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Publisher's Summary

Called by H.L. Mencken, "one of the few economists in history who could really write," Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for his brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes, and recession. Covering considerable ground, Hazlitt illustrates the destructive effects of taxes, rent and price controls, inflation, trade restrictions, and minimum wage laws. And, he writes about key classical liberal thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Herbert Spencer. 

©1962, 1979 by Henry Hazlitt (P)1996 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"If there were a Nobel Prize for clear economic thinking, Mr. Hazlitt's book would be a worthy recipient...like a surgeon's scalpel, it cuts through...much nonsense that has been written in recent years about our economic ailments." (J.W. Hanes, former Undersecretary of the Treasury)

What listeners say about Economics in One Lesson

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but Lopsided

As an economics novice I hoped this book would deepen my understanding of both micro- and macroeconomics from a domestic and global point-of-view. The book explained quite a few fundamentals of economic principle, and this satisfied some of my curiosity, but there was a marked slant for pure capitalism.

While knowledge of free market workings is certainly beneficial, there was no counterpoint, and too often the author devolves into bashing those that do not share his opinions. I felt that I was listening to a very lopsided argument - one that I certainly can appreciate, being a fiscally conservative Republican by nature - but I also wanted to hear the objective alternative views, which I'm sure exist and hold just as much water to those that believe them.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The truth about Economics

This book is excellent as it takes the myths that people have about economics and gives instruction on the falsehoods of those statements. Myths people have such as "War is good for the economy" etc. are expertly handled. This book was written some time ago and stands the test of time. These principles ring true years later. If you want to continue to believe that you can get something for nothing or that through higher taxes and more government spending you will have a greater society then don't buy this book. If you want to understand the truth of economics then look no further.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

New to Economics? Start here!

This book is a wonderful introduction to Economics for those (like myself) unfamiliar with the field. The author clearly and logically illustrates economic principles by examining what he takes to be the major economic fallacy of modern times: That all public spending and intervention is only good, and has no secondary consequences.

Mr. Hazlett sets out his one lesson in the first 20 minutes, and then uses the rest of his effort to illustrate using easily understood examples and actual scenarios. This contact with reality is refreshing for those wearied by the large amount of theoretical illustrations employed by other economists.

Although his views will be out of favour with many North Americans and their increasing devotion to government spending & protectionism, Hazlett presents a surprisingly balanced case for his one lesson.

As the examples unfold, we are reminded that unions are NOT always bad, government spending is NOT always bad, we DO need to consider those who have lost work due to large scale shifts in the workplace due to technology.

The one lesson comes back to it's origin: There are consequences to our actions.

We are encouraged to consider those consequences, think first, and then act. This is a bad thing?

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly an amazing work.

The book explains sophisticated concepts in very understandable terms. It helped me analyze the strengths and weaknesses of various economic actions even though I had no real prior economics training. A must for lawyers, investors, or any person who uses money in society.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Another View

I know very little about the fundamentals of economics, so I downloaded this title to learn. What I found was a full length op ed piece disguised as a book. According to the author, all unions are bad, strikes are only good if there is no picketing, minimum wages are bad for everyone and economic growth can only occur if the free market system has no restrictions. While there are interesting points presented, I can't help but feel that it's being presented by the same folks who brought us child labor, sweat shops and slavery.
There is a reason that slavery and serfdom occured in earlier times. This author would do well to study the economics of Ancient Rome and Medievil Europe before presenting his dogma as facts. Definitely not for the serious student looking to learn from a good teacher.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Guide to Conservative Economics

While this book has a hugely conservative bent and doesn't take into account the value of any other economic ideas. It is a very good overview of the major arguments with which macro-economists work. It is quite insightful in some of its analogies and comparisons, and sure to be mind-expanding for those unfamiliar with economics.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

How do you spell laissez faire?

I agree with other reviews that the arguments presented are clearly stated (and may I add, with conviction) but are incomplete and forgetful of the realities of day to day life. Yes, economic development can be viewed as wealth transference, but to think no further than "robbing peter to pay paul" is a disservice to society on the whole. The erection of tariffs does allow less cost effective business to exist, but economies are not instantly elastic and in the interim people must eat. While this is a book about economics and the principles sound, his enthusiasm for the invisible hand comes off too strong. If nothing else, it?s a great start to a longer discussion on what?s best for society given the raw truths of economics.

20 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Economics is not mathematics,

What did you like about this audiobook?

Better understanding of the subject by the author

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Book was enjoyable, alright!

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

Narrator was just fine.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Certainty, where none exists is dangerous. Some concepts are well explained. The broken window myth, war stimulates the economy myth, building unnecessary things to stimulate economy myth, etc are great. The author starts out to refute "myths of economy", and yet ironically creates and propagates many myths, worse than the ones he sets out to refute in the first place. First fallacy is assuming that economy is a hard science like mathematics. It may be, but all the factors in the equation are not yet fully known. Drawing definite conclusions with many unknown factors is premature. This leads to certainty, where it does not exist and that's the root of many evils.

Another fallacy assumed in this book is that all purchases of goods and services and savings lead to wealth creation. iPad is a good example. Watching movie is another. The money spent does not create wealth for the spender. He simply purchases entertainment. The value of goods or services acquired does not remain the same or increase in all cases. The transaction, however, makes the society richer. The ability to purchase such goods, whose value will declines with time is the hallmark of a wealthy society.

Another biggest fallacy is the assumption that one billion dollars in the hands of one man in a society of a million people is the same as a range of distribution from, say a hundred to million dollars in the hands of all the million people. While the society has a billion in both cases, 999,999,999 are poor in the first and there's a range in the second with varying degrees of purchasing power.

