Customer Review

35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If possible - buy another one, 17 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Economics (Paperback)
Whether a text is understandable and accessible ultimately depends on the reader; some people find a text well-written while others do not. Begg's Economics, although heavily advertised as the "Student Bible" of Economics, has proved to be among those books I do not find easily accessible. While I acknowledge that some may find it helpful, I want to outline my criticism of the text for those who are expecting similar qualities of a textbook as I do.

It should be mentioned that Begg's Economics is far from incomplete. It is very unlikely that topics that come up in introductory Economic Analysis classes are not covered in this book; indeed, it might be among the most comprehensive textbooks for that purpose. It is accurate in its descriptions and very clear in its structure; furthermore, it makes frequent application of current economic data, a feature many textbooks lack.

However, I have found several drawbacks about this book. Firstly, it is neither really general nor really specific. When explaining an economic issue or concept, the authors frequently employ examples that span over several columns, sometimes failing to draw a general conclusion from these examples. While examples are essential in understanding economic concepts, what we finally need is the general rule behind them; but since an example can often only explain bits of a concept, it is also not specific enough. Disentangling example from rule is not easy with this book, and instead of making a concept more easily understandable, this text confused me or bored me so much that I had to give up and use other books.

This leads me to my second criticism. The book is written in a boring and confusing style. While I do not honestly expect any writer of such a book to come up with a bedtime read, there are plenty of other textbooks that succeed in making concepts understandable in a down-to-earth language, not economic jargon. When reading this book, I found myself wondering whether I should be studying economics because, quite apart from understanding the concept explained, I did not even come to terms with the language. With other textbooks, I did not get this feeling, even if I had to work hard to understand an issue.

To sum up, I found this book very discouraging; however, my lecturer in Introduction to Economic Analysis strictly adhered to both structure and coverage of this book, so that I could not simply buy another one. While I am studying in England, I think that US introductory textbooks are the best when it comes to easily readable and understandable texts. My favourites in that department would be Samuelson & Nordhaus' Economics, which is superbly written by two excellent economists, but sometimes unconventional in its structure of chapters and topics; and any of N. Gregory Mankiw's Economics textbooks, which are provide an excellent and, believe it or not, refreshing read. However, his textbooks lack some of the concepts required of UK undergraduates. A very good English textbook is Lipsey & Chrystal's Principles of Economics, well-written and most comprehensive, with probably the clearest structure you can get.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Sep 2009 09:06:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Sep 2009 11:22:30 BDT
selters says:
At some point you have to get used to using economic jargon, as you have to get used to using jargon in any field. I don't consider that a reason for why this is not a good book.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2011 14:40:31 GMT
To be honest this review helped me to prioritise my reading list. I agree we need to know the jargon of our field, but we have to understand what we are reading. When you know the subject, jargon will come more naturally.
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