Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
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A simple, straightforward analysis of economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.

Customer Reviews:

  • You would swear it was written a month ago
    With the current (6/2009) economic crisis well underway, this book reads like it was just written. The fact that it was written 60+ years ago is a surprise. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this crisis. Politicians today say the same things that politicians said for at least the last 100 years.

    I have read the chapter 'The Mirage of Inflation' many times, worth the price of the book....more info
  • Economics in One Lesson
    This is one of two books that should be required reading for all high school students. This in civics class...if there is still such a thing..., so youth will know how the world works. It is, of course, the classic economics text. It was written in 1946. Nothing, and I mean nothing, as changed....more info
  • Excellent and prophetic
    If you can hang on (it is a little dry), you will be happy you did. I mentioned prophetic, but it is not really that. It is "prophetic" in that it merely states time honored truths that were the same in 1946 (the 1st ed) as they are now.

    He felt little hope in the economists and politicians of his day then (when they actually had brains and guts). In the 1978 edition, he really touches upon how economists have not only not learned, but also taken their foolishness to new levels. I fear he would be truly disheartened to see where our non-representing "representatives" and the economic hacks have really taken us.

    One wonders if he would now ask that the fat lady sing....more info
  • That which is unseen...
    Just an amazing book showing how almost every policy enacted by government to help the public actually hurts much more than it helps. Hazlitt takes on every fallacy head-on, and derails every myth that has been fed to us by the Keynesians. I really wish this was mandatory reading for every Macroeconomics class, before students start learning about keynesian Macroeconomics, just so that they are ready to point out every fallacy and short-sighted policy the teacher claims is helping the economy. Hazlitt tackles everything from price fixing, to unions, to wage controls, to subsidies, tariffs, and quotas, to rent controls, to inflation.Hazlitt expands on Frederic Bastiat's concept of "that which is seen, and that which is unseen" and applies it to every sort of economic situation. It is a very easy read, and you do not need to know anything about economics to read this book. It is a great starting point for any student of economics to get a good start to the school of rational thought, The Austrian school....more info
  • Should Be Required Reading In EVERY High School
    This book has been around for many years but is timeless.
    A must for the 21st century in America.
    It is a very easy read and is a must for those believing in the "free enterprise" system.
    It should be "required reading" in every High School in America.

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  • Great Introduction to Economics
    Henry Hazlet's "Economics in One Lesson", makes a powerful and persuasive argument in favor of a free market economy. Written in a very lucid style "Economics in One Lesson" makes the usually dry subject of economics easily understandable and a pleasure to read. Hazlitt doesn't obfuscate the truth with cumbersome graphs and math. For non-economists like my self it makes a great introductory book to the subject. Even though the book was published in 1946, the topics covered by Hazlitt are still pertinent and examine issues that still confound us more than 50 years later. Chapters include inflation, tariffs, taxation, price fixing, labor unions, savings, and the importance of profits, rent control, and more.

    As a retired Army officer and student of political philosophy, I found "Economics in One Lesson" a great book for anyone who wants to understand basic economic theory.
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  • Best Book in Economics -- Forget all the technical stuff
    A great and accessible book on economics. If you know nothing about the topic, read it, because it will save you from the pitfalls that have brough on most of modern economic errors. If you know much about economics, read it, because it will correct many tipically wrong notions of economics in your head. It is not meant to be a tratise, nor to solve all problems. Like all great books, it is a simple, concise, yet essential single lesson in economics. From a broken window glass it takes you through all main aspects of modern economics and teaches you an essential lesson: think about the unseen effects of economic policies and actions. Get that lesson wrong and you will find yourself in the midst of a third world economics mentality (which of course you may want, depending on your political position in life)....more info
  • A great macro-understanding of a dismal science!
    This book is not a thorough, complicated review of every aspect of economics. This is a book that explains the fundamentals in easy prose and understandable terms. It won't make you an economist nor will you prepare you for an economics' exam... but it will increase your general knowledge of economics and some of the fundamentals behind the everyday terms you hear. You will really understand the theory behind the jargon. I liked it and thought it was easy to read and understandable. It's relatively short and is good for beginners as well as the more advanced readers in the this area.
    From the outset, we are explained in this book that the two important issues that make economics less than an exact science (physics, etc.) is the influence of interest groups and balancing the short term needs vs. the long term needs of individuals and the society - very basic and yet so true.
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  • Very Outdated
    As an undergraduate I had my doubts about this book. My studies of Economics at the graduate level confirmed my suspicion that this book is very outdated. If you're looking for a more intelligent approach to Economics, read Macroeconomics by Mankiw, or Microeconomic Analysis by Varian. Romer's Advanced Macroeconomics is also somewhat of a standard. At the very least, I encourage you to review other sources and not rely too heavily on this one book which in no way accurately portrays modern economic thought....more info
  • This ain't no economics book!
    I was expecting a book on economics 101, so maybe I might understand market forces, PE ratios, stuff like that.

