Item description for The Literary Book of Economics: Including Readings from Literature and Drama on Economic Concepts, Issues, and Themes by Michael Watts...
The Literary Book of Economics is one of the most innovative approaches to economic education and literacy ever published. As empirical research has demonstrated, economics is taught more effectively when integrated into other fields, and is perhaps particularly effective when coupled with the classic literary works of Western culture, which allows great authors to use their erudition to convey economic concepts and topics too often treated only theoretically. Teachers and students of literature and economics have much to gain by studying economic topics and concepts in this way. Including helpful commentary from Professor Watts, The Literary Book of Economics is a refreshing treatment of the "dismal science," presenting a cogent explication of free-market theory.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Literary Book of Economics: Including Readings from Literature and Drama on Economic Concepts, Issues, and Themes?
A blend of literature and economics Apr 19, 2006
College-level collections strong on either literature or economics will welcome a blend of the two by an economist whose purpose is to blend economic education with literacy. Economics are best absorbed when blended with other disciplines, studies show: and Watts shows how to achieve this, using over seventy selections from classic and modern writings to link over twenty major economic concepts to themes and modern times. A unique, cross-disciplinary approach.
The Not-so-Dismal Science Jan 10, 2005
Marx may have said that history is economics in action, but this book shows us that great works of literature can show us economics in action, too.
Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue Univ., has pulled together 78 short excepts from classic and not-so-classic literature that involve economic topics. Those topics include money, unemployment, income inequality, division of labor, unions, supply and demand, cost-benefit analysis, property, scarcity and others. The excerpts range from the classic (Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice") to the modern ("The Perfect Storm" by Sebastian Junger). There's a wide spectrum of other authors, too, such as Emerson, Steinbeck, Dickens, Ben Franklin, Ayn Rand, Orwell, Vonnegut, Goethe, and others.
Some of the chapters reframe known works into an economic context - i.e. "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost is reframed as a lesson about opportunity cost. Other selections illuminate (and sometimes satirize!) some basic economic principles. In other excerpts, economic factors influence the characters and drive the plot forward. In just a few others, the economic element is more tangential or incidental.
Overall, though, this is an interesting collection; I haven't seen anything else like it. It's a great reference book, and the sections & selections can be read indepenently. The collection is perfect for anyone who would like to push aside their supply-and-demand graphs or dry textbooks to instead read memorable stories about real people, stories that will also deepen one's understanding of economics. It's also great for anyone needing a gentle introduction to basic economic principles (though I should say that the book isn't a substitute for a more expository text in basic economics or finance). Recommended.
Classic economic drama, poetry, and prose Oct 19, 2003
Compiled, edited, and with an informative commentary by Michael Watts (Director of the Center for Economic Education and Professor of Economics at Purdue University), The Literary Book Of Economics is comprised of seventy-eight selections from classic drama, poetry, and prose written by thinking men and women through centuries of history, all chosen for the particular vibrancy of expression that they give to twenty crucial economic concepts and themes. The citations range from William Shakespeare and Benjamin Franklin, to Ayn Rand, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and much others, each of whom contribute to a deeper understanding of market principles through literature. The Literary Book Of Economics is a unique and highly recommended addition to Economic Studies reading lists and library reference collections.