Extra Assignment for Principles of Micro- / Macroeconomics

If you want to substitute one (missed) homework assignment or in-class quiz in your principles of microeconomics or macroeconomics course you can voluntarily complete the following task to substitute your worst homework assignment or quiz.

Choose one of the following texts and answer the questions below. (If you want to substitute one homework or quiz in each course you have to choose two different texts!)


Daniel Friedman and Daniel McNeil, Morals and Markets, 2nd edition. [for either micro or macro]
amazon | bookdepository


Henry Hazlitt, Time Will Run Back. [only for micro]
free ebook | amazon
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. [only for micro, very long!]
amazon | bookdepository
Vernor Vinge, A Deepness in the Sky. [only for micro]
amazon | bookdepository
Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic. [only for micro]
amazon | bookdepository

Terry Pratchett, Making Money. [only for macro]
amazon | bookdepository
Charles Stross, Accelerando. [only for macro]
amazon | bookdepository

Questions to answer

  1. What is the book about?
    If you choose a work of fiction you should focus your answer on the text's economics related content.

  2. What was the main (economics) lesson that your learned from the book and for which you could recommend it to others and how did the author accomplish to teach that lesson? (Quote the relevant passages!)

  3. Critically asses the book: In you opinion as an expert in (the principles of) economics, what was particularly noteworthy, i.e. what stood out as brilliantly right or embarrassingly wrong? (Show, don't just tell!)

Deadline for the submission of answers: May 28

Hints on reading a book and answering the questions

From Adler, Mortimer J., and Charles L. Doren. How to read a book. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972, Chapter 11:

I. The First Stage of Analytical Reading: Rules for Finding What a Book Is About
1. Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.
2. State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity.
3. Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole.
4. Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.

II. The Second Stage of Analytical Reading: Rules for Interpreting a Book’s Contents
5. Come to terms with the author by interpreting his key words.
6. Grasp the author’s leading propositions by dealing with his most important sentences.
7. Know the author’s arguments, by finding them in, or constructing them out of, sequences of sentences.
8. Determine which of his problems the author has solved, and which he has not; and as of the latter, decide which the author knew he had failed to solve.

III. The Third Stage of Analytical Reading: Rules for Criticizing a Book as a Communication of Knowledge
A. General Maxims of Intellectual Etiquette
9. Do not begin criticism until you have completed your outline and your interpretation of the book. (Do not say you agree, disagree, or suspend judgment, until you can say “I understand.”)
10. Do not disagree disputatiously or contentiously.
11. Demonstrate that you recognize the difference between knowledge and mere personal opinion by presenting good reasons for any critical judgment you make.
B. Special Criteria for Points of Criticism
12. Show wherein the author is uninformed.
13. Show wherein the author is misinformed.
14. Show wherein the author is illogical.
15. Show wherein the author’s analysis or account is incomplete.

Note: Of these last four, the first three are criteria for disagreement. Failing in all of these, you must agree, at least in part, although you may suspend judgment on the whole, in the light of the last point.