Anyone interested in a sound and readable introduction to economics?
Well, I just chanced upon my below book review from May 2012 and recommendation of what I consider the best introduction to economics there is.
I would also strongly recommend Steven Kates’ Free Market Economics. An Introduction for the General Reader which is in countless ways one of the best introductions to economics ever written; and this assessment includes amongst other things the author’s superb ability to put economics into perspective in terms of the history of economic thought.
I keep going back to this fantastic book. Lucidly written, it can be read with tremendous gain (to students of economics of any level, beginner to advanced scholar) in a few days, maybe even in just two days. At the same time, it is so substantial as to invite countless returns for further appreciation.
As a person strongly influenced by the Austrian school (including its post-Misesian anarchist wing), what gives me a special kick is the fact that the author, who ‘heretically’ recognises a substantial role for government and the state, offers an accurate and brilliant account of a free economy.
Of course, this places Kates much closer to (the great Austrians) Mises and Hayek than to the anarchist successor school, whose anarchist stance I do not share at all, while recognising the school’s considerable intellectual achievements.
Referring to my review, Steve Kates wrote:
I hope Georg Thomas won’t mind my retrieving his kind and generous comment from the thread that followed my putting up a reading list in the history of economics the other day. And I hope you won’t mind if I say that this is how I think about the book myself.
To which I replied in the comment section:
I don’t mind at all, quite to the contrary – I wish the book the widest possible dissemination.
I never tire to advertise its tremendous qualities.
And, from my perspective, the vantage point of a grateful reader, the author has the duty to promote his book.
I wish, Steven Kates’ “Free Market Economics” had been available when I was introduced to economics in the mid-1980s.
It would have spared me decades of search and confusion. Having the potential to provide such “savings” to other economists, budding and advanced, “Free Market Economics” certainly deserves to be called to the attention of as many interested persons as possible.
I do not know of any other introduction to economics that brings to the fore, lucidly and incisively, the essence of such a number of vital issues in economic theory – from information, supply and demand, equilibrium to business cycle, affording the reader a clear sense of direction and progress as the presentation unfolds.
It is so much easier to acquire orientation and the ability to discern the important and fruitful in economics once you have read Steven Kates’ surprisingly short book, not least compared to many other introductory textbooks.
Those who are inclined to call into question the arguments Kates offers will also find it rewarding to be facing a clear and honest account.
In fact, what strikes me as perhaps the most outstanding feature of the book is – the honesty of approach.