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Publisher's Summary

In this fifth edition of Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell revises and updates his popular book on commonsense economics, bringing the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Drawing on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history, Sowell explains basic economic principles for the general public in plain English.

Basic Economics,which has now been translated into six languages and has additional material online, remains true to its core principle: that the fundamental facts and principles of economics do not require jargon, graphs, or equations and can be learned in a relaxed and even enjoyable way.

©2014 Thomas Sowell (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Everyone should listen to this book

Both the author and the reader make the understanding of this subject easy/interesting. A must.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best economics text ever!

Really long, but really easy to listen to & understand. And wait to buy the paper version as well.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Basic American Economics

No doubt the author is knowledgeable in his subject and no doubt that he believes he is presenting an solid argument. However, in the end, the author presents a biased argument for why american free-market economics is the panacea for what ails you. For a work titled 'Basic Economics' I expected more analysis of different types of economies, how they function, where they succeed and where they fail. Instead we get 23hrs of "US Free markets are the best thing since sliced bread".

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great book to grad the fundamentals of economics

A must read if you are looking to understand the fundamentals of economics. The content is delivered in an easy to understand format with plenty of real world examples and facts. Though it is a long book there is never a dull moment because of the rich content that is delivered and the methodical order in which it is done - it is an easy listen.

This book is guaranteed to change the way you think and will help you foresee the long term economic implication of political decisions and actions of today. It opens up a whole new mindset that helps you think in the long term and understand how everything in interrelated. It also helps you understand fallacies and why some economies in the world thrive while others have failed.

This book will defensively expand the horizons of your thinking and help you see the big picture; and by the end of the book you'll find yourself looking at things in a much broader and practical perspective.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A very one sided debate

Starts off strong with economic fundamentals laid out clearly, however spends majority of later chapters presenting a very one sided view of all the negative effects of government regulation. The points presented are valid, however it constantly presents and rebut frail token counter arguments to a point that quickly stopped trusting the writer is presenting a balanced view.

I also found the narrator difficult to take seriously.

6 of 13 people found this review helpful

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good content but waaaay too long *snore* ...

couldn't finish this book ... got halfway and then decided I'd had enough of the droning narration on such a looong book on new and complex concepts ... lots of great content ... a lot of it though takes timer to digest so this is probably better as an actual book ... I was constantly jumping back on stuff to try and capture it again to try to understand it ... painful ... great content but get the actual book not the audio edition ... much better as a reference hardcopy to have around when you need to check stuff.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Life changing

This book will change the way you see the world. A must read for every student of truth.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Kunze
  • 10-02-2018

The most eye-opening book I have ever read

A fantastic book by a brilliant author, fantastically read by a brilliant orator.
To anyone who thinks "economics does not interest me", I say: Give this book a try regardless. I promise that, unless you have read other economics books before, this one will feel truly earth shattering. It is well-written, well-researched, easily understandable by everyone and enormous in its educational value. Grab it while you can.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Trenton
  • 04-10-2015

Phenomenal!

People say that is all the time, but this REALLY NEEDS to be required reading (listening in this case), and here is why:

Mr. Sowell expertly explains economics in this 25 hour long monster in a way that everyone can understand and enjoy. Everything he says is very well supported either using simple logic, hypothetical situations and many real world international and domestic examples.

Even if you don't agree with his explanations, you will still come out of this book with a better understanding of economics as you would have to come up with a logical reason to disagree with him, because his beautiful explanations and examples are essentially devoid of emotion, which is a very good thing.

Some of my favorite things of the book are:
- His often repeated statement is his definition of economics: Utilization of scarce resources which have alternative uses.
- His explanation of the difference between prices and costs.
- His examples of the effects of price controls.
- The absolute lack of mudslinging towards liberals, he actually operates under the assumption of people encouraging government intervention all with the best of intentions.
- His reminders how economists are known for being boring because of splashing cold water on policies due to cold hard boring facts.

This thing is almost 25 hours long, takes a while to listen to but it is like music to your ears. It's economics pure and simple and is fascinating.

Thomas Sowell for president! (Hey he's only 85, that isn't too old is it?)

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • B. Davis
  • 17-03-2015

Great Publication

This is one of the best audio books I've purchased so far. I believe it should be required reading and that the principles should be taught early in the educational system. There is a lot of information that explains a lot of economic problems - poverty and unemployment, for example - that could be eliminated through policy adjustments or eliminations. The concepts are so clearly conveyed, in fact, that it's difficult to fathom how or why any great society would implement contradictory regulations.

The narrator spoke at a pace and pitch that facilitated ease of reception of the material (this is subjective, I suppose).

