Book review: So You Want to Know About Economics by Roopa Pai

Our preteen reviewer Aditi Amritesh gives 4.5 stars out of 5 to Roopa Pai’s So You Want to Know About Economics, aimed at kids but good for adults to brush up their concepts too!

Roopa Pai’s most recent book So You Want to Know About Economics (published by Red Turtle/Rupa Books, 2017) is an enjoyable read. Roopa Pai’s style of explaining any subject by approaching it in an informal manner yet carefully explaining all the details systematically, worked very well in this book. In this book, Ms. Pai gives the reader a leisurely walk through the world of economics, cleverly shrinking the contents into three chapters, dealing with economics throughout history, macroeconomics and microeconomics.

This book is full of accurate real-life examples that explain concepts in economics. These well-written examples are probably the book’s highlight.

I especially liked how the author has used the example of a lemonade stand in a mela and the stand’s competitors to explain the concept of supply and demand, bringing out how it is hard to predict demand.

Such examples are not only relatable but sensible and comical, making any concepts explained through them instantly understandable.

The concept which stuck with me the most in this book is the ‘gift’ or daana economy that was practiced in ancient India, where people just gave items to each other expecting nothing in return – not even being able to feel a giver’s high. Even though I think that if human societies worked like this, our world would be utopic, I wouldn’t opt for this system as our world would become a predictable loop of positivity (too much of anything is good for nothing).

The illustrations by Mohit Suneja are simplistic and interpret Ms. Pai’s witty observations on economics. Another highlight of the book are the insights on economic lingo and eye-openers (Bet You Didn’t Know That!)

In short, So You Want to Know About Economics by Roopa Pai is a must read treat for both kids and adults. Even if you’re not curious about economics, pick up this book and economics may become your new obsession. Excellently written, as expected from Roopa Pai. 4.5/5 stars.

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