    It's just a big argument for a libertarian government. Not even particularly good arguments either - they're all based on metaphors, like the broken window (paraphrased from memory):
    'Even though they may get paid, a community does not get rich fixing broken windows. That holds the community still, it does not push it forward.'

    That's a fine argument and all, but that's not teaching. Metaphors are mental manipulation... give me all the pros and cons and let me decide. Or better: give me the damn facts.

    And it's outdated too. The book is 50 years old. We are so NOT in Post WWII economics....more info
  • a no interference in the market introduction to economics
    The lesson of Economics in One Lesson is that any interference in economic systems that helps one group of people always ends up taking something away from another group of people. The author believes that the less interference in economic systems there is the better the economic system runs. He is against make work schemes, excessive taxes, public works, tariffs, a minimum wage, and unions. He is even critical of Social Security. This book was written originally in 1946 so there is no talk of the issue of Globalization and the numbers used are smaller than we are accustomed to, but otherwise it talks about timeless issues. I think it is important to remember that there are other ways of thinking about economics that are not so extreme in their opposition to public works, unions and a minimum wage. I also think that, although the market does correct itself without intervention and therefore the overall arguments of the author are correct, wages, for example, would be a lot lower if we did not have a minimum wage. Many minimum wage jobs require no skills and therefore there are lots of people to fill them so there is no competition for labor and therefore no incentive to offer higher wages. This book left me wanting to read more about economics, not just for more of the author's point of view, but also for opposing points of view.
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  • A good libertarian primer
    This book is a little outdated, and a little heavy on the libertarianism, but otherwise it's a very easy read, and I particularly like some of the stories it uses to present basic economic ideas....more info
  • Best book to understand basic economics.
    Understanding of basic economics is almost necessary for everyone and this is the one of the best books which explains it in much simpler way. When I started reading this book, I was very curious to know the lesson the author is trying to teach in this book, and it is just not about demand and supply which many other academic economic books trying to teach you.

    The author provides good insights into the consequences of the vote-bank policies framed by politicians and bureaucrats in the various governments around the world. The reader can get fair understanding of the effects to the public by the taxation of government, and different policies like trade barriers, minimum wage law, regulatory policies and more importantly effects of inflation and government policies to cause and contain inflation.

    Common words like credit, spending, savings, investment are explained adequately to understand their effects on the production and individual. As author himself points out in the last chapter, though not many of these lessons are not followed by politicians around the world even now, this book is must read for them and for public to understand the repercussions of policies introduced by the government and to provide long term solutions to the public welfare. ...more info
  • Elementary liberal economy
    This book is not for those of you that have already done a lot of economics. It's far too basic to be very useful for you, but it can for sure be a very useful lesson for those not "schooled" in the area.
    It throughly stomps quite a few common misconceptions the "common man" has about economic policy and its consequences, so for that I applaud the book. Some people find it too simplistic and harsh, but this book, like Hayeks "A road to serfdom" were written in a time where these truths were not very well known, so a loud voice was needed. (And probably unevitable considering the frustration great minds like Hayek must have felt when he saw what governments were doing, considering what he knew.)

    And for those of you that say it is dated: Read it again, with an open mind. None of the principles are dated, and as he notes a couple of times, history has a bad tendency to repeat itself; not much has changed in the way politicians handle economic issues since this book was written. (Sure, many details have changed, but thorough understanding is still in most part lacking.)...more info
  • Unsatisfactory and very outdated
    I am in my 60's and thought it would be a good time to remedy what I perceived as a gap in my education, economics. I never had a course in economics and the only book I had read was Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophers, a satisfying but very general overview as I recall. I probably read Heilbroner in the late 70's.

    I'm an audible subscriber and got Economics in One Lesson from them. I can only say that the book was dated, full of economic events that were referenced from WWII, and excessively polemical and rigid.

    I read it some time ago but it made enough of a bad impression on me that when I saw it in my suggestion list around number 250, I just had to get onto this page and say what a terrible disappointment the book was.

    I think the book should be retitled, Economics in One Polemic: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand the Economics of the Late 1940's and the 1950's.
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  • Fantastic Intro to Important Economic Principles
    This is a simple, but amazingly profound, mind blowing introduction to some basic economic principles. The principles outlined here are quite simple, and yet it seems so many people today can not grasp these basic truths.

