New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought
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New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,011 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The classic introduction to economic thought, now updated in time for the publication of New Ideas from Dead CEOs

This entertaining and accessible introduction to the great economic thinkers throughout history? Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and more?shows how their ideas still apply to our modern world. In this revised edition, renowned econ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 6th 2007 by Plume (first published 1989)
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Juan-Pablo
A comprehensive but ideologically biased economics history

There are a couple of points that are good to know before you pick up this short economics history. First, the title is misleading, it is not “new ideas”, but just “ideas” form dead economists. Second, it is not only theories (ideas), but also biography (at least sometimes). The latter is where the book fails the most. I’ll come back to this later.

This is a history of ideas book, but it is also a saga of how modern economy (the dismal sci...more
Omar Halabieh
The main premise of the book, is best summarized by the author: "It is striking that so many of the lessons of the great economists still speak to us. Each of their wisest theories has a practical point or analogy today. This book seeks their wisdom by looking at mainstream economics and asking, Who first had these insights and built these durable models? We can learn from the masters."

Todd then embarks his readers on a journey through the contributions of the greatest economists of our time. Cl...more
Jan
An extremely entertaining survey of economic thought through history; the author offers brief biographies of economics' most influential figures from each angle we might care to examine: their personalities, the intellectual development of their discipline, and their impact on the world, then and now. Most fascinating are the portraits of the "outliers" in economic history who don't really have a place in the mainstream anymore: Mill, Marx, Veblen.
Ine
New Ideas is sapped principles of economic from our forefathers such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Keynes, also includes German angry economist, Karl Marx. Do not being fooled by its comical appearance, I red the book twice and still have blur vision of how macro economy works according to them. It is brilliantly presented by Buccholz with colloquial and witty metaphor. If you are interested in consumer-demand-price-supply tidbits, then read this one…
adam
Boy, I thought this was really good! I'm kicking myself that I never really studied Economics in school, so I have to resort to reading books like this...but there's not much you could do to improve this as a solid, fun (what?) economics primer.
Justin Tapp
I learned an amazing amount from this book which will translate immediately into me teaching an amazing amount in a Jan term course on economic and financial thought in a few weeks.

Buchholz's history of economic thought is very readable with his witty humor. It definitely helps to have at least had some principles classes to completely understand the thoughts he explains, but he uses some simple explanations that are easy to follow. The history is great.

I now understand the syntheses of the econ...more
Nick Huntington-Klein
An interesting take on the history of economic thought. Much is sacrificed here on the altar of readability, with much more emphasis on biography and ideological point-scoring between various camps, but at least the book does turn out very readable. And the broad strokes are correct, as far as I can tell.

Definitely takes an ideological stance, and doesn't shy away from passing judgment on various schools and researchers. Again, this adds to how engaging the book is (whether you're rooting him on...more
Jared Smith
Economics textbooks are notoriously boring—riddled with oversimplified examples of Robinson Crusoe building huts and Friday gathering coconuts. Buchholz finally published something that anyone will find amusing, even if you are only marginally interested in the study of economics. His sharp and satiric writing is unparalleled in anything I have read that so accurately describes modern economic thought. Milton Friedman, the father of the Monetarists and who has a chapter dedicated to him as one o...more
Tanya
I have never taken an economics class; everything I know about the subject has been gleaned from intertwining disciplines. So I can't really evaluate how accurately this book presents economic principles. All I know is that I was fascinated by the new knowledge I was gaining... at least for the first 2/3rds of the book. Then it started getting really complicated talking about the income velocity of money and Keynesian theory of government spending spurring the economy to fill the gap when privat...more
Kirk Battle
'New Ideas from Dead Economists' which is a fantastic introduction to economics that was suggested by a friend of mine. On audiobook I'm listening to Sir Thomas More's 'Utopia', which is weird as fuck but interesting in its own way.

Medieval Economics is interesting because it's basically pre-money. They had money, of course, but it's still attached to goods and services. There's no piles of gold or jewels to represent wealth, it comes in the form of food, resources, and labor. And man did it suc...more
Allen Chen
This book was a severe disappointment. First, Buchholz is obviously competent and a smart economist. He can throw in humorous factoids and create a general narrative of their lives. There is certainly a lot of data in this book. And on the whole, I probably agree with the author politically. But, I'm rating it the lowest I can give it because Buchholz made a horrible book to teach people economics, doesn't say that his opinion influences it and so is dishonest, and provided it disorganized and a...more
James
Nov 10, 2008 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in money/finance, biographies/history
With the world economy in a tailspin, now is as good a time as any to pick up this book and let it all sink in.

