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A Little History of Economics

(Little History)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,094 ratings  ·  271 reviews
What causes poverty? Are economic crises inevitable under capitalism? Is government intervention in an economy a helpful approach or a disastrous idea? The answers to such basic economic questions matter to everyone, yet the unfamiliar jargon and math of economics can seem daunting. This clear, accessible, and even humorous book is ideal for young readers new to economics ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Yale University Press (first published March 3rd 2017)
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Miltiadis Michalopoulos A very good question. I certainly feel that this book will help you a lot. It presents all existing theories on economics from Aristotle to the 21st c…moreA very good question. I certainly feel that this book will help you a lot. It presents all existing theories on economics from Aristotle to the 21st century and it is both entertaining and scientific. Every theory is explained in a very intelligible way. This tells a lot about the author. It is a book easy to read but not simplified; It is food for thought. As I said, I got a great lesson after reading this book. As a Greek I hear and read a lot of wise recipies for saving the Greek economy. Having viewed the existence of so many and contradicting theories from antiquity to day, I understood that there is no magic recipy for the economy. And I got interested in looking more into it. And yes, I think that you should have this book. (less)

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Always Pouting
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I want to read the writing of influential thinkers but I'm an idiot with very limited patience so it never works out well. Especially the older the writing, seriously I feel like part of me dies every time I force myself to read something complex and sophisticated that changed the way we all think. So when I find books like this I feel so relieved and happy, I can not even express how great these books are. The author basically distilled down all the major schools of thinking and theories of eco ...more
Bernard O'Leary
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written in the style of maybe the greatest children's non-fiction book of all time, A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich, this volume tries to summarise the development of economic thinking from the Greeks right up until the present day.

It does a great job of summing up the dismal science and following the thread of how ideas have been formed, popularised, and been revised in the face of economic catastrophe. Kishtany does his best to make the material intelligible for younger readers
ashley c
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very beginner-friendly read if you have absolutely no background in economics and want to know a whole bunch of ideas really quickly. It details, in very simple terms, how our current idea of economics was formed, developed, changed by big events, and eventually settled into our current 2020 model. The book explains various schools of thought and the history of trade, money, credit, and more.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
the good:
- an easy, quick and simple summary of many important economic ideas
- ratio of breadth to depth is pretty much perfect for this kind of book
- author emphasizes the relevance of economic theories to reality, which keeps it engaging
- does a pretty good job of remaining impartial and unbiased
- tackles a wide range of concepts from different periods and perspectives
- language is accessible and humorous
- a great reminder of why studying economics (especially from theoretical and historical
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
A simply amazing read. Upon first glance, I was enthused; I favored the cover.

The author led us through the beginnings of economic systems in Greece all the way through today. Along the journey I was able to derive many new concepts and meet many interesting characters.

Who'd know that in one, fun, fast paced economics book, I'd learn about the real Professor Nash, Che Guevara, Castro, Keynes, supply side economics, and so much more.

However, when our author has convinced us that we've now explore
محمد جمال
Economics is boring, no doubt.
but this book did its job, introducing brief history of this most boring field in the simplest way possible. it's a really good introduction for someone like me who has no idea about it and needs to know enough, but not too much.
if you're looking for just that, this book is for you.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a difficult book to do well--each chapter is very brief and the author aims to illuminate some part of a subject that many general readers (the target audience of a book like this) find intensely boring: economics--and not even that--the history of economics. But I think the author writes with fluency and expertise about his subjects. Even though I was familiar with essentially all of the ideas and historical figures mentioned, the author included various biographical details that were n ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, economics
This is really one of my favorite books in Economics. A Little History of Economics is not exactly little, in fact, it really talks about almost all topics in Economics starting from the barter economy (and even before) until reaching the relatively new topics of Behavioral Economics and Game Theory.

This book was one of the first books I've read related to Economics and I would honestly say that it is one of the main reasons that made me fall in love with this beautiful field of study. A Lit
Beata Fogarasi
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: econ
honestly, this shouldve been required reading before taking econ 101. he does a great job introducing economic concepts and theories in a narrative form, grounding ideas in real examples and maintaining constant awareness of the problems of the field. really interesting, accessible read to get me back to thinking about econ!
I took my time listening to this audiobook with lots of short chapters, 1-2 per day. When it began with Adam Smith I thought they'd run out of economists pretty fast, but turns out there are more theorists out there than I would have guessed. Can't wait for them to revise it with pandemic economic theory.
Margaret Sankey
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed every volume in this well-edited and conceptualized series--take thoughtful experts with a talent for explaining and choosing vivid examples, and set them to introductory volumes about crucial subjects meant for an intelligent audience looking for a clever review of concepts, major thinkers and famous illustrations. This particular title is a broad survey of economics, with the big names set in their historical contexts, lucid expressions of theory (I needed that booster shot on R ...more
kartik narayanan
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read the full review at

A Little History of Economics is a fast-paced, rollicking ride into the evolution of economics from the Grecian city states to behavioural and development economics that exists today. We get to meet all the famous names in economics like Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Nash, Amartya Sen amongst others. During this journey, we get to learn about capitalism, communism, microeconomics, macroeconomics, Keynesian theories and Friedman's rebuttal.

