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Economics: The User's Guide

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,413 Ratings  ·  335 Reviews
In his bestselling 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang brilliantly debunked many of the predominant myths of neoclassical economics. Now, in an entertaining and accessible primer, he explains how the global economy actually works—in real-world terms. Writing with irreverent wit, a deep knowledge of history, and a disregard for ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Bloomsbury Press (first published May 1st 2014)
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Miguel Silva I think the answer is the title of Chapter 4, based on a Mao Zedong's quotation in page 81 that says: "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred…moreI think the answer is the title of Chapter 4, based on a Mao Zedong's quotation in page 81 that says: "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend".(less)

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Trevor
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
This is a really good book. A couple of years ago I decided it would be a good idea to get a better idea about what all the excitement was with this economics stuff. So, I set about reading some books. I also decided that I ought to read some books I was likely to disagree with, to get a better idea of the full spectrum of thought around this topic. Some of the threads under the reviews of the books I read that supported free market economics still occasionally flare up. I’m much more likely to ...more
Simon Wood
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TOO IMPORTANT TO BE LEFT TO ECONOMISTS

Ha-joon Changs "Economics: The User's Guide" is the first title in the newly resurrected Pelican imprint. Chang himself is best described as a heterodox economist, firmly outside the mainstream where neoclassical economics (not to mention neoliberalism) is the reigning creed. But given the multiple failings of orthodox economics the heterodox Chang with his cheerful style, wide learning and a clear and concise authorial voice make him the ideal candidate fo
...more
Mark Lawry
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
We all have our conversational biases. Mine is a belief in limited government, free trade, and market economies. Chang’s is a belief in a larger state, regulation, and a lack of faith in markets. That’s fine, we can all continually read and learn from each other. However, Chang tries to walk a fine line between being governed by his own biases while yet being continually wrong. There are just too many examples of this in this work. I will name just a couple. He claims “Only Chile did well out o ...more
Katia N
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5/5

Ha-Joon Chang is the economist from Cambridge. He broadly specialises in the field of development economics, but famous for his books “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.”  (I have not read that book).

I picked up “the Manual” with the idea of refreshing my knowledge of basic economics. For this purpose, I think, the book is not the best source, but I found a few very interesting and useful parts and ideas in the book nevertheless.

He splits the book in two parts. It is the secon
...more
Maru Kun
...when faced with an economic argument, you must ask the age-old question 'Cui bono?' - Who benefits?...


Or in other words, "follow the money".

So says Ha-Joon Chang in the epilogue to this excellent introduction to economics which shows how economic questions cannot be separated from political questions and which helps explain how politicians hide behind smokescreens of economic theory and economic jargon to advance policies that favour particular interest groups - more often than not the rich
...more
Elizabeth
I really wanted to like this, but I felt like looking at economics this way was more disjointed than helpful. Instead of presenting a textbook approach to economics, Ha-Joon Chang tackles it more conversationally. After digging into the history of economic thought he explores a variety of current events and shows their ties to economics. Readers may take away a greater appreciation for what economics can tell us, but they probably won't get an understanding of how to "do" economics.
Tanvika
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The people fearing economics
Irresistable, likeable introductory book to Economics. I can say that as being a economics student,have struggled quite a bit with the lame,dry, scientific, imaginary diagram prone idealistic neoclassical way of learning. The subject was also taught very very mechanically as a means to maximize our grades and careers.

The first thing the writer does is to break the ' hoax of being a science to be known only by specialist'. You don't need to be a genius to know what people do, why the price keeps
...more
Ed
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ha-joon-chang
This is a brilliant book that dismantles the current fetishism that tries to turn economics--a study of human behavior and its consequences with all the uncertainty and rough edges that any investigation of people and the way they act must contain--into a materialistic science like physics or chemistry with the same rigor and exactitude. The basic assumptions of classical, neo-classical, neo-liberal and most economic thought are based on some core principles which, when looked at apart from the ...more
linhtalinhtinh
This book serves well as an introduction to Economics and its different schools of thought. This is a welcoming effort since underlying assumptions are not so often spelled out clearly and examined. Admittedly, this is only an introduction and thus the examination is brief (to my taste), yet it would be a very useful one for people not in the field, baffled by the seemingly too complex economic issues, yet who wish to know more.

This is somewhat similar to Chang's other books in the author's crit
...more
Kanin Nitiwong
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
เขียนสนุก นาติดตาม และมองโลกในแงดี เหมาะเปนหนังสือสำหรับคนทีอยากเริมศึกษาเศรษฐศาสตรอยางแทจริง ...more
Jaka Haris Mustafa
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Buku bagus banget. Harusnya jadi buku wajib anak sekolah di Indonesia.

