Since the days of Adam Smith, economists have grappled with a series of familiar problems - but often their ideas are hard to digest, even before we try to apply them to today's issues. Linda Yueh is renowned for her combination of erudition, as an accomplished economist herself, and accessibility, as a leading writer and broadcaster in this field. In The Great Economists she explains the key thoughts of history's greatest economists, how our lives have been influenced by their ideas and how they could help us with the policy challenges that we face today.
In the light of current economic problems, and in particular growth, Yueh explores the thoughts of economists from Adam Smith and David Ricardo to recent academics Douglass North and Robert Solow. She asks, for example, what do the ideas of Karl Marx tell us about the likely future for the Chinese economy? How do the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, who argued for government spending to create full employment, help us think about state intervention? And with globalization in trouble, what can we learn about handling Brexit and Trumpism?
Linda Yueh is a Fellow in Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School, Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, and was Visiting Professor of Economics at Peking University. The former Economics Editor at Bloomberg TV, she also hosted Talking Business with Linda Yueh as Chief Business Correspondent for BBC News. She writes for The Times, The New York Timesand The Financial Times and has advised, among others, The World Bank and World Economic Forum in Davos.
Yueh's CV - Oxford economics fellow; former editor at Bloomberg TV; ex-advisor to the World Bank - could inspire an inferiority complex in almost anyone. Yet she has written a remarkably accessible primer that profiles 12 of history's greatest economists (from Adam Smith to Joan Robinson), and then asks what they can reveal about the world today. Perhaps its most important lesson is not to take financial advice from economists: many of Yueh's subjects lost fortunes The Times, Best business books of 2018 A great book and Linda Yueh is well worth listening to -- Kevin Watkins, former head of the Overseas Development Institute Want to learn about great ideas in economics and the great economists without doing any algebra? Here is an engagingly written book for you by Linda Yueh. She is both a real economist and an experienced journalist, so she knows how and what to write Richard Baldwin Excellent . . . what makes this book special is that it is simple to read and understand . . . extremely engaging and serves a grand five-star buffet -- Madan Sabnavis Financial Express Amazing new book . . . warmly recommend -- NPR Planet Money Awesome yet accessible...recommended! -- Tim Harford An accessible and lively evaluation of the global financial crisis . . . [Yueh] has a way of simplifying the arcane and ferreting out good news - of which we need a lot. -- Mary Kaye Schilling Newsweek The book is lucidly written... It offers glimpses into the lives of these influential economists, often laced with interesting nuggets of information. -- Ishan Bakshi Business Standard Readable, informative, and thought-provoking, and deserves a place in all libraries -- David Tyckoson Booklist As a broad and accessible overview of the lives and ideas of prominent economic thinkers, Yueh's book is a useful addition to the field. Its strongest sections make important connections between historical figures and modern decision-makers, such as the chapter detailing former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke's interest in Irving Fisher's debt-deflation hypothesis. -- Alasdair Hutchison Reaction The style is engaging and takes the readers through key elements of the economic challenges we currently face, with the support of data and international comparisons ... Readers will certainly enjoy learning about the economists, as many of them lived quite unconventional lives. -- Angela Gallo Financial Times Adviser I certainly wish that [The Great Economists] had been around when I started to study the subject. -- Dr Matthew Partridge Money Week Would [Adam] Smith's view have changed in modern times? Probably yes. Linda Yueh in her brilliant new book, "The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today", argues that due to rapid technological advancements since Smith's time, the tune of the musician, which he regarded as ephemeral, now holds tangible value. Also, since Smith believed in the power of the invisible hand of the markets, he would have derided any move towards introducing market distortions like the Trump tariffs to promote manufacturing. India Times Crisp pen portraits and introductions to complex ideas have been melded with an assessment of what a particular dead economist might have advised about a contemporary issue ... The portraits are entertainingly crafted and the details of family lives well deployed. -- Iain Martin The Times You can see her journalistic training in the way she makes connections between the lives, characters and thinking of her subjects -- John Lanchester Sunday Times A highly informative and entertaining introduction to the ideas of some of the great economists. -- Robert A. Cord, editor of The Palgrave Companion to Cambridge Economics, co-editor of Milton Friedman: Contributions to Economics and Public Policy, and author of Reinterpreting the Keynesian Revolution Is economics a science in which each new generation's discoveries build on those of the old? Or a humanistic study in which old ideas remain valid and relevant today? Linda Yueh's account of the thinking of the great economists demonstrates that both perspectives are true. -- Professor John Kay This well-written book provides more than an engaging discussion of how the "Great Economists" changed the course of economic thinking and history. It links their insights to current economic challenges, assessing how their unique contributions can improve future wellbeing. It concludes by artfully bringing together the economists' individual insights to shed light on the backlash against globalization. Read it not only to learn about the world's great economists, but also to see how consequential thought innovations can be, and have been. -- Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz, former CEO of PIMCO To anyone with even a passing interest in the economic problems, large and small, affecting us today, What Would the Great Economists Do? comes at the right time: a highly accessible and acute guide to thinking and learning from the men and woman whose work can inform and ultimately aid us in understanding the great national and global crises we face. -- Nouriel Roubini, author of the New York Times bestselling Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance What would the great economists of the past make of today's problems? Linda Yueh takes on this ambitious task in this engaging book, introducing us to the work of each economist and conjecturing how they might have advised us. This book is a very readable introduction to the lives and thinking of the greats, and reminds us that policymakers continue to be, as Keynes wrote, "slaves of some defunct economist". -- Raghuram Rajan, Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and author of I Do What I Do and Fault Lines Linda Yueh has had the brilliant idea of, not just describing the theories of each great thinker, but linking each one to a particular problem of today ... I am sure Linda Yueh's original approach will deepen students' understanding of the Great Economists. Lord Lamont, former Chancellor of the Exchequer An extremely engaging survey of the lifetimes and ideas of the great thinkers of economic history, woven together with fascinating and useful discussions of how their ideas still shape economic policy today. Yueh's book is reminiscent of Heilbroner's marvellous classic The Wordly Philosophers, but more focused on contemporary debates on inequality, trade and productivity. Although targeted at readers interested in economic issues, this book would also make an excellent supplementary reading for undergraduate courses in economics, politics and social studies. -- Kenneth Rogoff, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, author of The Curse of Cash and co-author of This Time is Different A fascinating event for anyone interested in economics. For this is a book which, as the title suggests, champions the value of studying the leading economic thinkers of the past ... As an Oxford don and a professor at London Business School, Yueh undoubtedly knows her stuff; and as a former chief business correspondent for the BBC and economics editor at Bloomberg TV, she is a well-known and skilful communicator ... The achievements of modern, scientific economics are significant, and the reader who wants a slick and well-curated tour of its current policy recommendations will profit greatly from Yueh's enjoyable and up-to-date book. -- Felix Martin New Statesman Not only a great way to learn in an easily readable manner about some of the greatest economic influences of the past, but also a good way to test your own a priori assumptions about some of the big challenges of our time. -- Lord Jim O'Neill, former Chairman at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, former UK Treasury Minister, and author of The Growth Map Economics students are not taught the history of economic thought. They, like others, can learn a lot from this book: some of the great economists of the past had insights that could have saved the subject from its recent embarrassments. -- Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Oxford University Are you looking to learn about the very greatest economists of all time? Linda Yueh's book is the best place to start, a modern-day version of Robert Heilbroner's classic The Worldly Philosophers. -- Tyler Cowen, the Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University, and author of The Complacent Class and The Great Stagnation
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