Grand Pursuit

The Story of Economic Genius

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
  • customer reviews
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.
Book Details:
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 576 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439198612 | 
  • September 2011
List Price $16.99

Video

Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius

From the author of A Beautiful Mind, a sweeping history of the invention of modern economics that takes you from Dickens’ London to modern Calcutta.

Read an Excerpt

Grand Pursuit Chapter I Perfectly New: Engels and Marx in the Age of Miracles
The exact point is that it has not gone on a long time. [It is] perfectly new. . . .

Our system though curious and peculiar may be worked safely . . . if we wish to work it, we must study it.

—Walter Bagehot, Lombard Street1

“See to it that the material you’ve collected is soon launched into the world,” the... see more

Hear an Excerpt

Resources

To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Grand Pursuit includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Sylvia Nasar. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Here is the sweeping story of extraordinary men and women who, under dramatic and varied circumstances, helped humanity escape the blind and brutal past and seize control of its material fate. In London, New York, Vienna, Cairo, and Calcutta, these thinkers looked for tools that not only let them decipher the world outside their windows but to transform it. They turned the dismal science into a cheerful one and fostered a revolution in human thinking that changed the lives of everyone on the globe.

Grand Pursuit begins in Victorian London with someone whose name is synonymous with imagination, the novelist Charles Dickens. He is soon joined by a journalist, Henry Mayhew; the wayward son of a textile baron, Friedrich Engels; a beautiful heiress determined to live a meaningful life, Beatrice Webb; the American inventor of the Rolodex, Irving Fisher; a speculator who collected Impressionist paintings, the genius John Maynard Keynes; Milton Friedman, a boy who grew up over a store but daydreamed of being the hero of an F see more

More Books from this Author

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!