Jadi ingat komentar orang (di Facebook) yang bilang Jokowi plin-plan, gara-gara...:
dulu waktu di Jakarta, serapan anggaran rendah dibela dan argumennya "daripada korupsi". Tetapi begitu 2015 kemarin, serapan anggaran rendah dan pemerintah malah disuruh splurge.

Sebenarnya argumen (pembantunya) Jokowi itu bagus: mereka pakai paham Keynesian. Ketika pasar tidak dapat berfungsi dengan baik a.k.a pertumbuhan melemah, itulah saatnya
...more
บอมบุง พ่อยอดคะน้าอ่อน
รวบรวม concept ทัวไปเกียวกับเศรษฐศาสตร แตกยังมี jargon เตมไปหมด ผมเหนความพยายามของผูเขียนในการทำแนวคิดทียุงยากซับซอนใหงาย ซึงผูเขียนประสบความสำเรจในระดับหนึง

สิงทีชอบทีสุดของหนังสือคือบทสุดทายทียำชัดวาเศรษฐศาสตรเปนกึง Social Science ทีไมมีใครทราบวาวิธีการหรือแนวคิดไหนดีทีสุดและถูกตองทีสุด หัวใจของ Social Science คือการถกเถียงดวยเหตุผลจนตกผลึก มากกวาการทีบอกวาใครมีประสบการณมากกวา หรือเรียนจบมาสูงกวาตองถูกตองเสมอ

ชวนอานไวมาเถียงกันครับ :)
...more
Franz
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have found a new favorite author. Chang, an economist at Cambridge University, has written a reader-friendly guide that is sensible and fairly comprehensive. He is convinced that anyone who makes some effort can understand the basic principles of economics, and such knowledge is required for anyone who hopes to have some impact on decisions regarding our local, national, and global societies. In other words, all of us. He immediately admits that, contrary to the claims of many orthodox economi ...more
Maria
Jan 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ура, я добралась до конца этой книги!

Ожиданий не оправдалось. Возможно проблема была в ожиданиях - я думала. это такая экономика на пальцах для чайников. Оказалось, что нихрена - это вполне себе учебник по экономической теории, написанный языком учебника по экономической теории. Термины разъясняются плохо и сложно, примеров и аналогий совсем мало, ну и язык тоже из учебника - канцелярский, многоэтажный, когда к концу предложения уже не помнишь, с чего все начиналось. Но возможно это проблема пер
...more
Jim Angstadt
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dnf
Economics: The User's Guide
Ha-Joon Chang

I really like the way that Chang organizes this book. He uses multiple layers of summary to help keep the reader focused on the topic and related to the overall concepts. He even advises what to read if one only has a very limited time. For example, "If you have a couple of hours: Read Chapters 1 and 2 and then the Epilogue."

Chapters have sub-headings; within the sub-headings, every few paragraphs have a sub-sub heading that is in italic type. This makes s
...more
Misha Kuzemski
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ех, я добив її. Деколи варто пізнати «не твоє». Я ще типу не здаюсь, цей кореєць справді дуже круто пояснює, але складається враження, що економічна термінологія мене зведе з розуму.
Ви то читайте, можливо, у вас побільше буде накопичених знань для розуміння написаного.
Ibrahim Niftiyev
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
https://niftiyevibrahim.blogspot.com/

Bir çox iqtisadçılardan fərqli olaraq Kembric Universitetinin professoru Ha-Cun Çan bizə klassik iqtisad məktəbindən keynesyan nəzəriyyəyədək olan nəzəriyyələri bir-bir sıralayaraq onların hansı güclü və zəif cəhətlərə malik olduğunu göstərməyə çalışır. "İqtisadiyyat: istifadəçinin bələdçisi" iqtisadiyyata giriş xarakteri daşısa da, müəllif bizə qloballaşmış dünyamızda bir-biri ilə kifayət qədər mürəkkəb münasibətlərdə olan iqtisadi və maliyyə mexanizmləri və
...more
Tammam Aloudat
Who reads a book about economics on a holiday? I did and I have enjoyed every part of it immensely. Chang makes his book entertaining as one would expect from a novel. This is not to say that this is not the serious work of economy, it just address is a different audience. Those of us who aren't versed in the science and art of economics but still want to learn about it so to navigate our world.

I have always struggled to understand what economics are about and I hope the world of finance works.
...more
Otto Lehto
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
A decent overview of the subject of economics, written by the "maverick" Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang, whose books have challenged the status quo in a witty way. This book, however, is a bit flimsier. It doesn't really know what it wants to be: an introduction to the layman, or a critical commentary on the present state of the science? Therefore, it ends up being a bit of both.

