In a sweeping narrative, the author of the mega-bestseller A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how it rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.
Nasar’s account begins with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and publishing the condition of the poor majority in mid nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering place in the world. This was a new pursuit. She then describes the efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshal, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and Irving Fisher to put those insights into action - with revolutionary consequences for the world.
From the great John Maynard Keynes to Schumpeter, Hayek, Keynes’s disciple Joan Robinson, the influential American economists Paul Samuelson and Milton Freedman, and India’s Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, she shows how the insights of these activist thinkers transformed the world - from one city, London, to the developed nations in Europe and America, and now to the entire world.
In Nasar’s dramatic account of these discoverers we witness men and women responding to personal crises, world wars, revolutions, economic upheavals, and each other’s ideas to turn back Malthus and transform the dismal science into a triumph over mankind’s hitherto age-old destiny of misery and early death.
This idea, unimaginable less than 200 years ago, is a story of trial and error, and ultimately transcendent, rendered here in stunning narrative.
“[A Beautiful Mind] might be compared to a Rembrandt portrait, filled with somber shadows and radiant light effects… superbly written and eminently fascinating…simply a beautiful book.” (The Boston Globe)
“Deeply interesting and extraordinarily moving.” (Oliver Sacks)
“A Beautiful Mind tells a moving story and offers a remarkable look into the arcane world of mathematics and the tragedy of madness.” (The New York Times Book Review)
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great history book
Yes, this book does an excellent job telling capsule life stories of the post 1850 economists (& some other social scientist), the key elements of their thought and, most importantly, the context in which they lived, and which helped to powerfully shape their thought and build the foundation of modern economics. You do not need to be an economics major or economist to appreciate this work.
The putting of economic thought into context, so that we can understand its roots when the idea of these individuals is cited (& more frequently, misappropriated) today.
Both narrators do a good job with the text.
Adventures in Economic Thought
A Beautiful Grand Pursuit
- Joshua Kim "mostly nonfiction listener"