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Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Naked)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,202 Ratings  ·  697 Reviews
Naked Economics makes up for all of those Econ 101 lectures you slept through (or avoided) in college, demystifying key concepts, laying bare the truths behind the numbers, and answering those questions you have always been too embarrassed to ask. For all the discussion of Alan Greenspan in the media, does anyone know what the Fed actually does? And what about those blacko ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Megan
A highly ideological piece masquerading as a non-controversial introduction to economics. Wheelan proclaims that economics is amoral and apolitical, and then goes on to give very detailed political descriptions about what government should be. He also seems attached to the false dichotomy of 'free' markets vs. communist state economies - though he does recognize that the neoconservative vision that markets will operate efficiently without government is, as he puts it, 'nonsense.'

I wanted to rea
...more
Christopher
Jun 01, 2007 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loveit
Why did the chicken cross the road? To maximize his utility!

If you like this joke as much as I do, congratulations! You're an uber-nerd, and this is the perfect book for you. If you don't like the joke, stay away from my parties. Either way, this book is a very thorough, very clear explanation of a good foundation of economic principles, written with the non-Economists among us in mind. Why are tariffs bad? In what ways are sweatshops good? Why does everyone care so much about interest rates, an
...more
Hajar Alobaid
May 08, 2012 Hajar Alobaid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites


يتطرّق الكتاب إلى بعض من أكثر المفاهيم تأثيراً في الاقتصاد ، و لكنه يُبسّط الرواسخ المعقّدة أو يتخطّاها بالكامل . يُغطي كل فصل موضوعات يمكن أن تؤلف في كل منها كتاباً كاملاً .

ثمّة نقاط ثانويّة في كل فصلٍ تُشكل كل منها الآن حياة مهنيّة أكاديميّة كاملة . لايحتاج المرء أن يتكبّد العناء لكي يُدرك عظمة شئٍ ما ،
فهذا الكتاب غير موجّه لمحدودي الفهم بل موجّه للأذكياء ممن لم يدرسوا الاقتصاد من قبل . إن معظم الأفكار المهمّة التي يقوم عليها علم الاقتصاد تستتر خلف مجموعة من الأغطية التي تنطوي على كثيرٍ من
...more
Carl
Jul 08, 2007 Carl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to feel smarter
"Charles Wheelan Tells It Like It Is" would be an equally appropriate title for this fucking awesome overview on all things economic in this world. As someone who's read more than a few of the popular economics books currently glutting the market, and as a economics major in college, I was skeptical that this book could teach me anything I didn't already know or entertain me with wry anecdotes. What surprised me was actually that: the wry anecdotes and useful explanations such as what "fast-trac ...more
Dan Phillips
May 11, 2012 Dan Phillips rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
When I got into the second half of this book, I was joking with Amy that the experience was threatening to turn me into a Republican. Which was especially odd since the beginning chapters made me realize instantly how politically agnostic the actual science of economics is. Like any discipline, it's just another framework through which one can view -- and hopefully understand -- the world. (And there are plenty of lefty economists out there -- I subscribe to Paul Krugman's blog already, so...)

I'
...more
Serene
Apart from news articles, the last time I read any book on economics was high school. I found Naked Economics explained how Western (primarily US) economic systems worked in very simple, easy to understand language. Particularly in these troubled times, learning how the Federal Reserve and other government agencies try to tweak the economy to encourage fairness and stability. He is unabashedly pro-trade and explains his stance well, which helped me to understand it, though I can't say he address ...more
عبدالرحمن عقاب
منذ مدة وأنا أحاول الولوج إلى عالم الإقتصاد البحت، خاصة بعد اشتغالي بالإقتصاد السلوكي behavioural economic والذي تخالف أطروحاته و غالب أفكاره الإقتصاد التقليدي من حيث سلوك الإنسان المتوقع.
وكلما سمعت مصطلحات الإقتصاديين أو مررن بها شعرت بجهلي من جهة، وبحاجتي على فهم هذا العلم من جهة أخرى.
وقد هداني الله لهذاالكتاب كمقدمة ومدخل لفهم الإقتصاد (بالإضافة إلى كتب أخرى وفيديوهات) أرجو من الله أن تكون كافية ووافية لمهتم غير متخصص مثلي.
يعرض الكتاب (الإقتصاد عاريا) لمفاهيم عديدة وكثيرة من تلك التي يكثر
...more
Ali Gilani
Oct 25, 2015 Ali Gilani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is an interesting primer on economics. It is no doubt ideological but the author has given strong arguments for the ideological position he has taken. The book, however, is limited as it is only good for understanding market based economy. It doesn't shed light on feudalism and tribal societies economics and the complex socio-political and economic relations such societies wield. Apart from such limitations, the book convincingly give arguments for free trade, globalization and market b ...more
Billie Pritchett
Oct 23, 2015 Billie Pritchett rated it it was amazing
UPDATE (06/08/13):
I reread Charles Wheelan's Naked Economics, revisiting it now about four years later. It is still one of my favorite books, but I do have a more modest perspective of it now. I'll try to provide a better summary of Wheelan's book than I did four years ago.

