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, May 29, 2007

Choice Picks

Each month, the editors of Choice magazine publish online the reviews they decide to highlight as "Editors' Picks." ITEM was a "highly recommended" Editors' Pick for June 2007.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Choice Magazine Review

The following review appears in the June 2007 issue of Choice Magazine:

Social & Behavioral Sciences \ Economics

Inside the economist's mind: conversations with eminent economists

, ed. by Paul A. Samuelson and William A. Barnett. Blackwell Publishing, 2007. 419p afp ISBN 1405159170 pbk, $29.95; ISBN 9781405159173 pbk, $29.95. Reviewed in 2007jun CHOICE.

Inside the Economist's Mind offers 16 stand-alone, candid personal interviews with some of the world's best economists, conducted by other leading economists. A far cry from Matt Lauer talking with Tom Cruise on The Today Show, these 25-page conversations quickly hone in on what makes these leading economists from the academic world and public policy corridors tick, and how they--and the profession itself--evolved in research and thinking. These chapters originally appeared in an academic journal (Macroeconomic Dynamics, various issues, 1998-2005), and the exchanges are pitched at a fairly sophisticated level and tilt toward macroeconomic theory and policy matters. Some knowledge about and appreciation for higher economic analysis should be expected from readers; such readers have the most to gain from the book. But the people and the personalities show through in this superb collection of "economists' economists," or more specifically, the "old guard"--all are over 60; a companion volume on the "young and the restless" would make a nice complement. Bibliographic materials--references, appendixes, index--are not necessary or included in the volume. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Informed general readers; students, lower-division undergraduate and up; researchers and practitioners. -- A. R. Sanderson, University of Chicago

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bottom Line/Personal

ITEM was just listed as one of the four "Best Personal Finance Books" by Bottom Line/Personal.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Economic History Review

The earliest reviews to appear have been in newspapers and magazines in the popular press. Book reviews published by the economics profession take longer to appear. A professional review relative to history of economic thought just appeared in EH.NET (EH stands for economic history). The review is by Professors Michael Szenberg at Pace University and Lall Ramrattan at the U. of California at Berkeley.

EH.Net is supported by the Economic History Association along with the following affiliated organizations: the Business History Conference, the Cliometric Society, the Economic History Society, and the History of Economics Society.

Among the more interesting comments in the long review of ITEM are the following:

"They [Samuelson and Barnett] raise mirrors reflecting the ideas of eminent economists presented in the volume, and these mirrors, like those of the Hubble Space Telescope, focus them in sizable bits for the digestion of the readers . . . The interviews are meticulously balanced . . . Reflecting on the scope of the book, we find rays of spontaneous thought from minds that breathe and dream of economics . . . our review implies that the ideas covered in this volume have some ability to predict and have been validated thus far in their confrontation with reality. . . If one is looking for answers to how economists discover great thoughts, this book is a place to start looking . . . The readers will find this a source book for comprehensive thought on the deep matter of economics. No one interested in the modern economy should fail to read it."