The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our Worldby Zachary Karabell
The Leading Indicators was widely and well received as a much needed corrective to the outdated, outmoded economic figures we are accustomed. Every day, we are bombarded with numbers that tell us how we are doing, whether the economy is growing or shrinking, whether the future looks bright or dim. Gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment,/i>
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Enjoyable Economics for Laymen A study of the value modern economic reports would appear to be a boring topic for most laymen (including myself). Instead, I was pleased to find this book to be an entertaining mixture of economic history, philosophy, and social science. Mr. Karabell questions our reliance on most economic quantities. For example, I have normally been pleased or upset when the monthly unemployment rate shows a slight decline or increase, respectively. However, after learning why these numbers were developed, how they are calculated, and the hidden variables that contribute to final reported result, I found myself wondering if the unemployment rate has any true meaning in daily life. Likewise, statistics like rates of inflation, balance of trade, and Gross Domestic Product are analyzed and lead to similar doubts. The author’s theme is that most economic statistics which we use today were developed for a twentieth century world that no longer exists. This book is filled with examples to support his thesis. The writing flows nicely, providing an enjoyable and thought provoking experience.