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • DWR
  • 10-02-2015

Excellent Book on Basic Economics

Not really a "story" but it does tell the history and continuing effect of economics on our lives.

Thomas Sowell presents Economics in a very easy to understand and well illustrated way. This is the 5th edition so is up to date with current examples. There is a lot of information and a plethora of quotable quotes, so probably warrants additional listens to absorb it all.

Tom Weiner is perfect for this type of a book as he reads as one would expect an "expert" in this field might read.

A great book that I will definitely listen to again.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff M
  • 03-12-2017

Astonishing brilliance

Would you consider the audio edition of Basic Economics, Fifth Edition to be better than the print version?

I haven't ready the print version. But this translates well into audio; there are no charts or graphs in this economic tome. It's simple logic, presented clearly.

What did you like best about this story?

It's hard to argue with this guy. I have to be careful and not simply accept what he says at face value. Surely there are counter points! But how can you argue with history? That's his brilliance. History repeats itself, and Sowell uses history to demonstrate fallacy. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it

What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

He has a clear voice. I would imagine reading an economics book is difficult. He does a fine job

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

When I listen to the brilliant words of Thomas Sowell I feel my mind opening up to truth. Thank you, Thomas Sowell.

Any additional comments?

This should be required reading to anyone who votes. I admit I wish I knew someone who could present counter points to this; surely there must be a counter to his obvious brilliant analysis of the fallacy of anything other than free, open markets. He makes everything seem so self evident!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • d
  • 29-09-2017

Economics does not need to be esoteric.

This properly named book explains complicated economic concepts in simple language that anyone can understand. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the fundamental forces at work in economics and to a certain degree, society as a whole.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Palmetto Bob
  • 13-05-2017

Phenomenal Primer

Superior book on basic economics. Dr Sowell explains principles and gives examples that even an ol' boy with a Nebraska education can understand. Highly recommend this book to everyone, most especially to voters and potential voters. Politicians won't read it so we must...and then hold them accountable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • CJA
  • 26-07-2015

Beautiful Economics

The Adam Smith of our generation, beautifully composed & presented in very understandable common sense logic.

The book tackles how a government's economic policies directly enhance or inhibit citizens's quality of life back up by a plethora of rich case history examples from rich sources.

I especially agreed with the consistent theme of getting needless government policies out of the way (price controls, central planning, etc.) & let the people be free to build & grow their businesses through the simplicity of supply & demand without letting government officials tangling up progress with needless & counterproductive legislation (Smoot-Hawley Tariff).

I was also surprised to learn that during the Great Depression of 1930s the Fed needlessly increased interest rates adding further crushing pressure on credit/money supply.

This is why we need authors like Thomas Sowell to prevent the mistakes of the past & see the power of the invisible hand of just letting people grow & build their dreams, to buy & sell, & simply let the market economy have room to work on its own. Government needs to have a balanced role in ensuring justice in economic transactions but the best thing it can do is wisely strategize its fiscal & monetary policies; then step out of the way, let people buy & sell, let people build their dreams, let people build their economy. Beautiful Economics.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • 09-01-2015

Smartest man in economics

You don't know what you don't know.
Never has it been more self evident.
Thanks to Mr Sowell for putting this together.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • ;Turkeytime
  • 17-12-2014

Worldwide Economics!

Wow, It was very insightful. I am new to finance and am trying to become more knowledge about these topics.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Francisco
  • 28-07-2017

I promise you, this book will change your life.

I highly or more than highly recommend this book to anyone regardless if you are studying economic or not. The explanation are so common sense and clear you will be enlightened. I am really grateful to have taken the time to listen to it and really want to say thank you to all the people behind it and the author. You have succeed beyond your goals. I will re-listen to it couple times until it becomes a song in my head. So grateful.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Antonio Ferreira
  • 01-11-2018

B and B book: Boring and Brainwashing

This book is a particularly boring attempt to brainwash the reader into believing that:

1. Free markets are capable of optimising all sorts of economic relations among people and companies. Any attempt to interfere with the laws of free markets can only result in terrible consequences for society.

2. Economy is a science comparable to physics or chemistry. It is precise, infallible, and deterministic in its infinite wisdom. Economists are therefore in possession of sacred knowledge, while politicians in their infinite stupidity insist on interfering with free markets, therefore spreading mayhem.

We all know that there is a certain class of economists that believe in these principles in the same way that fundamentalists believe in certain religious principles. It is because of them that economics has gained a reputation of being an unethical, ridiculously self-aggrandising, and thick-headed discipline. What is particularly irritating about this book is that it uses unbelievably redundant and circular argumentation. For example, if I argue that:

John is driving a car. He knows how to drive very well, and so he drives very fast. He has an accident when Peter is in the car, who has been admonishing against excessive speed. Obviously Peter is responsible for the accident because I already told you that John is a good driver.

