Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

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Overview

International bestseller


"Clear, concise, informative, [and] witty." —Chicago Tribune

At last! A new edition of the economics book that won’t put you to sleep. In fact, you won’t be able to put this bestseller down. In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favorite of students and general readers is more than a good read, it’s a necessary investment—with a blessedly sure rate of return. This revised and updated edition includes commentary on hot topics such as automation, trade, income inequality, and America’s rising debt. Ten years after the financial crisis, Naked Economics examines how policymakers managed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Demystifying buzzwords, laying bare the truths behind oft-quoted numbers, and answering the questions you were always too embarrassed to ask, the breezy Naked Economics gives you the tools to engage with pleasure and confidence in the deeply relevant, not so dismal science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393356496
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/01/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 16,227
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

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.

Burton G. Malkiel is the Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University. He is a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers, dean of the Yale School of Management, and has served on the boards of several major corporations, including Vanguard and Prudential Financial. He is the chief investment officer of Wealthfront.

Table of Contents

Foreword Burton G. Malkiel ix

Introduction xvii

Acknowledgments xxvii

1 The Power of Markets: Who feeds Paris? 3

2 Incentives Matter: Why you might be able to save your face by cutting off your nose (if you are a black rhinoceros) 31

3 Government and the Economy: Government is your friend (and a round of applause for all those lawyers) 57

4 Government and the Economy II: The army was to get that screwdriver for $500 83

5 Economics of Information: McDonald's didn't create a better hamburger 108

6 Productivity and Human Capital: Why is Bill Gates so much richer than you are? 131

7 Financial Markets: What economics can tell us about getting rich quick (and losing weight, too!) 154

8 The Power of Organized Interests: What economics can tell us about politics 182

9 Keeping Score: Is my economy bigger than your economy? 198

10 The Federal Reserve: Why that dollar in your pocket just a piece of paper 225

11 International Economics: How did a nice country like Iceland go bust? 250

12 Trade and Globalization: The good news about Asian sweatshops 277

13 Development Economics: The wealth and poverty of nations 302

Epilogue: Life in 2050: eight questions 325

Notes 337

Index 351

What People are Saying About This

Burton G. Malkiel

Wheelan has an anti-Midas touch. If he touched gold he would turn it to life. —Burton G. Malkiel, from the foreword

