In this essay, I review Sylvia Nasar's long awaited new history of economics, Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius. I describe how the book is an economic history of the period 1850-1950, with distinguished economists' stories inserted in appropriate places. Nasar's goal is to show how economists work, but also to show that they are people too-with more than enough warts and foibles to show they are human! I contrast the general view of the role of economics in Grand Pursuit with Robert Heilbroner's remarkably different conception in The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. I also discuss more generally the question of why economists might be interested in their history at all.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics