The Return of The Economic Naturalist: How Economics Helps Make Sense of Your World Paperback – 28 May 2009
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"In The Return of the Economic Naturalist Robert Frank guides us skilfully and elegantly through our complex, and sometimes strange, economic environment -- helping us to see more clearly the essence of our world." (Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational)
The follow-up to bestseller The Economic Naturalist, revealing how economic forces explain some of the most important issues of our livesSee all Product description
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Also, the book is very focussed on US domestic issues, which while no doubt relevant for US readers may well detract from the enjoyment of those from outside the US.
Overall, there is simply not enough variety and originality to sustain the 250 or so pages and one is left wondering whether re-printing a series of existing newspaper articles was not simply an easy way to produce a sequel.
However, the articles rarely teach the casual reader anything about economics. They repetitively convey the author's own political agenda regarding US issues. The author makes it quite clear, for example, that he would like to see more money spent on US port security. Port security gets a mention in most chapters.
I gave up halfway through the book. Bored of the repetition and inane commentary between outdated articles.
Frank has pulled the various columns together into themes and has added some context to each section the result is a set of collected articles which frequently go over the same ground. In some ways the themes make this worse since rather than being spread across months or years, columns on similar subjects are next to each other.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the book is that Frank seems to have forgotten his own lesson from learning Nepalese for the Peace Corps. He knows, and states in this book, that people learn better from stories and repetition. Though the repetition is here the stories have in the main been replaced by opinion. Where are the hundreds of questions and answers that Frank says his students use in their term papers?
If you enjoyed the Economic Naturalist I would recommend reading Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner rather than this sequel.
Overall a very disappointing book given the highly entertaining and informative tomb that it is supposed to be the return of.
The title implies that it will be similar to the author's first book, which was reasonably successful (though not particularly good) but in fact this is quite different, and even less interesting. Just to set the record straight, I actually think that Frank has some good ideas, which is why I bothered to read the book at all, but that doesn't justify what is basically a cheap attempt to cash in on a name, and as such is likely to be a big disappointment to most readers. As for the subtitle: 'How economics helps make sense of your world', it just doesn't do it.
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