Chad Perrin: SOB

22 January 2009

Economics in One Lesson (plus or minus 25)

Filed under: Cognition,Liberty,Review — apotheon @ 12:53

Economics in One Lesson is a book written by Henry Hazlitt and first published in 1946. Since then, in subsequent editions, a few statistics have been updated and two chapters have been added, over the course of more than thirty years, before the current edition.


He begins by explaining the purpose of the book, and describes the title he chose as both ambitious and belligerent. Of course, the book’s current edition contains 26 chapters, so I guess one might say it’s more accurately “economics in 26 lessons”, but at they appear to be very short, clear, easily absorbed lessons, judging by what I’ve read so far.


I just yesterday received a copy of it from Amazon. I read the first seven chapters before bed. I won’t promise to provide chapter by chapter reviews — but I will surely describe, here at SOB, some of my thoughts and reactions as I read the book. So far, I have 15 sticky notes stuck into the book at various points with notes scribbled on them, and have highlighted 25 passages.

I’m usually the type that likes to maintain books in as close to pristine condition as is reasonable — I don’t set them down open with the spine up to save a page; I don’t dog-ear pages; I open them such that I don’t crack the spines at all; I tend to put other books on top of them after I’ve been reading for a while so that the curve in the cover gets straightened out; and so on. Before I was halfway through the first edition’s preface (which immediately follows the newest edition’s preface), I realized I was going to have to start marking up the book with a highlighter, though.

Consider that my initial recommendation: it’s worth reading. It’ll make you think. Even when I’m already familiar with a principle Hazlitt describes, I find myself making new connections between the principles, or between manifestations of the principles.

That’s at least true of the first third of the book. So far, so good.

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All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License