A Review of Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

October 31, 2014October 31, 2014

Thomas Sowell is a brilliant economist who had a rough history before he succeeded in life because of hard work. He started out in poverty and became one of the premier American economists of our time. In addition to being a well-educated and globally respected economist, he has the ability to break down complex economics terminology into easy to understand examples that everyday people like you and I can understand. He is currently a professor of economics at Stanford University, but after reading this book, I think he has many more students outside of his classroom.

Core Principles

Basic Economics is broken down into key sections so that you can digest each relevant economic principle at your own pace. Each section also provides a background of the topic being discussed along with examples to illustrate how we see these principles in action in our everyday lives. Every section is almost like a complete book in and of itself while the whole book is a collective masterpiece of economic teaching for Main St. If everyone read this book, and learned about the basics of economics, we would have a much more prosperous economy.

Clear Examples

This book does a great job of providing examples of cause and effect relationships. It covers some things you probably never even considered as being economic based. This is the main strength of this book compared to others in its field; it lays out some of the easiest examples to understand that I have ever seen. Whether it’s on the highly debated topic of minimum wages or the effect of unions, this book breaks down complex arguments into easily digestible economic outcomes. It’s a perfect example of explaining the basics of economics to a wide audience that has little previous knowledge.

Politics vs. Economics

If you think that the political side of economics is enough to make you want to put down this book, then think again! Sowell is a master storyteller when it comes to relating how a government’s best intention can actually have negative outcomes. He discusses economic policies and elaborates on such topics as subsidized housing, rent control laws, affirmative action and more. The outcomes of these well intentioned government laws, and aspects of government economic policy, will shock you! In fact, after reading this, it made me think twice before supporting many of the initiatives that lawmakers press for. You actually start to see how they might actually make things worse.

Easy to Read

Sowell does a great job writing this book for non-academics. Many times economics books are filled with language that average readers can’t understand, or worse, pages of math formulas that no one will look at for more than a few seconds. Basic Economics doesn’t have any of that and the author doesn’t use Ivy League vocabulary. Although the book is rather lengthy, it is pretty simple to understand. It does a great job of being able to explain economics in a way that anyone can appreciate.

For instance, if you have heard the phrase free market economy and want to understand it better, this is the book to help you do just that. You can start to grasp the causes and effects of a free market economy in a way you maybe never thought you would.

Put it this way if you have ever found yourself thinking about economics, and it’s all seemed a bit fuzzy, this book will bring things into focus for you.

International focus

One of the best things about the latest revised edition of this book is that, aside from the updates, it’s become a lot more internationally focused. This is just the way it should be. After all economics isn’t subject that is restricted by geography. Economic principles are similar the world over and the results can be just as beneficial or catastrophic no matter where these principles are implemented.

Sowell brings the international economics flavor to most chapters of the book. This has brought about big changes to the book overall. Now it’s truly reflective of the experience of people across many different cultures.

Studying economics can be dry and boring for most of us. Because of this, many people just zone out and never learn fundamental economic principles. Basic Economics is a book that is easy for anyone to read and understand. With its everyday examples, Sowell does a fantastic job helping us understand how the principles are applied in our daily life. Anyone who has ever worked, spent money or saved should take a look at this book. It’s definitely a must read for any investor or business owner. You simply have to understand economics in these areas and this book simplifies it into easy to understand bits.

Check out Basic Economics

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Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

4 thoughts on “A Review of Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell”

  1. It’s very informative about the basic Economics by Thomas Sowell. This is really useful and helpful review about this economics. I will definitely refer this article to my friends. Thanks for this article.

  2. I’m always down with reading another great economics book! Thanks for the suggestion and brief summary of the makeup of Sowell’s work. I may need to check it out.

    What was the most powerful point that you walked away from the book with?

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