    Granted this book is a bit dated, but most of it is still useful and much of it seems as if it were written today.

    I sincerely wish more politicians and voters today would read this book, it would go a long way toward restoring some knowledge of basic economics and some common sense to the decisions that get made on the political sphere.

    There are many economics books that are so dense that I would take no delight in reading nor would I feel comfortable recommending to someone who is not already an economics wonk. However, with this title, I have no such reservations. I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone. I guarantee it will be enlightening in at least one or two areas!...more info
  • Simply brilliant!
    This is a great start to learning Austrian economics, or rather, any kind of economics. All members of Congress should be required to read this before being allowed to vote on any bills. Peter Schiff's "Crashproof" would be a great followup to reading Economics in One Lesson. And for the more serious student of Austrian economics, especially in these times, you should read von Mises Theory of Money and Credit, and Rothbard's The Great Depression....more info
  • A Good Read
    This book is a fine introduction to how economic theory can dictate policies that promote the economic well being of society. The focus of the book is "The Law of Unintended Consequences", and the author brings in countless examples of how well meaning policies, such as price ceilings, rent control, etc have led to disastrous results.

    In giving it 4 stars instead of 5, I'd like to point out some concerns.
    1) The book, while a classic, is somewhat dated. The ideas are still pertinent, but many examples are not as relevant today.
    2) I'm afraid that reading Naked Economics first spoiled me a bit. This book lacked the humor and pep that kept me engrossed in the former.

    3) Most importantly, the book is strictly about economics, and is too simplistic in some ways. It fails to incorporate the complex real world political dynamics that determine policy. Today, most congressmen are sold on the benefits of free trade. But the barriers to economic growth are more nuanced in the real world.
    Some will argue that this was not the focus of the book, and they are correct. Still, I fear that a reader will latch onto Hazlitt's ideas as a panacea, and fail to appreciate that in a world where "Keeping up with the Joneses" is as important, if not more important, than how much wealth one has, that policy decisions are more complex that the author would have us believe.

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  • Required reading
    This book makes economics easy to understand. It S/B required reading for all high school students and anyone else who believes in the merits of capitalism....more info
  • Important Lessons
    Henry Hazlitt is amazing. His ability to clearly communicate the natural forces of the market and how economics works - stripped of all the hoo haa of political bombast - is very easy to understand. It's clear, concise, and as you read, you compare what he says to real life and you can see the truth of his words. Every American should read this book right now. We would have a different country, and an enormously prosperous one....more info
  • Today's Economics explained in 1946.
    Written in 1946, this best explains the insanity of trying to spend your way out of debt. You cannot pay off a debt by borrowing money. The U. S. Treasury's printing presses are already out of ink! Hoot if you please but it is called socialism....more info
    It is astounding that anyone in this age can seriously recommend this book. It has no bearing on the world economy and is blatantly anti labor and anti government regulation. It is hopelessly out of date. ...more info
  • Easy Economics
    I was looking for a book on economics that would be quick and easy to read but was well thought out and detailed, and this book nailed it. It explains economics in easy to understand language but is detailed as well. I highly recommend this as a step into the world of economics....more info
  • A Beginning
    Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson" (has this little book ever been out of print?) is possibly the best simple, short, single volume you can find on the massive subject of economics. It will provide the uneducated with the kind of to-the-point knowledge and foundational understanding that will be of immense help in understanding more esoteric works.

    An additional book that helps in rounding out a beginning education in classical economics is Frederick Bastiat's, "Economic Sophisms." I believe you can purchase a publication somewhere that has an introduction by Hazlitt, symmetry in action don't ya think?
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  • More Relevant than Ever
    This book is really rather remarkable. It was written in the 1940s and revised in the early 70s but I can't help, but feel that it was written for no better time than now. The fallacies Hazlitt demolishes are still passed around verbatim today as proverbial wisdom from the same 'brilliant' economists trotted out by the media, despite having failed to foresee the current crisis (late 2008).

    The world is rational. Read this book and you'll no longer be surprised by the frantic, panicked news chatter heard all around. There is nothing more special or unique about this current crisis. It is a truly predictable debacle and the direct consequence of belief in economic fallacy. Economic Law exists and its gravity will come to bear regardless of the attempts of interventionist actors. Nothing in this world comes for free.

    Hazlitt, drawing from the best traditions of Economics, lays it all out, neatly and succinctly. Strongly recommended....more info