Don't get me
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Appreciated the fun facts, but could have explained concepts succinctly. Tidbit: the man who bet on Napoleon to lose Waterloo, by choosing to finance the British, became one of the richest in the world.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I appreciated this book more than I actually enjoyed it. The book's title seems apt; my knowledge of economics is pretty limited but I think the author covered a lot of ground about economic thought from ancient Greek civilization through the financial meltdown of 2008. The chapters are concise and many (40 in all) and introduced the famous economists we all know (along with their famous contributions to the field) and a handful I've never heard of.

Brevity can be very wonderful but for
Sebastian Gebski
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've never taken any course on the history of economics, so I've picked this one for pure fun. And I didn't end up disappointed - it's very approachable, concise, meaty & fun to get through. It starts with the ancient times, but doesn't really get bogged down with trivial/non-relevant stuff. The best thing about this book is that it's not a chronicle of dry ideas - the descriptions are all very practical & e.g. focused on differences.

4.0-4.5 stars. Why not 5? The book skips the latest trends in
Gabrielė Bužinskaitė
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant book I proudly add to my e-shelf. Simply written, informative and most significantly — truly pleasurable and interesting to read. From the trade among the Romans all the way to economic landscape of today’s. It introduces you to main ideas, concepts and influential thinkers of every era in a way that causes curiosity rather than a yawn. Wonderful read for a better understanding of the world around us.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting collection of brief biographies of economists from ancient times to today, describing their accomplishments or major theories in an accessible way and with some effort to put the long arc in context. The selection was pretty fairly done, and each bio/summsry was better than I expected.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
I can hardly imagine a better book to introduce the broad history of economics.
I imagine that many potential readers would be discouraged by the combination of two potentially very dry topics- history and economics. This book is anything but. It's lively and very readable. It has a very nice narrative tone: this is a story about the world we live in and the people who strive to understand that world better.
I was amazed that such big, complex and important ideas could be condensed so well in to s
Miltiadis Michalopoulos
This is a great book. A brilliant introduction to the economics. The lesson I got is simple: there are so many and so different and contradicting theories. There is no particular theory that solves everything... Greek economists have to understand this,because recession and crisis are never simple; they are very complicated things; and so is the solution.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
When the length of your to-do list has reached a state of agitation, the art of procrastination says that anything else outside of the list must now sound so much more interesting to do. But that's not the main reason why I was on a spree when reading this book. The lightness in the language, the brevity and the engaging stories in the first paragraphs of each chapter made it look like Aesop's Fables with economics terminology. Everyday I couldn't help but picked it up first thing in the morning ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good book, providing an overview of economics, both the development of its study as a major academic discipline and the establishment of the various and contrasting ‘schools’ which currently exist. Much more than a simple Smith-Ricardo-Mill-Keynes-Friedman explanation, the author instead covers a wide range of unique economists, philosophers, psychologists, industrialists, and entrepreneurs who have influenced current thought on the ways people interact within markets. From its underpinnings i ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, 2020
Books on Economics usually cause drowsiness. Of course there are some books on the subject that are interesting & delightful to read but are about applications of economics in day to day life ... but this book is unique and is traces the historical evolution of Economics in a very engaging manner that holds your interest right through.

The book is non technical but not trivial . It covers three centuries of economic thought . Every chapter is just four pages long and covers key personalities, the
Michael Campbell
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read the very popular Freakonomics last year, and while I found it interesting, it seemed sensational and a bit irresponsible. It seemed more for entertainment purposes than educational ones. Leaving that, I decided to try another book on economics, just looking for a book that covers the basics.

This book does exactly what I wanted it to do. The history, basic theories, and practicality of economics was went over in detail but not enough detail to feel overtly academic. The author writes well
May 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Very good summary of economic thought going all the way back to Ancient Greece through the present. There is an attempt to present a diversity of thinkers which I appreciated. The importance and value of economics is presented along with the relevant economics of modern issues (The Great Recession, Global Warming, etc). A good place to start for those interested in learning more about “big picture” economics outside of the classroom.
Varad Patankar
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
True to its title, this book is actually a history of economics, devoid of much technical lexicon. It starts right from the time of Socrates till today's mostly capitalistic world. This book provides a context for different political ideologies and helps the reader to ascribe this context to other historic milestones in the formation of the modern world. I could not detect any political bias being nurtured through the text, a heartening aspect of the book!
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, business
A good historical primer. Reviews the history of developments in economic thinking and analysis. Gives you a framework in which to park reading and/or study of the major economists and their thoughts.
Mahesh Gupta
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As the title says it's a very nice summary and history of economics. Very concise and talks about various schools of thoughts and how they started and what was their implications with real world examples.

Strongly recommend for everyone who is curious about economics
Arthur M.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s engaging and informative. It’s even entertaining at times. Perfect for someone who’s looking for an overview without getting in over your head.
Bert Bertson
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great overview over the history of economic thought. Thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Tim Wetzel
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Really accessible language, and presents complex ideas in simple allegories. And it inspired me to start looking more in-depth at the ideas it presents, which IMO is the sign of a good book.
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I'm a writer, economist and historian. I believe that the history of economic thinking and of real economic struggles can tell us a lot about our current situation and, for me, it’s in vivid writing that anyone can respond to where all this really comes to life. Most of all, I’m interested in the stories we tell ourselves about our economic world, and why they matter. My latest book, A Little Hist ...more

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