A market economy is really just a name for the transaction of buying and selling goods and services, and the scarcer the goods and services and the more demand, the more people are willing to pay for them. This explains in par
...more
Adrian
Jan 28, 2008 Adrian rated it it was ok
Great primer on the often dull world of economics. No charts, calculus, or arcane math, lots of good examples of problems and issues that we all are affected by but don't have much understanding of. Things like the Fed, interest rates, trade balances, taxes, etc are covered and made easy to process. My biggest problem is the lack of discussion of things like outsourcing, debt, and currency issues and how they are actually affecting our economy. I'd like to see a book that is not so theoretical o ...more
أحمد
Mar 21, 2016 أحمد rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
علاقتى بعلم الاقتصاد علاقة مرتبكة لا تسير على خط واحد
لكن يسودها فى الأغلب علاقة ضجر وجفاء
بدأ الأمر فى سنة 2009 كنت وقتها تلميذا فى السنة الجامعية الأولى من كلية التجارة قسم اللغة الانجليزية ...الأستاذ الذى كان يشرح لنا المادة كان عجوزا تخطى السبعين من عمره بمراحل ...بذىء اللسان جدا ..لا يتورع عن السب والشتم أن تجرأ طالب وسأله عن نقطة ما لا يفهمها ..فكان أغلبنا يكتفى بالسكوت...بعد أسابيع انقطعت انا تماما عن حضور هذه المحاضرات الباردة واكتفيت بالعكوف الكامل على الكتاب الذى ندرسه
... فى وقتها كنا
...more
Ahmed Nasser
Feb 20, 2014 Ahmed Nasser rated it really liked it
مع دراستي لمادة الاقتصاد الجزئي هذا الفصل في الجامعة ، عزمت على تخصيص جزء اكبر للقرآءة في الاقتصاد و المال كضربة استباقية لهذه المادة الدسمة التي يسأم من دراستها الطلاب ، و سعياً لفهم أفضل في المجال الذي أرى نفسي فيه ، فكانت البداية بهذا الكتاب.


"الاقتصاد عارياً" .. عنوان ملفت و يوحي بالبساطة في الشرح و التناول ، وهو كذلك إلى حد بعيد. قد تكون تلك مزية هذا الكتاب البارزة ، و لكنها في الوقت ذاته عيبه الذي يفضي إلى عدم اكتمال صورة المفاهيم الاقتصادية في ذهن القارئ و التي في كثير من الاحيان تحتاج إلى
...more
Faiza Ahmed
كتاب اقتصادي لكن بااسلوب بسيط وسلسل..كيف لمدينة مثل شيكاغو أن تجمع بين النقائض في نفس اللحظة التي يشتري فيها أحد الاثرياء كيكة عيد ميلاد حيوانه الاليف " الكلب" لتجد في الجهة المقابلة الالاف المشردين والذين هم بلا مأوى..الكاتب غالبا يمجد الرأسمالية ويشيد بالفوائد الجمة التي جلبتها الرأسمالية للعالم..بالاضافة الى شرح عن خطر رفع الضرائب والتقليل من الانفاق الحكومي مستندا إلى دراسات علماء الاقتصاد في أمريكا..أكثر جزئية عجبتني في الكتاب كانت تلك الجزئية التي تتحدث عن الرأس المالي البشري..جاري بيكر-ال ...more
Kathy
Apr 09, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
If you are interested in learning about economics but find the topic somewhat confusing and boring, this book breaks down the major concepts in a way that makes it interesting and understandable. Wheelan is a witty and sarcastic man which added greatly to his stories and real life examples he used when supporting topics within economics. I am highly interested in developmental economics and his chapter on this topic broke down common misconceptions that people may have about developing countries ...more
Adam
Aug 14, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who buy things, Anti-capitalists, Kim Jong-Il, College Students, Irrational people
Recommended to Adam by: Nate
Grabbed this one from a friend, Nate, who kept a hold of it long after his Econ 101 course and, well, I'm glad he did!


