Books: Inside the Economist's Mind (I.T.E.M.) and Getting It Wrong

This Blog hosts discussion of issues relevant to the book, Inside the Economist's Mind, coedited by Nobel Laureate Paul A. Samuelson and William A. Barnett, published by Wiley/Blackwell, and the newer book by William A. Barnett, Getting It Wrong, published by MIT Press.

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William A. Barnett is Oswald Distinguished Professor of Macroeconomics at the University of Kansas and Director of the Center for Financial Stability in New York City. He was previously Research Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC; Stuart Centennial Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin; and Professor of Economics at Washington University in St. Louis. William Barnett has been a leading researcher in macroeconomics and econometrics. He is one of the pioneers in the study of chaos and nonlinearity in socioeconomic contexts, as well as a major figure in the study of the aggregation problem. He is Editor of the Emerald Press monograph series International Symposia in Economic Theory and Econometrics, and Editor of the journal Macroeconomic Dynamics, published by Cambridge University Press. He received his B.S. degree from M.I.T., his M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He has published 20 books (as either author or editor) and over 140 articles in professional journals. His research has been published in 7 languages.


The book, Inside the Economist's Mind, is coedited by Paul A. Samuelson and William A. Barnett. Although this Blog is hosted solely by the latter coeditor, the following is the information in the book's front matter about Paul Samuelson:

Paul A. Samuelson was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. He is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Professor is the highest rank awarded by MIT. His landmark 1947 book, Foundations of Economic Analysis, based upon his Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard University, established him as "the economists' economist" by raising the standards of the entire profession. Paul Samuelson's classic textbook, Economics, first published in 1948, is among the most successful textbooks ever published in the field. The book's 16 editions have sold over four million copies and have been translated into 41 languages. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. As one of the profession's most productive scholars for over a half-century, he remains an intellectual force of towering stature.

Friday, November 24, 2006

European Press Release

Blackwell's publicity has begun in earnest with an advertisement in the New York Review of Books (vol 53, no 20, December 21, 2006, p. 34) and a press release for the European market. The prices on the release are in British pounds sterling. You can view the press release clearly as a full size gif or even more clearly as a high resolution pdf.

Monday, November 20, 2006

David Warsh's Commentary on ITEM

David Warsh's contains a commentary on the book today. His long article contains the following particularly interesting observations:

  • "This is as close as anyone in economics has come to the interviews with influential writers for which Paris Review was famous ...Thus Janos Kornai’s thesis defense in Budapest, on the eve of the Revolution in 1956, attracted an audience of several hundred people. But its appearance as a book, Overcentralization, got him fired (while, for other activities, a close friend was executed). Robert Lucas turned down George Shultz’s offer of a job in Washington and Arthur Laffer was hired instead. Jacques Drèze, the Belgian polymath who founded CORE (the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics) at the Catholic University of Louvain and turned it into a world-class incubator of new ideas, started adult life in London representing his father’s small-town bank in 1949. Before long he was representing most of the other businesses in his little Belgian hometown: selling sterling forward on behalf of wool washers, bartering pig iron to Finns in return for textile machinery, raising equity capital and mediating labor agreements. The book is full of illuminating personal stories like these."

Friday, November 10, 2006

New Economist Blog Commentary

The first serious post about this book on another blog just appeared on the highly-regarded British blog, New Economist. The first sentence of that commentary is:

  • "Published earlier this week, Inside the Economist's Mind: Conversations with Eminent Economists has all the hallmarks of an economic bestseller."
The conclusion to the long commentary is,

  • "So order the book, and be prepared to be astonished."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hardcover versus Paperback

While the hardcover is priced more than twice as high as the paperback, the hardcover does look significantly better. In addition to having a more attractive cover, the pages of the book are printed on higher quality paper, so that the photographs within the book look better in the hardcover edition. In short, the paperback is the best buy, but the hardcover is the "class act."

If you want the hardcover edition, you can get a very good member price at Barnes & Noble. But they are not discounting the nonmember price, except for the paperback.