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The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World, Revised and Updated

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Praise for Little Book of Economics

"The Little Book of Economics is a quick, fun, and easy read that you'll want to keep around as a reference, since it's jammed with so much substance that just about any economic issue you're going to encounter is made clear here."
—Adam Davidson, co-founder and co-host of Planet Money, a co-production of NPR and This American Life

"Finally, an economics book that is neither dull nor inscrutable and that won't put you to sleep. Greg Ip gives us a lucid and entertaining understanding of the 'dismal science' and reveals how economic concepts and institutions affect our daily lives. This little gem can turn all of us into sophisticated and educated citizens."
—Burton G. Malkiel, Professor of Economics, Princeton University; author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street and The Elements of Investing

"Greg Ip is one of the world's best economic journalists. The Little Book of Economics will teach you much more than a little about the forces that shape all of our lives."
—N. Gregory Mankiw, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; author of Principles of Economics

"Here's the perfect way to understand the economy without breaking a sweat. Clearly written and easy to understand, The Little Book of Economics guides you through what you need to know. Ip's bright light illuminates places previously darkened by insider jargon and arcane formulae."
—Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; former U.S. Secretary of Labor


GREG IP is an award-winning journalist and the U.S. Economics Editor for The Economist magazine, based in Washington, DC. He's spent two decades in financial and economic journalism, including eleven years at the Wall Street Journal in both New York and Washington, DC, and before that, stints at the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail in Canada. He appears frequently on television and radio, including National Public Radio, PBS, and MSNBC and is a regular on-air contributor to CNBC. Greg attended Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he earned a degree in economics and journalism. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Foreword xiii

Introduction xix

Chapter One

The Secrets of Success 1

Chapter Two

Economic Bungee Jumping 25

Chapter Three

In-Flight Monitor 37

Chapter Four

Labor Pains 53

Chapter Five

Fire and Ice 71

Chapter Six

Drop the Puck! 93

Chapter Seven

All the World’s an ATM 111

Chapter Eight

The Price of Economic Freedom 123

Chapter Nine

All the President’s Men 141

Chapter Ten

The Buck Starts Here 155

Chapter Eleven

White Smoke over the Washington Mall 167

Chapter Twelve

When the World Needs a Fireman 187

Chapter Thirteen

The Elephant in the Economy 201

Chapter Fourteen

Good Debt, Bad Debt 219

Chapter Fifteen

Love-Hate Relationship 237

Acknowledgments 257

About the Author 259