Naiya's Reviews > Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan
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Sep 09, 11

Read from August 14 to September 09, 2011 — I own a copy

When I dove into this book, I realized a few things very quickly.

1. Wheelan doesn’t make empty promises when it comes to a no-math approach to economics. There are no graphs, charts, or number crunching. Even Bill Bryson, who made space and geography fun, hadn’t managed to do that. Plus respect points to Wheelan!

2. It might have been a much dryer read if I hadn’t already had a small amount of economic background. I breezed through the first few chapters, and only started slowing down when it got to talking about the recent economic crisis and Wall Street.

3. It’s fun! The narrator pulls out plenty of amusing anecdotes that had me chortling.

4. The approach and context is US-specific rather than global. If you’re international, mileage may vary!

What about the book in general?

Ideologically, it takes the middle ground between the kind of rhetoric I listened to last night during the US Republican debate (see upside down canary for more details) and the kind of approach proposed by economists like Jeffrey Sachs (if you like non-fiction, neoliberalism, and NPR, check out The End of Poverty).

Indeed, most of the content in the first half of Naked Economics was standard textbook material, minus the canary-numbing, narcolepsy-inducing dryness. It answered questions such as “what in the world does the US Federal Reserve do?”, ”Why are set prices and rent ceilings a terrible idea that makes everything pricier, not cheaper?” and “Why can’t we just print money–oh wait, we do? How does that work?”

You can see my full review here.

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