Everyone with minimum intelligence could counter-argue that John might have been and probably was the one responsible for the accident! An intelligent person would want anyway to know more about the circumstances of the accident, which are not provided in a sufficient detailed way so that conclusions can be considered supported by evidence. However, this kind of argumentation is used all over the book, essentially to make us believe that free markets (the Johns) are very good for society and therefore when things go wrong is certainly because of the Peters (the politicians trying to regulate markets).

All this is unbearably superficial and poorly analysed, as these arguments omit everything that could be used to refute them.

On top of everything, the reader uses a preaching tone of voice, it feels like one is learning about economics from a drill sergeant.

A much more interesting reading for those wanting to understand economic science beyond this dogmatic approach is provided by the references below.

Jackson, T. (2009). Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet London: Earthscan. (not yet available in Audible)

Raworth, K. (2017). Doughnut economics: Seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist. London: Random House Business Books. (already available in Audible)

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • astromads
  • 03-06-2017

Fantastic

I could have listened to more of this, I never thought economics could be so interesting.
Absolutely loved it.

I would recommend everyone to read this book, gives you a better understanding of how things are not what they seem, would help pick your electoral parties as well.

The man that read this, his voice was perfect to listen to.I could probably listen to his voice from any audio book.

Gave this rating as I could not fault anything about this book.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Manish
  • 30-09-2018

Is this really economics?

I had huge expectations for this based on reviews. It is terrible. Essentially a one sided very basic American view of the world. There was no evidence base and no balanced view or alternative models. i sincerely hope that this is not the usual standard of economic teaching in US universities.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • derek john marsdon
  • 26-11-2018

Basic Economics or A Neoliberal Handbook?

If you are looking for an explanation of how the economy works, this is NOT the book for you. It is more of a propaganda sheet for neoliberalism. Rather than go into the mechanics of how a modern economy works, Sowell relies on examples of how and where government intervention has failed in order to justify his neoliberal convictions. He never attempts to explain the failings or short comings of laissez fair economics, like it's natural tendency towards monopolisation, which undermines its own justification (the free market), or the ecological cost to the planet. There are some interesting and useful definitions just over half way through the book, differentiating stocks, shares and bonds for example, and a very brief history of economics right at the end, which I shall use for further reading, but it does not explain how economics works. I have read Adam Smith and a little of Marx, both of which do attempt to explain with great success the workings of capitalist economics. I wanted a more up to date explanation, but this book failed totally in that task.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • cathal
  • 20-11-2018

Basic Economics??

In my opinion this book should be called "Why capitalism is great!". I would say this is not a book about basic Economics and more book about the benefits of capitalism ( whilst completely ignoring the the obvious faults) .

According to the author for example the American health care system is far greater than the British health care system ( or any other country) based solely on the fact that it costs alot in America and a couple of very specific studys. This may be true at the high end but its completely ridiculous to suggest this is true for the majority.

If this were a book about basic Economics it should in my opinion just explain the basics of economics and how the system works without any bias.

The basic principle of the book is that no government intervention in economic affairs is required the market will regulate it self and if everyone one adopted this system we would live in some sort of paradise. The tone of the book is almost insulting.

I would point out I am generally someone who believes in Capitalism but I am aware of the pitfalls. Which by the way are so obvious they cannot be ignored.

In conclusion if you want a fair and balanced explanation of how the economic system works this is not the book for you.













1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Max
  • 08-10-2016

best economic book I've read so far.

a long, but essential book on economics. should be taught on every university campus in the world as far as I'm concerned.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Dodge
  • 25-02-2015

Thomas Sowell Scholar Economics

Much content

Understandable to the laymen

The narrators voice sounds as though it's modded in sound software and is slightly distracting, however the content pulls you back.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Glen
  • 10-12-2018

Well layed out descriptions of how the World work.

This has easy to follow descriptions of how markets work accompanied by historical examples.

There's also weird anecdotes used to condemn social healthcare. I didn't find out why medical treatment was different to fire or police support, but there was a child in England who had breast implants which caused someone to die of cancer - somehow.
It's as if the author is picturing poor people wondering into hospitals, demanding and getting extra kidneys as they're free under the British National Health Service.

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  • Allan
  • 10-12-2018

Great place to start when learning about economics

Having read numerous books on economics I found this to be among the best, with solid well thought out and well researched ideas that don't have any political bias.