A remarkable use of parables and dialogues to convey economic intuitions. This should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand this branch of applied philosophy we call economics.
The Price of Everything
A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity
A Stanford University provost and a star-student and world-class tennis player clash about the virtues of top-down intervention vs. order that emerges from the bottom-up. Along the way, a group of students protest the role of a big box retailer on campus entangling the provost and her tennis-playing pupil. My best novel, I think, this book explores emergent order in the economy and our standard of living.
Don’t be put off by the title, you just might not be able to put it down. Its brilliance is in its simplicity, and it’s now the first economics book I recommend. Yes, Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose and Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom are still the cornerstones, but easy to read? No.
The Price of Everything illuminates the astonishing economic world we live in. This book could change your life—reading it will give you a sense of wonder about the everyday marvels that are all around us.
The Price of Everything [is] Russ Roberts’ latest didactic novel. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I thought his other fictional attempts to teach economics were decent, but in my opinion this one represents a real step up.
Have you ever wanted to give a friend a book that explains the main virtues of economic freedom in a dramatic way that is accessible to a broad audience? Russell Roberts’s latest novel, The Price of Everything, is the book you want. That’s right: I said ‘latest novel.’
The best attempt to teach economics through fiction that the world has seen to date.
This book is the third foray into the world of economic fiction for Roberts. In terms of prose and content, it is also his best effort. . . . In this new book, set on and around the Stanford University campus, Roberts bundles several clever insights about everyday economics with the overriding theme of prosperity and economic growth, and pulls it all off with warmth and plenty of heart.
I loved the way Roberts wove into the story examples of what Hayek called spontaneous order that even those who believe that order happens only from the top down would have to acknowledge–from dancers moving unpredictably on the dance floor without ever colliding to the thousands of people and bits of specialized knowledge it takes to make a pencil, which nobody can make by himself. This little book deserves an audience as wide as eventually developed for ‘Economics in One Lesson.’ It conveys similar information in a more nuanced, personal and humanistic way. Nice work.