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Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,210 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Now revised and updateduthe acclaimed companion volume to the hugely successful "Basic Economics," by one of AmericaOCOs most revered economists.
ebook, 350 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published November 12th 2003)
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Feb 06, 2011 Carla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading several articles/essays/excerpts from Thomas Sowell in undergrad. He has the great ability of making economics accessible though his clear writing style and simple presentation of ideas. However, in this particular book, it was just that - the simplicity - that bothered me.

The whole premise of the book is that we should "think beyond stage one" and consider long-term effects of policies and practices. Sowell describes the (usually unintended) negative effects of certain polici
Mike Coville
Nov 25, 2015 Mike Coville rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that everyone needs to read at least once in the life, if not a dozen times. The idea placed forward by Thomas Sowell will effect the way to approach any situation in your life, and will definitely change your perspective on society at large.
The title would have you believe this would be a more thorough-going followup to Sowell's fantastic "Basic Economics", with a greater emphasis on practical, real-world problems and proffered solutions evaluated by empirical analyses. That is not the case. "Applied Economics" treads a lot of familiar ground for those acquainted with Sowell and makes many of the same arguments found in Basic Economics, only from a more obviously biased perspective. The level of research in the material covered is ...more
Suzie Quint
I know people think economics is a boring topic, and it can be. So can anything if it's not well presented. But one of the reasons I'm an economics junkie is that, when it's presented well, it's also a history lesson. But it's not just what happened but *why* it happened. Because fundamentally economics is the study of incentives. It's "people did this because this situation made it appealing." And then economists look at history and, yup, over and over, from one time and place to the next, when ...more
Jun 23, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Sowell's "Applied Economics" ought to be required reading in every high school and college economics, politics, and English courses. While Mr. Sowell is Ph.D economist and fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, his ideas are useful even to the non-economist. As a society, we tend to be taken in too easily by people who make irrational arguments that sound good at first glance but produce miserable results since no one thought about the next step. Often times, too many words are polit ...more
Mark Geise
May 24, 2016 Mark Geise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One” is another great work by Thomas Sowell. This book is more of a summation of other, more detailed books of Sowell’s. Rather than being about one particular topic like education or affirmative action, this unifies his positions and approaches to various issues into one book. Thus, most of the examples he uses are drawn from other books he has written. The unifying idea behind this book is that we must think of other consequences of actions beyond the ...more
While this purports to be a follow-on to the author's Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy, it felt more like a re-hashing of the supporting from that earlier volume.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, as we almost all need to "think beyond stage one" in our quest to achieve economic and/or political goals. Sowell treats this problem well, generally avoiding saying what is 'right' versus 'wrong' in a moral sense, but instead focuses on explaining the trade-offs and knock-on effects
Jarrod Jenkins
Nov 20, 2008 Jarrod Jenkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Reinforces the idea that working hard in America leads to success. Like it or not, those who are poor or fail almost certainly made a series of wrong choices throughout their lives. There is simply too much opportunity in our country. Incentives are everything.

Memorable quotes:

"Even the top FIVE percent of households by income had more heads of household who worked full-time for 50 or more weeks a year than did the bottom 20 percent. In absolute numbers, there were 3.9 million heads of household
Jul 26, 2010 Lucas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, economics
After chapter upon chapter telling of the counter-productiveness of government intervention in markets, the immigration section is entirely out of place. Apparently there's nothing wrong with heavy regulation and central planning in the case of workers wanting to cross borders. The lack of an appropriately weighty explanation for the inconsistency with the rest of the book casts everything else into doubt. Instead of a coherent and principled set of arguments, all the rest could be cherry picked ...more
Michael Palkowski
Jul 09, 2014 Michael Palkowski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sowell's points are ludicrously grounded and clear, which is perfect for not only a parsimonious read but also in understanding dense economic theory in context. His treatment of the housing bubble is stellar as is his insistence in looking beyond the initial stages of policy. Looking at reverberations and side effects of well meaning legislation is something that is rarely considered, but Sowell does it masterfully here, to the point that his pronouncements seem like common sense; this is the m ...more
May 14, 2016 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
An enlightening book that dispels the common tropes bandied about the media and political spectrum these days. Even if you have a hard time agreeing with his research and conclusions, his analysis of 'political action' not thinking beyond stage 1, with respect to long term consequences, is an appropriate critique of all political parties.

Yes, this is an economic book, similar to 'Freakinomics' but more brainy.

