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4.5 out of 5 stars66
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on 27 October 2009
As someone who thinks she knows a bit about economics but on occasion feels woefully uninformed, this book is exactly what I was looking for. It is interesting, readable, witty in places and pitched at just the right level - being informative without being patronising. Most importantly it covers all those crucial topics I kind of thought I knew about but didn't really, and occasionally ended up feeling slightly clueless in conversations whilst others waxed lyrical about crunches, markets and all the `isms' (insert protection, multilateral, capital etc as required).

At last I can properly understand all those slightly baffling economic phrases that the papers are littered with - stagflation and quantitative easing trip off my tongue. Hurrah! And most importantly I can now play those irritating conversationalists who pretend they know stuff at their own game.

Its clear and concise and easy to dip into. I'm very interested but I'm afraid I don't have time to go digging into massive tomes. I know these are big subjects and there is a lot more to read but as an introduction this is just perfect. Thank you Mr Conway for a refreshing and compelling introduction to a tricky but topical subject!
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on 25 May 2010
A really useful book. Simple but not simplistic. Worth passing on to younger people who want to understand issues.
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on 28 October 2009
Conway really knows a thing or 50 about economics. The joy of this book though is that whilst it helps 'tick things off' which anyone with half an eye on current affairs and the world around really ought to know, it does so in a chirpy snappy manner which helps to instil a sense of confidence to reflect on, and converse about, ideas which might hitherto have seemed impenetrably esoteric. Moreover, it imparts a great deal of enthusiasm for the subject matter and I feel encouraged and equipped to gain a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of these key principles of economic theory and analysis.
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on 8 September 2012
I would recommend that anyone starting a degree or any course / qualification in economics reads this first, and then refers back to it when clarification of a principle is required.
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on 29 April 2010
I bought 50 economics ideas having bought the philosophy equivalent a few months ago. I'd rate philosphy 7/10 and this one 9. the ideas are very carefully chosen and the author has that rare ability to take a relatively sophisticated concept and *translate* it into something easily and enjoyably digestable for the layperson.
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on 5 September 2012
I have read a number of the other books in the '50 Ideas....' series and as with the others this is a really useful guide to some fundamental Economics subjects, which as a layman I knew little about, but wanted to know more of. The topics are well selected, considering the current economic situation, and well explained in a short and concise manner. Not always the most exciting of topics (hence the 4 stars) but a very useful book.
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on 8 July 2012
I enjoyed this book very much - economics isn't easy for us non boffins to get a grip of but this book is very readable and the sequence is logical. A whole raft of ideas that hadn't occured such as 'why price rises / inflation/ unemployment are all necessary' You might not agree with it ( a Marksist friend is still near apoplexy at the ideas)but you WILL learn loads of stuff
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on 7 July 2012
If you have no idea about economics, numbers, finance etc, this is a great book for you!! I bought this two years ago when I was studying a MA in International Relations! I was struggling with economics, and finally decided to buy this book to speak the same language with the professor! To say the truth, finally my non-mathematical brain got something!
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on 11 November 2011
This is a clever series, based on the principle that, with articles only four pages long, no-one is going to get bored. Free to dip in and out of the short chapters, the reader never feels they have `lost the thread' of any complex narrative.

This book briefly looks at such concepts as inflation,unemployment; sovereign debt, budget deficits,exchange rates; bonds, banks, money markets; globalisation,GDP, boom-and-bust; comparative advantage;keynesianism,monetarism.

For my level of understanding, I found that some explanations were perfectly pitched, some redundant, and some beyond me. You may well find a similar pattern . With the daily papers as full as ever of economic riddles, it's good to master at least some of the jargon
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 January 2014
The "Economics" edition of the "50 Ideas You Really Need To Know" series is something of a disappointment compared with some of the other books in this series, although it still offers some good things. It shares the same format of all of the series - namely 50 ideas, each given four pages, a time line (which is slightly more useful in this book than in some others) and a trite condensed view of the idea in a few words. At its best, this is a good series of books but like all of these collections, much depends on the clarity of the individual author. Writing in such a limited length while trying to express sometimes complex ideas is not easy and Conway sometimes veers too much towards the bland for my taste although arguably this is the remit.

It has, though, two particular strengths. Firstly, unlike some in this series where the order of the ideas is alphabetic, Conway does at least offer some structure to the approach. He groups the ideas into:

The Basics
The Movements
How Economies Work
Finance and Markets
The Issues
Alternative Economics.

Within this, his approach is also quite logical - often based on a building of ideas. This is a vast improvement to the lazy alphabetical approach that others follow (come on, even chronological would be a start). The second plus is that in the final part - Alternative Economics - Conway gets to grips with what makes the better books in this series so good.

The series is interesting and well worth reading when it sticks to what it is best at - presenting ideas and explaining why they are interesting. It's relatively weak at offering a basic introduction to the fundamentals of a subject though - there simply isn't enough space to develop the ideas and implications and there are far better basic introductory books around. Ultimately this is the problem with this book - it often falls between the ideas and the basics of the subject. There are better basic introductions around, but as a quick reference to the key ideas, this is a decent option.
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