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Naked Economics 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
vegasbookworm_31 More than 1 year ago
For anyone looking for a way to gain some basic knowledge of economics without the grsphs this is your book. I read it years ago in paperback and am excited to read it again.
Praetor More than 1 year ago
One of the most well written economics books that removes the technical terms and describes economics in layman's terms. If you want to grasp economics in a easily read way, this book is for you.
Zirkle 18 days ago
This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to see how the world works. Much of this book looks at how incentives are applied, both poorly or well, in the world. It also lets people see how different lifestyles can be looked at economically. This book is designed to be for a wide audience, not just economists.
barlow304 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very good, "no-tears" approach to basic economics. Although it discusses markets, the book spends most of its time on macro-economics, monetary policy, international trade, and development. Well written and amusing, but also thoughtful and accurate.
kasualkafe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I gave it a 4 for an economics book which is saying something , but this is not equivalent to a 4 for ....say ....an ANNE Rice novel. But as an economics book , this easily digestible primer , is not only informative but mildly amusing. The author explains the theories and tenets of economics without boring you to tears. I believe I have more of a complete understanding of economics as some of the blanks in my comprehension of this subject has been filled. I recall one of my first book adventure capitalist as a fun economics book that tauted free trade , but this book truly explains why it works.
alexnihilo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great general-public book on economics. With humor and simple words, it explains the basis of economy : free-trade and state regulation, human capital, interest rates and inflation, etc. It is not written like an academic book with highly detailed outlines and a bunch of theoretical references, and it is nice and easy to read. It is a real good basis for economics 101 and even gives some notes to go further. Moreover, it is written by a Chicago-based correspondent for the Economist, so it is full of examples from Chicago life.The author is sometimes described as a moderate liberal but to my point of view, he is really in favor of free-trade and speaks badly about left-wing activists and antiglobalization groups. He believes that social actor is fully rational and that the free-trade is fair for all : he seems to forget about cheating, insiders tradings, disinformation and others capitalist tricks and evils. So it is a great book for basic understanding of economic process but you¿d better think twice about the big figure of capitalism and wars for profit.
abiotteau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great general-public book on economics. With humor and simple words, it explains the basis of economy : free-trade and state regulation, human capital, interest rates and inflation, etc. It is not written like an academic book with highly detailed outlines and a bunch of theoretical references, and it is nice and easy to read. It is a real good basis for economics 101 and even gives some notes to go further. Moreover, it is written by a Chicago-based correspondent for the Economist, so it is full of examples from Chicago life.The author is sometimes described as a moderate liberal but to my point of view, he is really in favor of free-trade and speaks badly about left-wing activists and antiglobalization groups. He believes that social actor is fully rational and that the free-trade is fair for all : he seems to forget about cheating, insiders tradings, disinformation and others capitalist tricks and evils. So it is a great book for basic understanding of economic process but you¿d better think twice about the big figure of capitalism and wars for profit.
Eurydice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucid and amusing, Naked Economics provides an excellent, engaging introduction to the subject for the novices, math-phobes, and lovers of good writing among us. It's perfect for providing some conceptual understanding to those, like me, who remain curious about the workings of the world, yet whose formal education didn't take in what it should have. (Or who didn't take in what we should have, during them!) As the title playfully suggests, this is economics stripped of the impeding charts, equations, and graphs, leaving essential, exciting concepts visible in all their naked glory. They're bared to a point of great liveliness and accessibility. I finished feeling a sense of comprehension I wish I could pay Wheelan for, far beyond the price of the book. Never again will my eyes glaze at a mention of the Federal Reserve; nor will I be confounded by the failure of certain bright and altruistic ideas I wanted to work; nor the success of peculiar, minor special interest groups; nor the continued dominance of McDonald's, to the detriment of the intriguing place next door (not that this one flummoxed me, but he does dissect it beautifully, in 'The Economics of Information'). Never again will I approach an economy dogged by the vague, yet dispiriting sense that within each only a fixed number of jobs does or could exist. And so on, ad infinitum. I thought the chapter 'Trade and Globalization' especially illuminating, as Wheelan makes an excellent case for the benefits of international trade running both ways, even when they look disadvantageous to the poorer countries, or involve lost jobs in the wealthier. It's not without genuine downsides in the short term, and for individuals, which is neither minimized or overlooked; but he puts his points about the overall, long-term benefits with great clarity and good sense. I found that, like much else, not only lucid but bracing.Much as I'll benefit by rereading (and reading other economics works), Naked Economics invites it, and lays enough groundwork that you can begin knowing nothing, and end not merely willing, but eager, to seek out more difficult books on the subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WillingStudent More than 1 year ago
Wheelan's work is straightforward enough for a beginner (it has, in fact, been used as an Honors Economics textbook in high school) and detailed enough to not seem overly simplistic. The author leads one through the basic ideas and concepts of economics (with much relevant contemporary data) and teaches one to think like an economist. This book is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to find an enjoyable introduction to this "dismal" science.
Nelaine More than 1 year ago
NAKED ECONOMICS came out long before the banking/housing crisis, but the pages on the S&L crisis were a blueprint for the latest finacial debacle. If only the U.S. government had learned its lesson the first time, we would be in a different place today. This book, as it came out long before, does not address that 2007 crash, but the logical progression of comparable behaviors, shown here, leads the reader to an intuitive grasp--not one filled with incomprehensible numbers and mathematical processes--of the issues. Intuition is the key, but there is nothing mystical about it. Wheelan helps the lay person to see economics and understand the behind-the-scenes working of it. An economist who shuns the so-called virtues of "share the wealth," Wheelan reinforces the idea that capitalism ultimately generates wealth and choice, and it tends to provide a better life for almost all, as a result. A free market means that cost cutting will cost jobs, but, over time, progress, not stagnation, is the result. He is not afraid to say, though, that such ideas are always more acceptable in the abstract than when they happen to us. That is a serious issus, seriously addressed. My animosity toward by boards of corporations when they give CEOs huge stock options was transformed by his explanation of the rationale behind such decisions, and their benefit for me, the shareholder in a corporation over which I have no control. I am no less antagonistic toward CEOs for getting so much for doing so little, and for creating a wealth gap that is unconscionable, but at least I now understand the motivation behind the decision. This "dismal" science never really was that, but it seemed a far cry from transformational. Not any longer, because Wheelan knows how to write in a way that challenges the ideas and energizes the mind of the reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am the kind of person who likes to have a basic idea of prominent things that are discussed among "fancy people" during dinner parties or casual lunch conversations. With this book you are able to gain a basic understanding of what it means to think like an economist. It reads more like a humor book than a textbook, and the ideas he presents can really get you thinking. I recommend this book to anyone even if the are not planning on ever studying economics because even if you don't study it, it still exists and you should know about it. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was really good, got me really excited to be an econ major next year. Probably a little to simple at some parts if you already know a bit about economics, though at other parts some concepts can be tough to grasp. A really great read all around and a good starting point for looking into other works :) highly recommend
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Beverly_Kurtin More than 1 year ago
I breezed though this book and re-read it to make sure that I had understood some of the finer points that had been made. Until now, economics had to do with how much money I had in my checking account (never enough <G>) but now I've got at least enough to discuss the subject more intelligently. The only problem I had with the book was that I sometimes got pretty chilly sitting around reading the book sans clothes. I recommend this book for anyone who would like to have more than just a basic idea of what economics are and how they function in our daily lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a terrific explanation of the science of economics in plain simple language that makes it easy to understand. Updated version is timely given our present world economic challenges. The explanation of the role that public policy plays in managing the economy is very well written without being political. Highly recomend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CarianneCW More than 1 year ago
This book helped me get an A- in a subject I barely understood!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago