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Economics in One Lesson (1946)

by Henry Hazlitt

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2,359375,519 (4.19)21
Called by H.L. Mencken, one of the few economists in history who could really write, Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for this brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes and recession. Coveting considerable ground, Hazlitt illustrates the destructive effects of taxes, rent and price controls, inflation, trade restrictions and minimum wage laws. And, he writes about key classical liberal thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John Smart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville and Herbert Spencer.… (more)
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The book is well written - short and concise, however, I found title completely misleading. It is not a book of economics, rather one-sided view of a particular view of the economy - Free Market. In short, it states that all of the problems will be solved by the market itself and with this in mind, government actions usually just make it worse. One can agree or disagree with this but what I particularly didn't like is that most of the arguments are based on questionable (weak) premises and gross oversimplification, not to mention that any other idea is dismissed (also mocked) as not right without any proper argumentation.

Give it a go if you are looking for a one-sided view on economics based on Austrian School. ( )
  Giedriusz | Oct 16, 2022 |
The title is a pretty good descriptor. I've been wanting to read more economic literature lately and this was one a lot of people suggested (especially in the libertarian and Austrian economic camps). While this isn't a "basic econ. class" type read, it does take a hand full of basic, normal issues and looks at them with a very logical presentation. There are a few concepts and ideas that you might have to look up elsewhere or re-read what you just read, but overall Hazlitt presents the material quite well. He does this on a number of topics including the broken windows theory, taxes, public works, full employment, tariffs (imports and exports), savings, commodities, government price-fixing, rent control, minimum wage, unions, profit, and a great one of inflation.

Probably my favorite chapters were 1) inflation because it is really not understood well even by economists. Hazlitt really hits it out of the park is at the very least getting you to understand WHY knowing about inflation is important. 2) Rent control was a really interesting look that kind of surprised me with how interesting it was. 3) Government price-fixing and unions in the same boat. Hazlitt tries to present a non-political view over the subjects covered and look at the issues from a strictly economic POV although some people might view this as very political. The book was published early in the 20th century and I read the 1978 updated version. It's sad, as Hazlitt points out as well, how much we haven't learned of the almost immediate past. His quick shot of how much of a continuous failure Keynesian economics has been.

I would definitely recommend this for an adult reader who wants a "practical application/look" to economics or a student who doesn't mind looking up a few concepts in a dictionary. Final Grade - B ( )
  agentx216 | Aug 1, 2022 |
Some commentary is a little dated (last revision was the 1970's). But content overall is good. Doesn't take into account things like greed or selfish thinking, but i don't know how you would account for that anyways, so its fine. ( )
  CptGoldfish | May 8, 2022 |
Many people I respect have mentioned Economics in One Lesson as a book that had a profound influence on them. Had I read it much earlier in my life, I might well feel the same way. I still don't think it's the first book I'd recommend to someone curious about economics today. But it might be the second or third. Well worth a read. ( )
  szarka | Feb 9, 2021 |
This book has been the springboard from which millions have come to understand the basic truths about economics - and the economic fallacies responsible for inflation, unemployment, high taxes, and recession.

H.L. Mencken called Hazlitt "one of the few economists in human history who could really write. Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek hailed this book as "a brilliant performance. "If there were a Nobel Prize for clear economic thinking, Mr. Hazlitt's book would be a worthy recipient... like a surgeon's scalpel, it cuts through... much nonsense that has been written in recent years about our economic.
  Maurizjo | Jan 29, 2021 |
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Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man.
Preface: This book is an analysis of economic fallacies that are at last so prevalent that they have almost become a new orthodoxy.
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Called by H.L. Mencken, one of the few economists in history who could really write, Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for this brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes and recession. Coveting considerable ground, Hazlitt illustrates the destructive effects of taxes, rent and price controls, inflation, trade restrictions and minimum wage laws. And, he writes about key classical liberal thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John Smart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville and Herbert Spencer.

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