Wheelan starts of by addressing the fact that many students who are forced to take Econ 101, or even do so by choice, are instantly turned away from the subject by dry texts, boring teachers and a heavy dependence on the mathematical aspects of the science.

In Naked Economics, Wheelan promises to not only offer a broad overview of this overlooked science but do so in turn without
...more
يوسف زهدى
Sep 14, 2013 يوسف زهدى rated it really liked it
A good piece of work! either its your first time to read about economics, or you did read about it before or even if you are advanced with economics (like i expect myself) you'll still find the book beneficial and enjoyable.

The book is divided to 12 chapters each addressing one economic issue, starting by most common issues we see at our daily life to country level economics and linking its different variables, then integrating most of them in the last chapter through discussing factors of devel
...more
Garima Mamgain
Mar 02, 2013 Garima Mamgain rated it really liked it
One of the best books on macro economics I have read. The author has very clear preferences and thoughts. I may or may not agree with all of them but loved his practical way of explaining economics. Must read!
Jeeministerofpartying
I would like to thank my AP Economics teacher for recommending such a piece of shit :) It was a time well spent!
Ari
Oct 22, 2015 Ari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic economic primer which skillfully introduces the reader to the most important economic concepts in a humorous and mostly detached manner. There are of course some minor things that I would take issue with, especially some simplified categorizations - but I trust that Wheelan is quite aware of this and has not done this in order to shoehorn any of his own ideas, but rather to make life simpler for the reader. I'm now working my way through more complex books on economics, which ...more
Kevin
Apr 07, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to give this book about 3.5 stars. This is a book designed to present the topic of economics to people who would not otherwise be that interested in it, and give them an introduction to core concepts that are necessary for general economic discussion. In some ways, it did accomplish that, but it had some shortcomings. It touched upon a lot of interaction between the government and economics, and had a more free market view than I anticipated. The emphasis was more on the number of e ...more
Marcy
Jun 25, 2010 Marcy rated it it was amazing
Economics has never been "my thing." I have never understood the way the economy runs in our country, or in the world. This book is great because there is no math or tables to study. It is a simple course, explaining the in's and out's of why global trade is good, why "creative destruction" for small businesses has to happen for the greater good of the economy, why real estate agents will move a seller's house quicker for less money than waiting for more money and a greater percentage, why "huma ...more
Eliot
Apr 15, 2013 Eliot rated it really liked it
This is the best non-technical introduction to macroeconomics that I've found thus far. Wheelan explains the concepts clearly and in a fairly entertaining manner. Granted, I already have an undergraduate degree in economics, so I don't necessarily represent the target demographic for this book, but it'll be the first I recommend to anyone who wants to understand why I'm still in school.

It looks like many of the negative reviews here are from leftists complaining that the author has a rightward/
...more
Rachelskirts
This was required reading for my microeconomics class, but I wish someone would have made me read it earlier. It provides a wonderfully simple and humorous and useful look at economics. Is it always a bad thing when the price of gas skyrockets? Not really. Is it a shame that some people work in sweatshops in China while trial lawyers here in the States earn $400? Maybe, but there are a lot of global benefits from those sweatshops. I could go on and on about all the great topics covered in this b ...more
Peter
Mar 22, 2012 Peter rated it it was ok
Insufferably smug on some sensitive topics

