The Great Economists
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The economist John Maynard Keynes famously said that "practical men, who believe themselvesto be quite exempt from any intellectual influences,are usually the slaves ofsome defunct economist". One reason for this is that most people have not studied economics to a level where they understand where many of these theories come from and their full impact on today's world. Linda Yueh aims to fill this gap with a readable history of 12 important economic thinkers, from Adam Smith's revolutionary insights in the 18th century, through to Robert Solow's Nobel Prize-winning work on economic growth in the 20th century.
Yueh does a good job of delivering potted biographies and summarising what her subjects had to say. The problem is she gives the impression she would rather be writing a book about contemporary problems such as globalisation. As a result, we get long digressions, such as an account of a documentary she made in 2016 about the American political system. Ironically, the book omits late 18th- and early 19th-century thinker Thomas Malthus, whose views of the impact of population growth on individual income continue to influence today's debates on immigration. Despite these flaws, this is a solid introduction to the history of economic thought. I certainly wish that it had been around when I started to study the subject.
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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