Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gittins Guide to Economics, by Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins, an economic writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age, always comes across as a bit of an impatient curmudgeon when I see him appear on panels or be interviewed on television. Yet on the printed page he is a more chirpy, avuncular type.

This book is a type of Economic 101 class. It covers lots of subjects central to understanding how the Australian economy works. The chapters are short and pithy, so if you find yourself getting bored with the subject of inflation, you don’t have to wait too long to find yourself involved in a chapter on the environment.

Gittins in the intro says he wrote the book with the express purpose of giving instruction to the lay person about how the economy works, without boring them to tears.

I have no very deep knowledge or understanding of economics, so can’t really comment on the book’s efficacy with regards to its stated intention. As a lay reader, however, I feel it broadened my knowledge on the subject a bit more. It’s quick pace and informal, conversational tone, also helped make the book a lively and entertaining read.

If you read a lot of Mr Gittins’s columns, I guess you’d find this book pretty superfluous reading. For the reader trying to expand their ‘economic literacy’, I can’t think of a better place to start.

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