Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 13, 2011 - History - 576 pages
In a sweeping narrative, the author of the megabestseller A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.

Nasar’s account begins with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and publishing the condition of the poor majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering place in the world. This was a new pursuit. She describes the often heroic efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshall, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and the American Irving Fisher to put those insights into action—with revolutionary consequences for the world.

From the great John Maynard Keynes to Schumpeter, Hayek, Keynes’s disciple Joan Robinson, the influential American economists Paul Samuelson and Milton Freedman, and India’s Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, she shows how the insights of these activist thinkers transformed the world—from one city, London, to the developed nations in Europe and America, and now to the entire planet. In Nasar’s dramatic narrative of these discoverers we witness men and women responding to personal crises, world wars, revolutions, economic upheavals, and each other’s ideas to turn back Malthus and transform the dismal science into a triumph over mankind’s hitherto age-old destiny of misery and early death. This idea, unimaginable less than 200 years ago, is a story of trial and error, but ultimately transcendent, as it is rendered here in a stunning and moving narrative.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LisaMaria_C - LibraryThing

In her preface, Nasar describes Grand Pursuit as “the story of an idea that was born in the Golden Age before World War I,” the grand pursuit of “turning economics into an instrument of mastery” that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - unlikely - LibraryThing

Very disappointing. Almost no explanation of the economic theories and arguments raised by the economists. Almost exclusively, a history of their lives and times. I don't feel that I gained any further understanding of the economic principles at issue. Very disappointing. Read full review


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Must There Be a Proletariat?
Miss Potters Profession
Cross of Gold Fisher and the Money Illusion
Creative Destruction
War of the Worlds
Europe Is Dying Keynes at Versailles
The Joyless Street Schumpeter and Hayek in Vienna
The Economists War
Exile Schumpeter and Hayek in World War II
Past and Future Keynes at Bretton Woods
Instruments of Mastery
Grand Illusion Robinson in Moscow and Beijing
Imagining the Future 461

Immaterial Devices of the Mind
Magneto Trouble Keynes and Fisher

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About the author (2011)

Sylvia Nasar is the author of the bestselling A Beautiful Mind, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography. She is the John S. and James. L Knight Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

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