Cover image for What I think : essays on economics, politics, and life
What I think : essays on economics, politics, and life
Stein, Herbert, 1916-1999.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : AEI Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xi, 260 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HC106.5 .S784 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Herbert Stein has long been noted for the objectivity, clarity, and wit of his writing on the American economy. Millions of people have been reading, enjoying, and learning from his articles in the Wall Street Journal the New York Times, the Washington Post, and, most recently, Slate magazine on the Internet. Now, after sixty-five years as a student, teacher, presidential adviser, and commentator, he has collected his latest observations on the past and the present of the American economy and on his own life and times.

"I am amazed these days, " writes Stein, "to think of how much history has occurred in the eighty-one years of my lifetime. To anyone who has lived through a significant part of those years, their horror is vividly recalled by a listing of place names -- Auschwitz, Dresden, Lubyanka, Gulag, Shanghai, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia. But that was only one side of the story, " he asserts. "There is also a story of increasing freedom, equality, and material well-being, a testament to the conscience and creativity of mankind." Stein opines that "more progress was made in these eighty-one years than in all previous history to bring to reality the American proposition that all men -- and not only all men but all men and women of all races, religions, and ethnicities -- are created equal."

In this witty, accessible volume with essays ranging from "A Primer on Pay and Productivity" to "An Old Couch Potato's Lament, " Stein discourses about the state of the economy, the budget and taxes, history, and politics and offers personal observations.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This enjoyable, indeed chuckle-full, collection of essays on major economic, political, and other issues is written by a veteran observer who served as chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors in addition to other prestigious positions, and whose career includes numerous books, articles in serious magazines, and hundreds of "op-eds" in major newspapers. With a few deft sentences, Stein clarifies the wisdom and folly of many historical and current economic decisions. His general perspective is that the American economy, in its current fulsome status of preeminence among nations, serves the well-being of its people as well as any economy could and is likely to continue doing so. Noting there are things the economy cannot do, he reports that the current prospect of change from federal budget deficits to surpluses nevertheless eliminates the dark cloud hanging over the prospect of an adequate rate of economic growth in the future. This work's 37 delightful, humorous essays are written in a nontechnical, near-conversational style and reflect Stein's vantage point of 65 years as a student, practitioner, teacher, and observer of life. Recommended for those interested in public policy issues as well as in the personal reactions of this distinguished economist. All collections. H. I. Liebling; Lafayette College