reasoned and insightful introduction to economics. Lined with analogies and real-world examples, Naked Economics is accessible to anyone considering picking up the book--not just econ majors. Wheelan displays a casual tone tempered by intimate knowledge of recent examples of economics at work in society. As the back cover pronounces, the book is without graphs, curves or equations, which can be a plus or minus depending on what you are after. But for those interested in learning more about economics in a straightforward and enjoyable read, Naked Economics fits the bill perfectly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clearly explained but read between the lines 11 Jan 2009
Format:Hardcover
For people like me who previously had little knowledge of how economics work, it is a very useful book as many real life examples are given to illustrate topics that might otherwise be difficult to understand. It is very comprehensive but towards the end of the book, you have to be skeptical.
Wheelan is obviously very defensive of the capitalist system, even though he often points out taking care of the environment, etc. In the chapter about the Asian sweatshops he carefully justifies some issues in a way that is covering up the whole problems put forward by anti-globalizationists. There are ways that this situation could be improved for the good of the world but he carefully goes around the issues to defend the capitalist pigs, so make sure you analyze what is on the page, there is more to it than he tries to get you to believe.
Otherwise, a recommended book for any economics-novice.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best introductions.... 6 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback
Though this doesn't really ever touch the realm of university level economics it provides an incredible introduction to the subject and brings in plenty of historical and current case studies to help illustrate the point brilliantly without getting lost in the unnecessary maths and graphs that have become ingrained into the formal economics programmes of today. The fundamentals of economics are illustrated brilliantly, unfortunately the later chapters which are perhaps the more interesting ones are dealt with a little superficially, the chapter on development economics is particularly disappointing with few real life examples brought in and the free market exalted to unrealistic levels. Whilst there's plenty to celebrate about the free market there are also many pitfalls, perhaps they deserve a book of their own rather than the superficial glossing they get here. For all that, there are few books that provide as good an introduction to economics as this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An book that unveils the beauty of economics. 23 Jun 2008
Format:Paperback
Charles Wheelan has provided us lucky readers with an economics book that truly makes you think. This being my first EVER economics book, I was left wanting more. I considered myself a believer in free-markets, and this book only reinforced those beliefs. Wheelan's main point in the book is to explain briefly and simplistically the beauty behind economics. From an amateur point of view, I would recommend this book to anybody interested in the subject; from an A-level student to a PhD Scholar, since the latter study the mathematical side of things more than the underlying principles of economics covered in this book. Overall, thoroughly insightful, and like all good books, leaves you wanting more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 21 July 2007
Format:Paperback
By far the best guide to Economics I have ever read. Highly recommended to those who feel that they ought to know more about the subject. A "must read" for students of the subject (at A level and beyond).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, gentle introduction to economics
This is a great introduction to market economics. It read very easily and had me interested from the first few pages ("Who feeds paris?", etc). Read more
Published on 26 July 2010 by MaxKolbe
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and interesting
Having had little existing knowledge on economics but rather small, piecemeal pockets of information this book tied things together nicely whilst offering new perspectives on... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2010 by D. Dacey
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally good but in no way exceptional. Very US-centric
At the bottom of the book's cover, it reads: "Explains our world in a way that is (gasp!) actually entertaining. Read more
Published on 7 Feb 2010 by ArisX
5.0 out of 5 stars Briliant
I loved it, it was great book very similar to freakonomics but discuses wider, and cover more topics. It was great reading it definatly would recomend it
Published on 17 Dec 2009 by Lina Brooks
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be titled "In Praise of Capitalism"
This isn't a lousy book but I really didn't enjoy reading it or get very much out of it.

Without resorting to any science or numbers its a reasonable explanation of how... Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2009 by Pas de plume
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
This book is a real treasure! I enjoyed reading it, from the first to the last page. With plain english explains all these economic concepts that I was always wondering what they... Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2009 by gnirut_nala
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
A very well written economics book, which is neither to technical, nor to anecdotal, just right.
Published on 10 Oct 2008 by jake the cake
5.0 out of 5 stars Economics for the curious
Wonderful little starter book to get you thinking about economic issues and a right wing way of thinking about them. Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2008 by Mr. Matthew M. Hull
5.0 out of 5 stars You have got to read this!
I loved this book! As a complete beginner, I was looking for an introduction to economics that cut through - or at least explained clearly - the jargon that had previously put me... Read more
Published on 14 July 2008 by Oxford Blue
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Informal Overview on the subject
This is a good book. I'll give it 3 stars because it basically had one premise and that is it: markets are best left alone without interference. Read more
Published on 29 May 2008 by James T
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