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Extended Audio Sample Grand Pursuit: The History of Economic Genius, by Sylvia Nasar Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (420 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sylvia Nasar Narrator: John Bedford Lloyd, Anne Twomey Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nasar is a superb writer...The book is a kind of portrait gallery of economic thinkers, each artfully set down in his or her time and place...You can’t help becoming engrossed in their lives.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Nasar brilliantly brings to life game-changing economists from Marx to Hayek and from Sidney Webb to Milton Friedman, tracing the evolution of modern economic thinking through the richly detailed stories of the men and woman who reshaped how we think of life’s possibilities...This is an utterly fascinating book on many levels...No lesser mind could have written a book so rich, so compelling, so important, and so much fun.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “A fascinating excursion into the economic ideas and personalities that have deposited most of us at a standard of living unparalleled in human history.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “One of the many wonderful things about Nasar’s book is that in it, economic genius isn’t limited to the usual suspects…Even when exploring famous economic minds, Nasar brings out the humanity in the dismal science.”


  • Grand Pursuit is a history of economics which is full of flesh, bloom, and warmth. The author demonstrates that there is far more to economics than Thomas Carlyle’s ‘dismal science’...A wonderful book. Grand Pursuit deserves a place not only in every economist’s study but also on every serious reader’s bedside table.”


  • “A timely reminder of the importance of the so-called dismal science...Written almost as a novel and aimed at those without a background in economics, the book charts capitalism’s evolution through the eyes of the people who invented it...It is compellingly written, full of detail and vivid anecdotes, and with a refreshing focus on people rather than prices.” 


  • “Anne Twomey has a reassuring, somewhat husky voice that is well suited to the material, [and]...John Bedford Lloyd has a full, deep voice that...makes the narrative fresh and vital.”  


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science & Technology

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Olegs Tkacevs | 2/18/2014

    " An interesting insight into the lives of most prominent economists over the last 150 years. Still a bit chaotic, poorly structured and intellectual ideas are sacrificed in favour of private affairs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rachel | 2/17/2014

    " Very good. Many historical analogies as well as literary (Dickens). Heady book, I recommend to any former MBA. Extremely interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Annita | 1/25/2014

    " A book on economics which begins with Jane Austen and Charles Dickens has this reader's attention. Page 64 and I'm already engrossed in familiar characters' perspectives as each views economic and political issues from withing the historical time and environment each lived. At page 64, the reader is introduced to the influences and circumstances of Dickens and Carlyle, Engel and Marx,Malthus, Kant, Mayhew, John Stewart Mill, Sidgwick, Keynes and Marshall. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Louise | 1/25/2014

    " Great history of economics, Reads like an historical novel. I really learned a lot. Written by author of "A Beautiful Mind". "

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