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on 9 December 1999
I did so, considering Varian's Microeconomic Analysis and Kreps' A Course In Microeconomic Theory as alternatives. The level (and coverage) of math is the same, but if you're looking for some economic meaning beyond this it's the only place where you can find it. The other two give you no chance.
You should keep in mind that the target audience of this book is first year GRADUATE courses, and this is very clearly stated by the authors, but as an undergrad I found it a lot more readable than the other two. Although, if you want an introductory text, it's not the best address.
I used to think that courses taught at famous universities can't be a lot better than courses taught elsewhere. But with this book I could make the difference.
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on 18 June 1999
Easily the best micro-text available on the market. The authors have done a great job in explaining the concepts. Following the rigorous mathematical derivations is the economic intuition behind the results. All the assumptions underlying the results are clearly stated. They prove many of their claims. They cover a topic fairly completely unlike Varian who seem to be in hurry to finish off as soon as he has started. Unlike Kreps they don't waste time and space chatting with the reader. Most importantly, investing time and effort solving the exercises gives one great confidence and ability to read research papers in professional journals.
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on 8 December 2013
It's generally clear and easy to understand, however, at times it goes off the deep end, particularity when it starts with the maths.
Brush up on your pure maths skills before starting.

Answers to the questions would be great. In addition, some indication of how to start the questions would be helpful - most of them seem unconnected to the chapter they're in, requiring random knowledge of prior maths and economics.
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on 27 July 2003
First, I cannot believe people are still using Varian. MWG has far more exercises, far more challenging exercises and doing those exercises will help you prepare for your final exams/prelims. I find that too many of the questions in Varian are too easy and not probing enough. Some are harder, but generally the level of questions that is set on exams that I have taken in my graduate program is considerably more sophisticated than Varian. Generally, I'd say you need to get at least 65 percent of the "B" questions in MWG right to do well in a major graduate program.
Second, MWG does not require much math. Really only calculus and a teeny bit of linear algebra. The style is mathematical, however. If you think axiomatically, in terms of proofs, of suppositions and contradictions, you will love this book. Yet it also develops your economic intuition quite well. The questions at the back do not test your mathematical ability; quite often, a clever verbal argument or graphical exposition will do. But yes the style is highly logical. But that's what I like about microeconomics.
Macro is a different matter, since there is just so much "mess". I think Sargent and Ljungqvist is perhaps as close as they come in developing a tools-based approach to Macro. I hate Macro.
Third, I'd say that in the summer before your first year, and then over winter break and before the prelims (if you're in the states) or in the review period leading up to finals (for those in England) if you obtain the solutions manual and then just proceed to do as many problems as you possibly can from MWG, even on a bad day you can do quite reasonably on your exam/prelim. Most professors seem to filch questions from the book!
There are some flaws. The game theory section is presented a bit too formally (!) and you'd be better using Gibbons to develop your intuition and just trying some of the exercises in MWG after that. And the section on production, the firm's problem, profit maximisation- it's too esoteric.
Primarily I am basing my assessment on (a) pedagogical approach, (b) relevance to exams and problem sets. MWG generally hits the mark except for the minor defects noted above.
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on 3 May 1999
When I started out with this book I hated it. Well, its still a pain, but the longer you study this book the more sense it makes, and the more you understand why they NEED to use all the notation. Modern micro gets very abstract, and we all need to learn all of that. Only when you go back over the text after your first year do you realize how well this book is written. There are some problems with the text, though: (i)too many interesting points are left as exercises, (ii)examples are not fleshout out enough, and (iii) they often try to "explain" a concept by using ONLY the math. Using both math and English would be better.
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on 17 October 2015
I used this for studying masters and phd level micro theory classes and found it to be the best text book among the ones on offer. In particular the sections on adverse selection, moral hazard and mechanism design are very easy to follow with a good combination of diagrams, mathematical proofs and written explanations.
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on 9 December 1998
This book can be used as a reference, as a textbook and also for self-instruction. The coverage of material is exaustive, and examples and exercises abound. Typos are relatively few. It is more complete and rigorous than Kreps' and Varian's textbooks. The mathematical level required is, really, only calculus and linear algebra, with some elementary probability. No functional analysis, stochastic processes or topology. This work is "as easy as it gets" for a microeconomic theorist, but not easier. It is an exceptional achievement.
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on 19 October 1998
This is an excellent book written at a level which should be understandable to the average first year graduate student in economics. Nearly all important introductory topics in microeconomics are covered (to some degree).
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on 27 December 2013
I've resisted buying this book as it seems unnecessarily technical for all but the most dedicated mathematical economists at a post-graduate level. However, it does cover a lot of material thoroughly and I often use it as a reference, although I wouldn't recommend it as a main textbook in a course. Also, it is now somewhat outdated with very little coverage of interesting areas in microeconomic theory such as behavioral models.
Someone should write an alternative textbook aimed at this level! Other available books (such as Rubinstein, Jehle and Reny, or Gravelle and Rees) although better written and more easily approachable, are not nearly as complete.
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on 29 September 1998
This text is brilliant! Thorough, yet not quite comeplete, the phrase 'this is too adavanced for treatment here,' appeared much too often. However, working through this book offers confidence and courage to the otherwise meek student (just be sure said student doesn't kill herself along the way). Kudos to the authors. Though the typos can make it tricky....
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