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Grand Pursuit: The Story of the People Who Made Modern Economics Paperback – 19 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841154563
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841154565
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘A history of economics which is full of flesh, bloom and warmth…GRAND PURSUIT deserves a place not only in every economist’s study but also on every serious reader’s bedside table’ ECONOMIST

‘Much of GRAND PURSUIT may be a reminder that as bad as things seem now, they have been worse — much worse — and that those difficult times can shed light on what is happening today. Economists have always tried to come up with theories about how to stimulate flaccid economies. The reader finishes Nasar's book wondering what brilliant and quirky thinker may fill in the next chapters of our economic history and come up with an idea that shakes our current economy out of its funk’ LOS ANGELES TIMES

‘A superb writer, fully meeting the standard set by Robert Heilbroner, in his THE WORLDLY PHILOSOPHERS (1953), for graceful writing on a difficult subject…you can't help becoming engrossed in [her heroes’] lives…The book is a kind of portrait gallery of economic thinkers, each artfully set down in his or her time and place’ WALL STREET JOURNAL

About the Author

Sylvia Nasar is the author of the bestselling A BEAUTIFUL MIND. She is the John S. and James L. Knight Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating book which blends economic theories with the the stories of the lives of those who developed them. The author follows a chronological sequence of economists and the historical context in which they developed their ideas, with clear explanations of their theories. It is impossible to avoid reflecting on the policies being pursued today in light of the theories described, particularly in the context of difficult economic times in the past. An optimistic book, though, which shows clearly that difficult times pass,and are superseded by yet greater economic strength. Ms Nasar outlines the huge gains made across the world which have led to a global population which, in the last one hundred years, has become 6 times larger and yet 10 times more affluent, despite the wars, recessions, depressions and famines which have characterised so many of these years.A great read- highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bibliophile on 16 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This was an interesting book,and if nothing else confirmed that no one economists seem to agree on a particular set of circumstances that can shape the world financial markets. Sylvar Nasar gives us an insight into the making of some of the great economic thinkers and overs of the nineteenth and twentieth century. For a non -economist one has to work hard at getting your head round some of the theory,but nonetheless it is interesting and thought provoking. I would have liked a bit more on the present economic climate, but perhaps that was not within the scope of the book. A good and challenging read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Economists are people, too, as journalism professor Sylvia Nasar proves in her revealing book on the lives of the men and women who demonstrated "economic genius." Starting with the 19th century and ending in modern times, she relates how writers, journalists, social activists and academicians turned the concepts of economics into practice. She delves into their personal lives to find the human aspects that informed their theories, while also weaving in the vivid historical settings that gave their lives context. From the tragedies of illness and death to the pangs of unrequited love, and even the scandals - one famous economist kept a "sex diary" - Nasar presents engaging, sometimes quirky portraits of the people behind the pronouncements. getAbstract highly recommends Nasar's tracing of the history of modern human economic development - with its circling-back loops that mimic the booms and busts of the economies and societies her protagonists lived in - to those who love history, economics and a rousing good tale.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By flixton on 4 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Quite a racy read with Ms Nasar very interested in the personal lives of a selected bunch of economists. Gives a decent overview of (some of the) economic times but in reality it explains little of the economics. Difficult to see who this is aimed at- too selective and lacks detail for anyone interested in learning economics or history. On the other hand it covers strange ground for the general reader.

The elephant in the room, of course, is that it fails to address the current crisis in economics. This undermines the underlying hypothesis of the book which is about progress and triumph.

Oh, and there is no proper bibliography.
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Format: Hardcover
Sylvia Nasar takes what can be a dry subject to most many people (not me) and takes it out of isolation by placing it into the context of history. We see the human side of the economists and the people they rub up against. I have to confess that I know much of the story before reading the book; however the best book are those that tell you what you already know but with a different set of eyes.

I was disappointed to find many of my favorites missing from the book completely. Stuart M. Speiser author of "A Piece of the Action." Louis O. Kelso author of "The Capitalist Manifesto."

Still all in all this is not a book to be overlooked.
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