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Good Economics for Hard Times

Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems
Narrated by: James Lurie
Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Two prize-winning economists show how economics, when done right, can help us solve the thorniest social and political problems of our day. 

Figuring out how to deal with today's critical economic problems is perhaps the great challenge of our time. Much greater than space travel or perhaps even the next revolutionary medical breakthrough, what is at stake is the whole idea of the good life as we have known it. 

Immigration and inequality, globalisation and technological disruption, slowing growth and accelerating climate change - these are sources of great anxiety across the world, from New Delhi and Dakar to Paris and Washington, DC. The resources to address these challenges are there - what we lack are ideas that will help us jump the wall of disagreement and distrust that divides us. If we succeed, history will remember our era with gratitude; if we fail, the potential losses are incalculable. 

In this revolutionary book, renowned MIT economists Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo take on this challenge, building on cutting-edge research in economics explained with lucidity and grace. Original, provocative, and urgent, Good Economics for Hard Times makes a persuasive case for an intelligent interventionism and a society built on compassion and respect. It is an extraordinary achievement, one that shines a light to help us appreciate and understand our precariously balanced world.

©2019 Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo (P)2019 Penguin Audio
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Apt Title

I was hoping that it won't be a boring acadamic book. But it turned out be a eye opener. It changed a lot of biased opinions which i had without any statistical basis. Loved it

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eye opener on a lot of policies

brings a different perspective on all opinions that I had with proper and convincing evidence. must read for anyone who likes to challenge their biases.

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overall a good book about current world issues

I loved to learn about current issues of the world in economics way. it gives a new perspective about these issues. bettered my skills to argue about various problems. accent was good.

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Thank you Abhijit and Esther for writing this

It was so surprising to wake up to so many obvious biases which were invisible before this.

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Real economics

The ideas in this book are really thought provoking, gives a new perspective with which to look at things and make sense.

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a feel good book

ideas beautifully and very easily put. It is a book which everyone can and should read/ listen to.

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Economics can’t be left only to Economists

Can’t get a more sane outlook on economics, what it can do and what I can’t and if can’t then what else must be thought through to make this world a just humane equatable and sustainable place

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Must read in 2020!

Layout is very nice. Every chapter is dedicated to a perticular issue and the book is easy to navigate. It gives you a birds eye view of current situation.

You can look at each chapter as a complete literature review of that topic. The book is very good.

If you are aspiring to do something in the field of economics or have academic background in economics, you will find this book even more enjoyable and inspiring.

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Exceptionally good

The insights in the book is worth the in gold. Rather than the Oracular prophecies the book is filled with Pragmatic experiment backed hypothesis which is excellent.

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A very informative read

The ability of the authors to explain critical concepts in such a lucid way is much appreciated.
Especially loved the breakdown of critical discussions like immigration, impact of artificial intelligence

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  • Craig Lambie
  • 02-07-20

<3 economics = must read

As a fan of freakonomics I love all things eco, this was especially great insights into growth, mindset and how best to respect the down trodden by life to regenerate people and therefore economy's.

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  • Adrian
  • 24-06-20

Brilliant

Duflo and Banerjee at their brilliant best. Must read for economists, policy makers, students and citizens.

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  • Atlantian
  • 05-01-20

Fantastic book

So great learning more about evidence-based approaches to challenges our societies face, rather than the hunches and populist policies many politicians implement. The authors are incredible Nobel Prize winners in economics.