Although I found myself nodding in agreement at some points, there were others where I wanted to find a desk to bang my head against, for example the part on globalization. The author claims, not without merit, that it is simplistic and counterproductive to view Third World labor as little better than slavery. But he seems to think instead that Third World labor is little worse than capitalism itself, another viewpoint that is simplistic and problematic.
...more
Dave
Mar 11, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing
The greatest favor/disservice Wheelan did for me in Naked Economics was to make me feel competent enough to discuss and critique world situations from a macroeconomic perspective. This has done wonders for my confidence and investment in current affairs, but I feel sorry for anyone with real economic credentials who speaks with me in the future and has to listen to opinions based on my simplistic understanding of utility, demand curves, or inflation. I recommend this to anyone who wants to under ...more
therices1
Oct 18, 2009 therices1 rated it really liked it
Another book that Eric had to read for a class. I really liked it. Never read a book on econ before, but it was interesting. What I learned most from the book (not that I didn't know it before) was how important education is. I loved the analogy that it was better for a society to have a whole bunch of PhD educated people. So, who is the garbage man? Well, the salary would rise until someone thought it was a good enough salary to give up his PhD salary and job and become a garbage man. The socie ...more
CherDuchess
Feb 29, 2016 CherDuchess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title itself of the book is intriguing, but reading the book is funnier than people would think just hearing the word “economics”, because lets face it for some students even professionals the topic economics is boring. This book is a surprise, I had fun reading this that I was not able to put it down. As Book Magazine said “Explains our global economy in a way that is (gasp!) actually entertaining.”, with that kind of review who in their right mind would not be allured in reading this book. ...more
Iyad Al Aqel
Dec 31, 2013 Iyad Al Aqel rated it really liked it
As claimed by the author "A book about economics that won't put you to sleep"
If you have never read about economics before or if you dont understand economics fundamentals like taxes , incentives , government roles ..etc this book would be very beneficial and enjoyable for you.
I'm skeptical on whether this is a good introductory economics book since it has some vague business terms that are hard to grasp from the context but its definitely worth the time and enjoyable.
Ilian Bambekov
Mar 31, 2016 Ilian Bambekov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally an economics book that actually hooks the reader and makes him or her want to read it. This book is exceptional in that it provides a lot of basic economic reasoning, as well as offers a more complex and dynamic view of the politics behind our economy. Charles Wheelan is able to apply his knowledge of economics in a fascinating, comprehensible, but yet hilarious way.
There are 2 reasons as to why I believe that you should read this book as well. Wheelan provides a lot of complex inform
...more
Michael
Mar 09, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Naked economics is not just other economics textbook, rather it explains the basics of economics without putting its readers to sleep. Wheelan uses humor and entertaining examples to describe the basics of our economy both on a national and international level. Wheelan uses a very different writing style than a normal textbook, which is why I believe that this is a must read to all individuals who have any interest in economics. Throughout his book, he uses clever and well known examples, such a ...more
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Must have book! 2 30 Aug 30, 2013 10:48PM  
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Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.
More about Charles Wheelan...

Other Books in the Series

Naked (3 books)
  • Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data
  • Naked Money: A Revealing Look at What It Is and Why It Matters

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“When I applied to graduate school many years ago, I wrote an essay expressing my puzzlement at how a country that could put a man on the moon could still have people sleeping on the streets. Part of that problem is political will; we could take a lot of people off the streets tomorrow if we made it a national priority. But I have also come to realize that NASA had it easy. Rockets conform to the unchanging laws of physics. We know where the moon will be at a given time; we know precisely how fast a spacecraft will enter or exist the earth's orbit. If we get the equations right, the rocket will land where it is supposed to--always. Human beings are more complex than that. A recovering drug addict does not behave as predictably as a rocket in orbit. We don't have a formula for persuading a sixteen-year-old not to drop out of school. But we do have a powerful tool: We know that people seek to make themselves better off, however they may define that. Our best hope for improving the human condition is to understand why we act the way we do and then plan accordingly. Programs, organizations, and systems work better when they get the incentives right. It is like rowing downstream.” 23 likes
“A market economy is to economics what democracy is to government: a decent, if flawed, choice among many bad alternatives.” 6 likes
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