At its best when it concentrates on ideas - less good as an introductory text,
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This review is from: 50 Economics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas) (Hardcover)
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:
How Economies Work
Finance and Markets
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.