The one-sentence summary

Most of what you hear about economics and how economies work is rubbish.


  • This book destroys the myths about economies and explains how the world really works. His points, or ‘things’, are:

1.     There is no such thing as a free market (all have some regulations)

2.    Companies should not be run in the interest of their owners (because they all want short-term gain, which is usually detrimental)

3.    Most people in rich countries are paid more than they should be

4.    The washing machine has changed the world more than the internet has (by reducing the time needed for household chores and allowing women to work)

5.     Assume the worst about people and you get the worst

6.    Greater macroeconomic stability has not made the world economy more stable

7.     Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich

8.    Capital has a nationality (transnational corporations always have a national base and mentality)

9.    We do not live in a post-industrial age

10.  The US does not have the highest living standard in the world

11.   Africa is not destined for underdevelopment

12.  Governments can pick winners

13.  Making rich people richer doesn’t make the rest of us richer

14.  US managers are over-priced

15.  People in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than those in rich countries

16.  We are not smart enough to leave things to the market

17.  More education in itself is not going to make a country richer (education makes people live better lives but doesn’t increase productivity)

18.  What is good for General Motors is not necessarily good for the United States (businesses need to be regulated properly)

19.  Despite the fall of communism, we are still living in planned economies

20. Equality of opportunity may not be fair

21.  Big government makes people more open to change (a well-designed welfare state can encourage people to take more risks because they have a safety net)

22. Financial markets need to become less, not more, efficient (modern efficiencies have made the market more unstable)

23. Good economic policy does not require good economists


  • It is in a short, pithy format. Each thing is introduced with  a paragraph on What They tell You followed by What They Don’t Tell You.


  • Nothing. It’s a good read even for the layperson.