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May 2, 2000

We live in the world of the digital investor, the dot-com IPO, and daytraders. But how many people truly understand economics? Terms like "Gross National Product," "inflation rate," "unemployment," etc. get tossed around like vegetables in a salad bowl -- and it's easy to become quickly confused. The solution? The best $12.80 I have ever spent.

Jacob DeRooy's Economic Literacy: What Everyone Needs to Know About Money and Markets is what a textbook should be: enjoyable. The book is filled with comical anecdotes that serve as prime examples of just about every common economic term. Want to know how GNP is computed? DeRooy not only defines it, but makes it understandable. And worth the 3 minutes of reading.

The biggest fault in higher education economics classes may be the use of mundate and purely fictional examples in textbooks. Using guns and butter (boring!) to talk about the production possibility frontier (see previous parenthetical afterthought) really, really sucks. DeRooy's book ignores the status quo, bucking the old to provide examples that are relevent to the real world.

As a college junior, lost in a myriad of economic mumbo-jumbo, this book turned the tide of my career as a student. My intermediate macroeconomics grade -- and more importantly, my understanding of the material -- went up significantly when I tossed my professor-mandated textbook under my bed (the textbook equivilant to the back of the freezer, but warmer) and used this for the rest of the semester. And then again for intermediate micro... and when explaining common economic terms to my English-major ("Might I interest you in several fried tuber sections to accompany your tasty beverage?") friends.

In fact, I wonder why I bothered spending all that money on classes. I could have forgone some of them and been able to afford a hardcover copy ($25.00).

Dan