It is full of good advice: "the willingness to challenge professonal economists and other experts should be the fou
...more
Niall Fitzpatrick
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's immediately clear the huge effort to make economics accessible for a casual reader. So many books about economics ride the tail of the latest crisis and can be more unhelpful as they espouse a particular solution without reference to wider economic history. It was shocking to read that some economics schools don't teach economic history!
Refreshingly this book doesn't favour between the different schools of thought but does offer an overview of how these outlooks developed. The overriding m
...more
Praveen
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
After 15 years of my graduation in economics i have never read a single book on "History of Economic Thought"
I just wanted to brush up my existing knowledge in History of Economics it turned out really good , since in the syllabus which i were thought ...i guess it covered only the thoughts till Milton Friedman and the only crisis which it explains was "Great Depression" no idea whether same has been revised or not because universities in our country are notorious in following age old syllabus..
...more
Dalila.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I received the book through Goodreads First Reads.

Ha-joon Changs "Economics: The User's Guide" is very interesting and a good book it is also very understandable for people like me who are not very familiar with economics After this book, everything will look different.
My recommendation
Peter Mcloughlin
I don't like the format of this book. It is like skittering around a webpage. I couldn't get into it. I liked his previous book 23 things they don't tell you about economics but this one is too scattered for me to get into.
Francisco
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-ficción, ensayo
El autor es un economista «heterodoxo» es decir, uno que no sigue a una escuela económica específica sino que busca arribar a conclusiones a partir de una síntesis aplicando las mejores soluciones disponibles. En este libro Chang busca contarle a un lector lego qué es la economía y por qué es importante pero también derribar ciertos mitos e incluso criticar a la propia economía, sobre todo a su pretensión generalizadora y a la hegemonía de la escuela neoclásica como única explicación posible de ...more
Thomas
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A concise and sometimes witty overview. Chang's leftist tendency is apparent mostly by contrast to the conservatism running rampant in the world today, an attitude which dismisses the economic success of a county like Norway out-of-hand because it isn't based purely on market-based neoclassical economics. In other words, not American. Because I am an American with an American education and consume American news, I was a little surprised by Chang's holistic approach. Economics considers more than ...more
Alexander Barnstone
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ha - Joon Chang provides an easy to read exploration of many facets of the field of economics. The book gives the reader a basic coverage a wide range of topics including the history or capitalism, the dimensions of international trade, the way we view production, the different schools of economic thought, and the relationship between politics and economics. The book is extraordinarily useful in that with each overview it provides further readings the reader can choose to pursue if they desire - ...more
Utopiasdevalentino
Aquí vemos la economía como parte esencial de la vida, realizando un análisis de la mercancía, el dinero y el capital, intenta combinarlos con las posiciones esenciales de la modernidad capitalista. Posee un léxico coloquial para el entendimiento de la economía a grandes rasgos. El autor emplea terminología especializada y concisa. Es economía para el 99% de la población este libro es economía para Dummies. Al entrar a un tema nuevo del cual se carece conocimiento antes de haberlo estudiado, lib ...more
Emma Sea
Sep 25, 2017 marked it as on-hiatus  ·  review of another edition
gah, this has to go back to the library and I haven't finished :(
Subvert
Ended up finishing book even though I was never sure if it was completely worth it for me. I think I expected it something else, something more textbook like. I dont have a background in economics, but have a strong interest in political economy and been following things since 2008. So there wasn't so much new stuff in it for me somehow. It didnt go very deep most of the time. Still, especially in the beginning, it was a pleasant read filled with cultural references and I was quickly through a b ...more
Luiz Gustavo Givisiez
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
É um curso de economia que aborda os principais temas com didática e elegância argumentativa. É um excelente complemento para a formação econômica. Passei a ver muitas coisas para as quais não havia atentado no mercado de trabalho, na estrutura organizacional das empresas e na centralidade da indústria como promotora da inovação. Dos cursos completos de economia que li até hoje, é o melhor deles de longe.
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Ha-Joon Chang teaches economics at Cambridge University. His book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism was a no.1 bestseller and was called by the Observer 'a witty and timely debunking of some of the biggest myths surrounding the global economy.' He is a popular columnist at the Guardian, and a vocal critic of the failures of our economic system.
More about Ha-Joon Chang
“95% of economics is common sense” 11 likes
“Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science; there are no objective truths in economics that can be established independently of political, and frequently moral, judgements. Therefore, when faced with an economic argument, you must ask the age-old question ‘Cui bono?’ (Who benefits?), first made famous by the Roman statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.” 5 likes
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