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.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best Seller Already?

A large shipment of copies of the book has arrived in the US from Oxford and is being distributed to bookstores. But the book has been available in the UK for over a month. In Scotland, Brown Books, which discounts books and provides all profits to charity, is already listing the book as one of its 10 best sellers in economics. I wonder whether some of the copies purchased in the UK have been finding their way to the Texas firm, Metro Books, which has been reselling the $29.95 paperback in the US for $173.34. But I see that they have just dropped their price to $163.71. What a bargain.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Excess Demand for I.T.E.M.

Believe it or not, the current worldwide scarcity of copies of Inside the Economist's Mind has driven the resale market price of the book up to between $129.05 (from a UK supplier) and $173.34 (from a Texas supplier) for the paperback, which lists at $29.95. See Alibris for that resale market. Hopefully this strangely unanticipated market disequilibrium will soon be resolved. On the other hand, I've notice that in the UK where the book has been available for a couple of months, seems to sell out their supply within a couple of weeks of receipt, and then has to reorder. So it seems that Blackwell is having difficulty keeping up with the demand, even in the UK.

Monday, December 11, 2006

San Diego Union-Tribune

Lynn O'Shaughnessy at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper has just chosen I.T.E.M. as one of her five book picks to buy for the holidays. She also is a columnist for, and the Florida Courier, where she has published the same five best picks. She wrote in the three columns:

  • "This is an insightful book for anyone who would like to know what the nation's leading economists are thinking, without plodding through peer-reviewed journals or textbooks. In nugget-sized servings, the book contains interviews with 16 economists, including eight Nobel laureates, who reflect a panoply of views. Freed from the constrained environs of professional journals, these prominent economists were able to talk freely and let their hair down. At least those who still have any left."

New York Review of Books

The Blackwell annual advertisement in the influential holiday issue of the New York Review of Books (December 21, 2006, p. 34) was focused solely on this one book. Here is that advertisement.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Overpriced Used Copies

The book currently is in scarce supply. I have observed that some people who have copies are selling used copies in the US at double the list price on

There is no reason to buy from such "scalpers." They are selling regular paperback copies that are not signed by Samuelson or Barnett. Rest assured that copies of the book will become more widely available, hopefully soon.