Winner of Axiom Business Book Award's 2023 Bronze Medal for Economics
Incomes are stagnating, middle-class jobs are disappearing, economic growth is slowing, and the meager gains are mostly going to those who are already wealthy. More Americans than ever are frustrated by the direction in which we are headed. Understandable Economics aims to replace this frustration with a practical understanding of our economy and empower readers to identify and advocate for a better approach to the problems we face.
In this entertaining and informative guide, author Howard Yaruss breaks down our economic system in a straightforward way, avoiding jargon, formulas, graphs, and other technical material so common in books on this subject. Instead, he creates a compelling and comprehensive picture of our economy using accessible analogies, real-world observations, and entertaining anecdotes.
Understandable Economics will enable readers to answer questions such as:
Why is inequality soaring and what can we do about it?
Do tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs or just create more inequality?
Where does money come from, why does it have value, and who controls it?
What does the Fed do and how does it affect our lives?
Could alternative currencies like Bitcoin replace the dollar?
Is our national debt a threat?
Why do so many people believe free trade is good if it causes some people to lose jobs?
Why does the economy regularly turn down and how can we get it back on track?
... and many more.
Understandable Economics provides the context, tools and foundational knowledge readers need to thoroughly understand our economy, determine which policies would work best, and champion those policies effectively.
Howard Yaruss is an economist, professor, attorney, businessman, expert witness and activist who greatly enjoys explaining complex issues in a clear, interesting and easily accessible way. He has taught a variety of courses on economics and business and currently teaches at New York University. Prior to teaching, he served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Radian Group, one of the largest guarantors of debt in the world. He has also served on the Boards of organizations that advocate for safer streets, help the homeless and support the arts. Yaruss graduated from Brown University, studied at the London School of Economics and earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Manhattan and serves on his local community board.
". . . a marvelously accessible discussion of some technically formidable subjects . . . a valuable introduction to a difficult field that accomplishes its principal objective: to educate the public so it can more fully comprehend the economic arguments of the day. . . An impressively clear presentation that should prove useful to those looking for a one-stop primer.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Some books on the economy are clear and readable. Some go beyond the usual pat simplifications. Understandable Economics is the rare gem that does both. Howard Yaruss has given us a tool to understand our economy, its problems, and what to do about them.”
—Michael Goodwin, author of Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work) in Words and Pictures
“Understandable Economics should be mandatory reading for everyone who touches money. It is a remarkably readable and cleverly illustrated explanation of money, banking, and the behavioral pushes and pulls that make economies work. This is a book that can increase nationwide economic and financial literacy.”– Thomas P. Vartanian, author of 200 Years of American Financial Panics and Executive Director of the Financial Technology and Cybersecurity Center
“A highly accessible guide to how the economy functions in the real world and to policies for creating a better one. Understandable Economics is a practical and clear-eyed book that’s great at debunking common economic myths.” – Niall Kishtainy, author of A Little History of Economics
“Understandable Economics is an extraordinary book. It tells you everything you wanted to know about the economy but didn’t know to ask… thoroughly enlightening and enjoyably readable.” – Donald Shoup, Distinguished Research Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA
"With wit, clarity, and elegance, Howard Yaruss successfully addresses the still-unanswered questions Americans have been asking since the financial crisis upended so many lives – and unsettled so many beliefs. Yaruss does not demonize the actors in the economy, whether big banks or government officials or tech behemoths, nor does he whip up more anger on the left or the right. Rather, he explains how things got to be the way they are, and offers calm, constructive improvements to our economic systems." – Nicole Gelinas, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
“If we are ever to tackle issues like extreme disparity, scarcity, and climate change, then more of us need to understand the structures that underlie these challenges. Howard Yaruss brings often opaque forces into the light, and makes the critical domain of economics accessible to anyone who wants to build a better world." – Stefanie Overbeck and Mel Wymore, Pod of Gold podcast