I have read two Thomas Sowell books and found both to be incredibly enlightening, he
Steve Schardein
Mar 02, 2014 Steve Schardein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another fantastic exploration through all things economic, social, and political, guided by none other than master economist Thomas Sowell. This particular book addresses the consequences associated with "stage one thinking", which just happens to be a common point of failure for a huge number of modern politicians and a shockingly vast majority of the voting constituents today. As always, he matter-of-factly spells out how such thinking has gotten us into grave trouble in the past, and he d ...more
May 23, 2015 Sylvester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, history, essays
Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One goes beyond Basic Economics and looking at the different styles of thinking patterns can ave drastically different outcomes. Stage one thinking is the common misconception thinking of focusing on the present, Multiple stages thinking looks to the past experiences and future implications.

Sowell differentiated the different thinking to various topics from Racism and Slavery to housing, healthcare and education.

It's a good read for anyone interested in w
Mar 12, 2015 Jen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read a decent range of material I think and ive taken economics classes in college and I enjoy reading about economics, but I hated this book. Sowell is a white man who can't see past his own privilege, who pulls bunk out of his ass thinly veiled as economics to explain away problems that clearly exist for reasons beyond just that. His explanations are overly simplistic as he cycles through three reasons for every theme he addresses. Slogging through this book it felt like all those puss bags ...more
Wayne Farris
A thought provoking book that gets just a bit tedious at times. Still a good book that I am glad I read. After the introduction and first chapter or two you could just choose the topics in which you have the most interest. I especially enjoyed the gun control and housing sections. The book explores the unintended or "stage two" or "stage three" consequences of political responses to problems and how those consequences aren't realized for years. By then the consequences are frequently blamed on s ...more
Nov 15, 2015 Vince rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stowell makes some very good points, even in arguing some positions that I do not agree with. generally his economic takes are sound but in many cases he fails to propose a system that would work better, or explore solutions to the issues he presents that do not require a fundamental paradigm shift but rather a small tweak to align incentives. His chapter on emigration starts out rational enough, but the chapter devolves a bit into a less rational decrying of immigrants.
Oct 26, 2014 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alex by: 100
The good thing about this book is that after the first few chapters, you can start from any chapter and follow/understand the application of a particular economic principle. The bad thing about this book is that for anyone who is familiar with economics, most of these principles have been nailed into their brains over the course of time. If you like these kind of books, I would recommend Freakonomics instead of this book!
Good, common sense stuff on the economics of such things as insurance, the development of nations, labor (free and paid), and housing, and how economics relates with such things as politics and discrimination. His argument is that many, especially politicians, don't think past the immediate payoffs of economic decisions to the long-term consequences. Many helpful examples populate the book.
Sean Crowley
Jul 23, 2014 Sean Crowley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Masterful practical explanation of Economics as applied to various aspects of Civilization over time. Brilliant use of practical economics to illustrate how it has impacted civilizations development or lack thereof. I must read more of Sowells work.
Hossam Saed Samy
يصف الكاتب بعد المسائل الأقتصادية العامة و يرربط بينها و بين الحكومات و الشعوب بطريقة عملية بعيدة عن المصطلحات و الكلمات النظرية متخذا من الولايات المتحدة و انجلترا و الأتحاد السوفيتى السابق امثلة على المسائل المفروضة بالكتاب
Nathan Newcomer
May 17, 2014 Nathan Newcomer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the clearest books on economics out there. Sowell smashes long-held thoughts and beliefs with inscrutable logic and common-day English. It's the everyman's economics book with a punch.
Ari Lapin
Jun 10, 2014 Ari Lapin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His chapter on "The Economics of Medical Care" is a must-read for anyone who doesn't want to be an ultracrepidarian when discussing present-day healthcare issues.
Rejeev Divakaran
Must read for anybody interested in economics or social sciences - economics of politics, race, migration, global economics etc.
Spencer Marlen-starr
Not as good as Basic Economics by the same author, but this is still an excellent read.
Mar 11, 2015 Jared rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insight into how basic economic theories play out in real life.
Larry Henry
Nov 07, 2015 Larry Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
simplistic understanding of economics great read.
Clark Masterson
Sep 02, 2014 Clark Masterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read, clear, concise, well described principles.
Mar 17, 2016 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
opened strong, last two chapters weren't great
Abdullah Al-Abri
Dec 06, 2015 Abdullah Al-Abri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it to be good book in economic
Jul 15, 2009 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must read for understanding what is happening in the political arena with health care and a variety of issues that are threatening the economics of the free market. Stage one is where politicians and the people want solutions but there are three stages afterwards where the consequences follow. These consequences are what will destroy the effectiveness of the free market and the constraints put upon it by supply and demand and other economic principles. I loved his assessment of th ...more
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Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholars ...more
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