Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery” as Want to Read:
Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  186 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Giving a glimpse of the essential science of economics, this book tells the story of what has come to be called the new growth theory: the paradox identified by Adam Smith, its disappearance and occasional resurfacing in the 19th century, and the development of various technical tools in the 20th century.
Hardcover, 410 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 26, 2007 Vikas marked it as to-read

In October 1990, Paul Romer, a 36-year-old University of Chicago economist, published a 32-page article, ‘Endogenous technological change’ in the Journal of Political Economy. Now, here is a whole book about that paper: Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations by David Warsh ( ).

The first paragraph of Romer’s paper had this sentence: “The distinguishing feature of… technology as an input is that it is neither a conventional good nor a public good; it is a non-rival, partially
Aug 25, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about how economics is done using the journey to publication and impact of David Romer's 1990 paper 'Endogenous Technological Change' as its vehicle.

The first half of the book is a decent if rambling history of economic thought on the question of why economies grow over time, especially considering that so much economics is based on the notion of diminishing returns. The second half of the book looks at how Romer sought to escape from diminishing returns. This half is equally rambl
Ignacio De Leon
Jun 23, 2014 Ignacio De Leon rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that gives a historical account of the evolution of economic thinking through Kuhnian "paradigms": one of equilibrium (neoclassical) and one of evolutionary progress. Conventional neoclassical economics has a hard time explaining innovation, and the production of wealth; this is clearly understood if one realizes how David Ricardo's misled emphasis on equilibrium and economic modelling "purity", sent economic science into a scientific "path dependence" that constrained queries abo ...more
Jul 11, 2007 Raf rated it really liked it
Shelves: nerd
I was really into this book as I was reading it, and it exposed me to ideas that have really changed the way I look at things.

For instance, the idea of prizes as incentives for invention working well (like $10B or however much for the cure for malaria), and the importance not only of technology, but also regulations and infrastructure on economic growth.

Also, I had never read any of those urban theory (e.g. Jane Jacobs) books, so the idea of the persistence of diverse cities over non-diverse (
Roel Peters
Aug 28, 2016 Roel Peters rated it liked it
This book isn't like any other book. It is a timeline of the economics profession, starting with the classical economists and ending with Romer. Those interested in reading this book should beware. As half the book is about Romer's life and work, a disproportionate amount of pages is spent on the last 40 years of the economics profession and the subject of endogenous economic growth. I would not recommend this book to just anyone. Some serious interest in economic science is really needed to com ...more
Jan 14, 2008 Dwight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to believe, but Warsh, a journalist, really makes the stories of economists and their theories -- and arguments -- come alive. Truly a good story well told. I learned much about economists whose economics I knew -- Lester Thurow, Paul Krugman, Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes, etc. -- but knew nothing about the men (and a few women). Especially good on sorting out the theoretical roots of the more popular economists of our current times.
Jun 26, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: economics majors
This is a pretty good read in two halves. The first is kind of a breezy history of economic thought from Smith going forward, including some dichotomies about specialization and increasing returns. The second is sort of soap operaish stuff from the economic profession talking about the evolution this notion of "endogenous" growth.

Some interesting stuff in here. The story of anti-Semitism pushing Milton Friedman getting run out of University of Wisconsin was kind of interesting.
Jan 23, 2016 Igor rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Not the best popular book on the history of economic thought (that title should go to Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophers), but the only one I know that tells in detail about the developments in the economics since 1940s. Story is focused on the ideas concerning economic growth and the role of knowledge and technology. Insider account on the workings of economics as a discipline, with its journals, annual meetings and textbook industry, was especially interesting.
Arolyn Williams
Sep 09, 2008 Arolyn Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the last book I expected to be a page turner, but Warsh made the excitement of economic history and discovery very real. Although some of the things were out of my grasp -infinite dimensional spreadsheets for example - it didn't seem to matter or affect my overall understanding of the book. Yay for the dismal science!
Lynne Williamson
Mar 07, 2010 Lynne Williamson rated it liked it
I learned that economists need to get out into the real world, the neighborhood right outside their doors, to find out how real people, not mathematical symbols, react. There is a key factor missing in econometrics, and we don't know enough yet about the human brain to make accurate predictions with that "unknown" in the formulas.
Oct 16, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it
Recounting the history of the economics of growth and development, this book covers a very interesting topic, if heavy on the intellectual history and discipline politics. Nit was many interesting parts but as a whole is quite wide ranging and unfocused both at times throughout and in its overall conclusions (which are mostly ambiguous).
Jan 26, 2012 Ariadna73 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economy
Knowledge and the Wealth Of Nations is a difficult book to read because it is highly philosophical in trying to explain how knowledge is the base of the assets that nations have. It is difficult because it leaves so many questions unanswered; such as what is exactly what they understand by knowledge and more important; how is it storaged so it can count as part of the wealth of a nation.
Mar 13, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A book about Economics and the Economics profession. Outlines the development of a theory of how knowledge and invention lead to Economic growth, and the modern world that we live in. Great for anyone who has taken at least some undergraduate economics.
Nov 10, 2009 Joel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting concept, but the concepts are too complex and not explained well enough to really allow the reader to appreciate the developments in economic theory the author is trying to detail. I did learn more about the world of academic economics...but who cares?
Mac Read
Dec 19, 2014 Mac Read rated it it was ok
did not finish it.
Jun 06, 2007 Divakar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Traces an invisible college behind a body of work and how paradigm shifts take place..
Vikesh Koul
Aug 24, 2014 Vikesh Koul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brings the work of Paul Romer and other economists to life. An interesting book to read.
Feb 08, 2008 Dsanford rated it liked it
Another on the revolution occurring in Economics
Vip Vinyaratn
interesting story indeed
Thai Son
Jul 10, 2012 Thai Son rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Very enchanting writing. In a journalistic way. Very "male". An good exposition on the field of economics.
I will probably like it if I have to reread, just for the writing.
Daphne Vanherk
Daphne Vanherk rated it liked it
Jun 13, 2013
Zubin rated it liked it
Aug 28, 2010
Diesel rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2014
Sean rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2009
Fernando rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2016
Steve Scaramuzzo
Steve Scaramuzzo rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2010
David rated it liked it
Aug 13, 2009
Andy rated it really liked it
Mar 09, 2012
David Robertus
David Robertus rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2010
Tim Kohn
Tim Kohn rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
  • Pop Internationalism
  • A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
  • An Economic Theory of Democracy
  • One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth
  • The World's Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations
  • In Defense of Globalization
  • Revolutionary Wealth
  • The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information
  • The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
  • The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics
  • Grand Pursuit: A History of Economic Genius
  • The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, And the Radical Remaking of Economics
  • The American Presidents: Biographies of the Chief Executives from Washington Through Clinton (Guild America Books)
  • The Travels of A T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade
  • Micromotives and Macrobehavior
  • Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
  • Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life

Share This Book