Sylvia Nasar’s Grand Pursuit traces the birth and progress of modern economics, which grew from the idea that humans are not, after all, powerless in the face of an all-determining god – that we can determine our own lives, on a society-sized scale. This idea, which we take for granted, is only 150-odd years old. Historically, it’s a newborn notion.
Nasar traces this development from the days of Dickens and Thomas Carlyle in a rapidly industralising 1840s Britain, to Marx and Engels, ‘the odd couple of the proletarian revolution’, and through to the current day. In this discussion, she’s joined in conversation by Christine Kenneally.
Nasar’s earlier book – the megabestseller A Beautiful Mind – was ‘perhaps the best economics-related book of the past quarter-century’, according to the New York Times.
This master storyteller has a knack for translating economics for the general reader – and placing it in the rich context of the characters, cities and historical events that drove it forward.