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Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Several chapters from Charles Wheelan’s Naked Economics were required reading for a Pol/Econ class I took at work right before we left for Tel Aviv.  Our economics professor recommended we read the whole book if we had time.  I had time.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Wheelan‘s goal was to write a book on economics (primarily macro-economics) without equations and charts.  There are no equations or charts;  Wheelan’s descriptions and explanations are so clear and complete that none were necessary.  Although I read the chapters out of order, the book still made a lot of sense.  Topics he covers include the basics of macro-economics, the power of the Federal Reserve, international economics, globalization, political aspects of economics, and development economics theories.  He closes the book with seven questions about the economy in 2050.  Each question is designed to make you think about what you’ve learned and to see how different actions may take us down different paths, economically speaking.

Reviews of the book are fairly positive:  London Book Review,  a reader aggregated at the NSFW, a reader at Dartmouth,  and even non-reader Greg “I wrote the textbook of choice on Economics”  Mankiw likes it. Of the several entry-level books on economics which I have read this month (see future entries), this is the best one.  I plan on re-reading it soon (to help my old brain remember more) and imagine I will return to it often for a refresher.  Be warned though, reading this may have the same effect on you that it had on me:  I’m fascinated with economics and now I can’t stop reading about it.


4 comments to Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

  • Richard Silver


    Thanks for sharing your views on Naked Economics. I equally enjoyed what I read of it and will take your review as encouragement to finish the remaining chapters!



  • Dee

    You might like “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” by Paul Kennedy bc it is a combination of world history, politics and economics that explains historical changes from a very engaging perspective (to me anyway).

    Btw, have you picked up “Guests of the Ayatollah” by Mark Bowden yet?

    I imagine that you guys are enjoying good books and good wine on that balcony of yours with the fantastic view and lovely sea air. Mozel tov!

    • John Crippen

      Thanks for the tip Dee! I think I have a copy of Kennedy’s book in HHE (from COAS bookstore in Las Cruces, no less). Will definitely check it out. Have not read Bowden yet, keep picking it up and putting it back down. Yes, we are definitely enjoying the view here. Shalom, -John.

  • […] book, physically.  Reading the book did help me cement some of the definitions and concepts from Naked Economics, but I found the Little Book aspect annoying.  That said, Greg Ip is a good writer and I will use […]

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