Buchholz does a great job making this hard to grapple with topic one that you can almost give a choke hold to or even a body slam. A second reading may give you confidence for a Steel Cage Match. To be honest, trying to formulate my own responses to our current financial crisis, I was still a bit dazed myself. But, I think I'm grasping news articles better.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mini...more
Ilya
Similarly to Robert Heilbroner's better-written The Worldly Philosophers, this book is an introduction to economic ideas through the lives and work of several famous economists. Both Buchholz and Heilbroner start with Adam Smith's defense of the free market, Thomas Malthus's realization that resources are finite and can be consumed by population growth, and David Ricardo's notion of comparative advantage. However, Heilbroner's book stops at Joseph Schumpeter's creative destruction, and Buchholz'...more
أحمد كشيكش
من جهة الكتاب أكبر من سابقه - كتاب الببلاوي - و أكثر تفصيلا و من جهة أخرى أسلوب الكاتب أكثر سهولة و إمتاعا من أسلوب الببلاوي
Dan Cohen
This is a good book for the lay person wanting to get an understanding of the basic concepts and the history of economics. There's a chapter devoted to each of the major historical figures in the development of the subject and their key ideas. For example, it proveds an understanding of the 80's fashion for monetarism - putting this into the context of the preceding Keynesianism and modern thinking on the debate. The style is very light and jokey. While this makes the book easy to read and enjoy...more
Austin Rory
Great review of the development of economic thought. I recommend it for anyone that wants to get a grasp on the theoretical issues of economics and the financial roles of government. It uses each of the most historically prominent economists and gives a good (and very readable) description of their ideas, followed by some of the most important critiques of each school of thought. I felt like the book had a lean to it (a lean that I tended to agree with), so it critiqued some people harsher than...more
Trinity School Summer Reading
The book delivers what the title offers—a survey of some of the big economic thinkers and their big ideas.
Kirt
I've always liked economics since the economics section of an American Heritage class in college. So when I saw how much people liked this book I thought I would try it out. I loved it. Buchholz does a great job covering past economists and educating the reader on basic economic principles. A great crash course into economics. Economics is like politics though, with two sides to everything, and I think Buchholz did a good job presenting both sides. I learned a great deal from the book and maybe...more
Annie
I read this book a few years ago, but so many of the ideas have stuck with me. If you are looking for a funny, accessible book to broaden your understanding of economics, New Ideas From Dead Economists is for you. Covering famous names like Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Thomas Malthus and so many others, Buchholz will teach you how these dead economists relate to our current capitalist economy in no time. For a book read for class, I liked this surprisingly well and am still using knowledge g...more
Safar
مراجعة ممتازة للتاريخ الاقتصادي
Laurel
Considering I usually don't enjoy non-fiction books, this one was very interesting. I'll admit that I had to read it for my economics class, but I read it in a couple of days because it wasn't tedious. Buchholz uses casual language, wit and stories to explain economists and their theories, but also makes it interesting and fun. I really learned a great deal, and enjoyed myself while doing it. I think I may even understand economics a little better. If I could find more non-fiction books like thi...more
Ken
Very good book. It did a great job of taking me through the history of economics and started with the father, Adam Smith. I loved learning about other prominent economists. I can't believe that Keynes was actually pretty smart, he had it mostly right, he just missed a part of it, unfortunately it is a big part. I like Ricardo alot as well. But, beyond Smith, Friedman is still on top.

I recommend this book to anyone who wnats to learn about why we are economically where we are and how our governme...more
Justin
Malthus is my favorite economist / philosopher just because there have been so many like him who probably don't even know who he is. The chapter on him is great, as is the short bit on Veblen. Would have liked to see more stuff on the more radical laissez-faire economists (Hayek, Mises), especially from someone so critical of Marx, but other than that I can't complain. A great round-up of economic thought over the last few centuries, from Adam Smith on.
Jody
This is a good book for anyone trying to understand the different schools of economic thought and where they originated. It's in chronological order, so that helps put things in place. I read it from time to time to refresh my memory about where a certain economist fits in. It's always astounding how potent the ideas of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes are even today. It's very readable, you don't have to love economics to like this book.
Christopher
Justice Brandeis said that "a lawyer who has not studied economics…is very apt to become a public enemy.”

As I am embarking on the study of law, and I wish never to become a public enemy, this book was a good beginning to economic thought from Adam Smith to the present day. The author compares the book to rollerskating through the Louvre and catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa smile. Certainly he has enticed me to study further.
Kari
p. 313: "The modern world presents us with so many more opportunities that we cannot be good predictors of our own lives, much less of our children's. Our children are no longer raised by people who know the world, not because parents have gotten stupid or lazy, but because the world has gotten too big to master. Parents must eventually learn to teach their children how to handle uncertainty--not how to ensure stability."
Kate Hall
Personally, I liked "Worldly Philosophers" by Robert L. Heilbroner better but this book is still informative and entertaining. It's probably an easier read than Worldly Philosophers with a lot of the same information. It's a good introductory overview of economic thought.

"Marginalism declares that the past is behind you. The issue is whether to step forward, and the starting point is where you are now"
Oliver Bateman
Todd Buchholz's discussion of different economic theories is lucid and accessible. Heilbroner's THE WORLDLY PHILOSOPHERS provides better historical context, but NEW IDEAS is a useful primer for people who didn't major in economics. Buchholz's center-right leanings don't appear to influence his analyses, but given my own political leanings you probably shouldn't take my word for that.
Matthew
This book taught me that the subject of economics can be fun and interesting. It makes you wonder though, if these economists who are long since deceased had the answers to our modern day problems, then why is it taking us so long to get our crap together. I mean seriously, we have only had the last few hundred years to figure it out, what would a few hundred more hurt, huh?
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A well-known American economist and a former senior economic advisor at the White House, Buchholz holds advanced degrees from Cambridge University and Harvard, where he won the Allyn Young Teaching Prize. Buchholz is known for being on the short list for Federal Reserve considerations in 2006. He frequently writes for newspapers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, in addition t...more
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