Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science  |  Charles Wheelan  |  Nonfiction, Economics  |  2002

In 2008 I took a senior economics class in my final year of high school, and part of the required reading for the class contained passages from Naked Economics, which my instructor had touted as one of the best books she’d ever read on the subject.  At the time, I neither enjoyed nor understood economics, so of the few passages I actually read, very little meant much.

A couple years ago I rediscovered this book, and, whilst moving to London last year, decided to take it with me.  I started reading it again, and although it took me a while (countless commutes on the tube), I finally finished it.

Quick summary

Naked Economics, as the title suggests, is book that focuses on the field of economics, without going too much into mathematically heavy modelling.  Geared toward those wishing to understand the subject a bit better, the book aims to explain commonplace ‘economics’ terms, concepts, and theories in a way for ‘non-economics’ people to understand.  Naked Economics attempts to put economics into a perspective that is relevant to your life, as well as everyone else’s, and frames the logic that helps you understand why significant events occurred in the past, as well as what can be predicted for the future.


In short, I thought this book was very well-written, and full of interesting information.  Although it claims to be a simple, clear-cut book on economics without the mind-frazzling diagrams, graphs, and mathematical calculations, I found that it did go into quite a bit of depth.

My (personal) main takeaways from this book include: (1) everyone will try to maximise their own utility; (2) investing is the most effective way to protect your money from inflation and help it grow; (3) trade aids rather than hinders economies around the world, and should be promoted; and (4) our government is imperfect, but necessary.

I really enjoyed learning/relearning economics, and I wish I had made more of an effort to understand this stuff when I was younger.  That said, I had a great experience with this book because I read it at a later time; the terms and concepts probably wouldn’t have meant as much at an earlier point in my life.

Is it for you?

If you’ve got the drive to learn more about economics, I’d recommend this book (try the newer version, post 2008 GFC).  If you’re looking for something to pass the time with, go for something else that interests you, as this book can be hard to get into if you’re not that enthused about the subject.