These any many more definite conclusions drawn based on false premises combined with simplicity of explanation make this not merely untrue, but a dangerous book in the hands of few manipulative leaders and a larger herd of unquestioning, uncritical masses. read (listen) very critically.

Do you have any additional comments?

I encourage readers to read or listen to black swan and fooled by randomness.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great primer on economics

If you've ever wondered about the effects of government intervention in the economy and why they continue to try failed policies, this is the book for you.

Highly recommended.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Should be required reading in every school.

As Hazlitt states, economists must simply throw up their hands trying to teach anyone when the bulk of the population has not even progressed an understanding of what Adam Smith wrote in the 17th century. Reading this book should be required prior to any citizen of any country being allowed to vote. This book, along with "Innumeracy" by John Allen Paulos, are the first two I read that have led me on a journey of voracious non-fiction reading to learn more about the myths I've been told and convinced to believe. From there to Sowell and Friedman, and beyond, economics informs (well, ... should inform) politics the way mathematics informs physics.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam
  • 06-02-08

Flawed, but still an interesting read.

Whilst interesting from a historical point of view, the ideas in the book have become dated.
The book is not a basic introduction to economics, but rather a dissection of many economic policies (mainly from the middle of the 20th century, and not terrible applicable to 21st century England).
The book is espouses a view point that was popular in 1970?s American right-wing economic thinking. Whist great in theory many of the augments don?t hold up in the real world, and there are also some inconsistencies between his own ideas within the book. Where the book really falls down is to mistake economics for an exact science, and to suggest policies based purely on theory.
If it was less preachy, had even the slightest bit of supporting data, and slightly more aware that it was dealing with theory not real-life, it would have been great. Never-the-less an interesting read.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 10-24-10

Sensible economics

This book provides an elementary lesson in Economics. It's a plea for free market economics and only for government to intervene when it's absolutely necessary. It shows up economic fallacies like trying control prices, rent controls, subsidizing farmers, unions and protectionist activities and lots of other things. This book really made me think and change some of my views.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • CZ
  • 06-27-20

COVID related!! Excellent read

Greatly relevant to today’s economic policy. Poor narration however, robotic sounding recordings needs improvement! Would recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marco Schletz
  • 05-26-20

Describes current situation

This book aged incredibly well. Written more than 70 years ago and predicts and outlines the problems associated with the current 2020 crisis

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Martti Ahvenjärvi
  • 07-19-22

Old but insightful

This book gives good basic understanding on how economy works. Even though the book is old it's message is mostly still very valid. Most of the concepts and lessons hold true. You can even try to think more recent events and examples of things described. The topic is very simplified for obvious reasons, but be prepared since you don't find any notions on how ethical something is, or how quality of things matters, everything is just price and volume.

The book is America centered. So not all things about unions and legislations make a lot of sense, but they are interesting to hear nonetheless.

Where the age shows most are the parts where work is described only as hours spent. Everything was very much manual labour back then and it shows. Also the part about foreign trade is dated. Taxes are described as the only source of income for country, but think of any oil nation and you realize that strong export is more and more important. Most nations have companies that make profit etc...

So. There are parts that would desperately need an update, but still this is a good book and makes hard topic relatively easy to understand.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-01-22

A book to understand how the real world works

Great book with a lot of common sense. You'll learn how the real world works instead of how the media, government, central banks paint it. Good luck, you're taking the red pill of economics, it will be hard to see the world the same again, but everything will make sense. You won't be popular at family and friend parties 😂

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-29-22

A much needed lesson for practically everyone

A brilliant and concise introduction to fundamental economics.. MUCH needed in today's political and ideological climate.. Should be mandatory reading in schools

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ducarta
  • 02-17-22

Very Informative!

As an economics newbie I was really impressed with the brevity yet wide range of topics that this book goes into. The he book was constantly bringing you back to some very key fundamentals and as this is economics in one lesson I think it accomplished the task of giving the reader a solid grounding and also in many cases, sharing what economics it is not.

By the end of the book, I started to realise that perhaps there would be a number of economists out there who would present an opposing view.
So perhaps the next steps for me, beyond looking further into some of the details presented, is to also look into some of the alternative viewpoints in the areas raised.

That said, I highly recommend this book, I enjoyed it and while I imagine some will not like the narrator's to his voice, it's quite apt for the topic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex Davenport
  • 08-17-21

Great book recommended by Peter Schiff

Great content, worth listening to. Only downside is the narration sounds very old and robotic

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Stephen S. Alderman
  • 04-16-21

Relevant today

This book was originally written in the 40s and rewritten at the end of the 70s and is as relevant to day as it was then . It is written in a slightly old fashioned way but if you can get passed this , it does what it says on the cover . Economics in One Lesson.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sitiveni
  • 08-31-21

Best Economic Book Ever Written

So I teach students economic & finance & the very first book they read in my class is Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. It is a basic, but sound understanding of economics not just from an Austrian perspective but economics in general.

Politicians can always be guaranteed to adopt the wrong economic policies, but any good investor would be wise to read Hazlitt’s work & that of the Austrian school to understand the mistakes & consequences of government policies & to profit from these mistakes.

If you’re interested in business, finance, economics or investing, do yourselves a favour & read this book.

I promise you won’t regret it.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Polestar Connect
  • 08-06-19

found it hard to follow along

mainly an issue with the narrator, it was like listening to a robot talk the whole time...found it hard to follow along because of this

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JohnA
  • 03-14-19

Lucid and straightforward economic theory

Excellent and clear rendition of classical economic theory.
Applied with simple examples from real life, making it easy to grasp the essential points.
Clear reading, easy to listen to and we'll modulated.

.