The Little Book of Economics

Posted October 1, 2010 in Leadership, What We're Reading

By: Greg Ip

Reviewed By: Sandeep Achar, Roundtable Member

The Premise: The Premise: Economics has for long been known with the unflattering name of being a ‘dismal science’. This fascinating book by Greg Ip is a very timely one given the challenging times that we face today in most of the leading economies of the world. He does have impeccable credentials, being the current US editor of the ‘Economist’ magazine with a long distinguished career with stints as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail & Financial Post. He talks about the three key components of a healthy economy – population, ideas & capital, elaborating on how their interplay shapes our world of today. He covers a wide range of topics ranging from the causes, effects of the current financial crisis, the relation of fertility rates with economic growth, the rise of China, how Federal Reserve shapes the economy in the US and so on.

The Bottom-line: This is one of those books that, on the surface, may feel unsubstantive due to its deceptively simple language. To the contrary, the book provides some important insights that enhance one’s understanding of economics. Ip covers topics from 30,000 feet and 10,000 feet simultaneously, allowing you to interpret the book in your own way and mull over the many nuggets of wisdom he shares. Perhaps it’s the way he explains seemingly complex ideas and concepts in a language that is very easy to understand for everyone, that makes this book special. Several examples complement the broader economic concepts he describes and make them easier to relate to. In addition, his ‘bottom line’ summaries at the end of the chapter make it easier to remember the key take-aways. In a science that is sometimes criticized for being caught up in a world of fancy models and complex mathematics, this is a welcome breath of fresh air. This is a book that will make a lot of readers more comfortable with Economics.

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