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  • Adrian J. Smith
  • 10-12-19

Worthy of the Nobel Prize

This book postulates a noble idea with a pragmatic outlook, to further encompass variables within the field of Economics to take account of a broader picture.
Economics, like almost every other subject these days, is at its core, a multi disciplinary field. If anyone wanted a purer concentration on Economics, this in itself would be sadly lacking, and this book demonstrates this.
A particular skill of this book is to take into account the social costs job loss and unemployment causes, but also to take account the inefficiencies of protected labour markets with un-fireable workers.
A strength of the authors is their willingness to acknowledge that many economic prescriptions are not self evident and they may not always sell, a particular example is the war on Coal under Obama, and Hillary Clinton's ineptly worded affirmation to continue this "we're going to put alot of people out of work."
The authors are smart enough to recognize the difficulty of seeing their prescriptions being adopted, which in itself is a strength.
A particular flaw of the book was the chapter on environmentalism and a Green New Deal was a bit too long, especially since this is not new and very familiar to all.
The narration by James Lurie just didn't seem like the appropriate match, you would expect his voice to be appropriate for a classic novel or an ancient historical text. Personal preferences speaking, but his narration just didn't fit.
Overall a decent work and one can appreciate why they became Nobel Laureates.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marion F.S.
  • 28-06-20

Presenting research is helping us fight poverty

I had forgotten this "little detail" about the two authors while I was listening to the book:

2019.10.14: “The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 to” - Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, & Michael Kremer - “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. & “The research conducted by this year’s Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.”

While I lived in Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden I tried to listen to live lectures by Nobel Laureates whenever possible. I now live far removed from these cities but there are always books! This is an important book insofar as it points to both fallacies in-, and workable methods for creating a more just world. Recommended listening.

Also: I'm not an economist but had no problem following along - propps for a well-written, and edited book. I may re-listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-06-20

Educational but a slow listen

Interesting case studies to illuminate the arguments, if a little India heavy. Lots of good material to explain to the listener why the authors came to a conclusion.
Enjoyable logic to chapter sequence.
Perhaps the sometimes heavy subject matter doesn’t suit an audiobook. The facts and figures need some digestion which meant a fair amount of pausing and back tracking for me personally. So perhaps I shouldn’t buy anymore Economics audiobooks because it just takes too long!
Great performance from James Lurie.

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  • Megan
  • 21-06-20

Good book but reading could be better

Firstly the book: An interesting and often stimulating book which places emphasis on randomised controlled trials. I initially felt that the facts as set out had high credibility, given that the authors are Nobel. But I did detect some tendentious interpretations. For example the authors, noting actual decreases in longevity in the US due to the opioid epidemic, say that the same thing is occurring in the UK, albeit in slow motion. This is untrue. Another example is an uncritical parroting of Pikkety’s findings. After that, I started to wonder if the evidence that they cite is really as good as all that -e.g. in how many cases they had been designed well, had sufficient statistical power, or been reproduced.

Secondly the reading: I found the reader somewhat distracting. His voice reminded me somewhat of droopy dog’s, and I detected several errors - eg confusing 150 thousand with 150 million and occasionally reading words which do not exist in the English language.

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  • Naresh
  • 17-06-20

A must read/listen for understanding the chaos around us

This book is a must read for anyone who doesn’t understand the intricacies of economics, but still wants to make sense of the happenings around us. The authors, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Nobel Prize Winners Do a fantastic job of explaining how the fundamental principles of logic cannot apply and help us understand explain problems of hot potato topics such as immigration, poverty, trade and jobs.
It isn’t without anything that Bill Gates refers this book.
The audio rendering is amazing and helps when you are exercising to follow the story telling at a pace it can be understood.
Good work audible!

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  • Melvin
  • 02-06-20

An insightful revelation of economics

Love it as it relates to real events in the world of economics. An excellent read

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  • Mr Geoffrey P Hawkins
  • 14-04-20

Excellent compilation of world economics

Bought this book as my first venture into understanding global economics. It did not disappoint! The contents are well laid out and lead the reader through the challenges of the modern world and economic decisions that help overcome them. As I write COVID-19 has changed the world forever but this book has helped me understand how all countries will be able to cope and grow once the global pandemic is beaten off.

I would recommend to anyone wanting to understand more about the economic world around them!

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  • srinivasan
  • 07-05-20

Promised much more!!

the reading experience was good overall. I was hoping for a more explicit mention of solutions and methodology. it seemed to be a recollection of all the studies that the authors conducted.

1 person found this helpful