Publication Date: March 5, 2012
Ec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy by Kersten Kelly is a nonfiction book about economics that outlines basic principles with relatable examples relevant to current life. This is not, under normal circumstances, a book I would have ever picked to read on my own. I was asked, by the author, to read this book and post an honest review.
The author is a big fan of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. She suggests the work as a prerequisite to reading her treatise on the topic. I, like the author, read the book in college as a requirement for a class I was taking. I was not as blown away by it as she, but it’s clear, as she introduces herself to us, that we’re very different people. For example, she strives to learn and I am happy every day that the university era of my life is over. As she cites, working 40 hours per week and studying 20 wears on a person.
As I read the book, I knew the concepts and found her examples relatable. I decided to compare the book to my last economics textbook from college (produced and gifted to students by Ben and Jerry’s — the Ice Cream Company — in exchange for which we all signed agreements that we would never give away or sell the book, and if we wanted to dispose of it, we would return it to the company). As textbooks go, I think if you have a child having trouble understanding the basic economic concepts entailed, ec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy: a blend of pop culture, economics, and social trends is a good, relatable, text for them. Kelly relates the concepts to current models in a conversational way (if a little advanced in language for a high school child).
One example contained in the narrative: Starbucks is expensive and a luxury in a changing economy (the price of coffee here in Canada is even higher than Kelly lists using the American example), so McDonald’s saw the future and changed their menu to fit the times expanding to the McCafé line. I stopped when reading and reflected on how this example relates directly to me. I bought a Starbucks drink every Friday on the way to work but as the price climbed to more than $6 per beverage, I stopped using Starbucks in favor of McCafé. In the last two years, I believe I’ve had one Starbucks coffee whereas I’ve had countless McCafés which Kelly cites an example of a changing market. Kelly also relates us to inelastic principles — cigarettes for smokers. I could go on but I won’t because I believe that example makes my point.
Kelly, in the title, offers to simplify economics for us and she does in the text. Would I read this again? No. Did I enjoy this book … not really. I will, however, recommend this book as an introduction to economic principles. This work is well written and simplified and I think anyone will understand the principles once they finish reading. To my mind, this is a textbook. If you read this sort of book for fun, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Read an excerpt and buy ec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy: a blend of pop culture, economics, and social trends by Kersten Kelly on