This book is my new reading recommendation for folks who want to dip their toes into basic economics. I will continue to recommend Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics, but I think Russell Roberts book will be a good precursor to Sowell’s book.
I’m testing it with some friends now and will see how it goes.
I enjoy Russell Roberts work on the blog Cafe Hayek, the EconTalk podcast, the rap video The Fear of the Boom and Bust and his paper on the causes of the financial crisis.
I put off reading this book because it’s economics told through a fictional story and I was little leery of the fiction aspect. I shouldn’t have been. It’s a great read and the fiction is good. The story is compelling and the economics discussions in the book are interesting. I read it in three days.
Russell Roberts comes from a free market perspective, but in my experience with his other work he is fair in capturing the opposing viewpoints and addressing the real concern, he does so in this book as well.
Anybody who has had an economics discussion with friends will likely appreciate the discussions Ruth Lieber has with her students and Ramon.
At $10 for the paperback, this is a steal and makes a great gift for anyone with a mild interest in economics or politics.
Addendum: I forgot to mention that I also enjoyed the Sources and Further Reading section of the book. It was interesting to learn the back story on the inspiration behind certain elements of the story and I plan to work my way through the further reading Roberts suggests. I’m already well into one of his suggestions.
Addendum II: Thanks to Professor Roberts for linking to this review on his blog, Cafe Hayek. As he points out in that post, Amazon.com is discounting the price of the book by 40%. At that price it’s worth considering buying a dozen or so to have them on hand to give to folks as econ discussions come up in the daily course of events. “Here, give this a read…let’s talk about it when you’re finished…then pass it on. “