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  • Richard E Lillie
    The "Book Trilogy" Becomes a "Quartet"
    blog entry posted September 5, 2015 by Richard E Lillie, tagged research, teaching, technology in Teaching with Technology > TwT public

    With the rapid change to both the U.S. and global economies, I searched for ways to make the change more understandable for my accounting students, whether they be undergraduate or graduate level.  The initial result was creation of what I called the "Book Trilogy."

    As depicted in the diagram below, the "Book Trilogy" included The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman, The Myth of the Rational Market by Justin Fox, and That Used to be Us by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.  I asked students to read the books in the indicated sequence.  We discussed the books both during and outside of classes.

    I selected each book for its focus, clarity of writing style, and the unique way the story is told.  I wanted resources that were readable and understandable.  I did not want resources designed to "blow the reader out the door."

    Of the three books, I was particularly impressed with the way Justin Fox, a former editorial director of Harvard Business Review and now a columnist for Bloomberg View, told the story of development of modern finance and how its impact came close to bringing the U.S. and other economies to their knees.  Rather than burying the reader with mathematics and Finance jargon, Fox chronicled the rise of rational market theory by helping the reader "look through the eyes" of the scholars who constructed what is now referred to as "Modern Finance."

    I placed Fox's book in the middle of the trilogy because it bridges the gap between theory and practice of globalization, economics, and "Modern Finance."  Each book in the trilogy takes an innovative approach to telling its story.

    Recently, I read Economix, How Our Economy Works (And Doesn't Work) in Words and Pictures, by Michael Goodwin with illustration by Dan E. Burr.  A comment in the Miami Herald described Economix as

    This witty and elegant volume takes on a number of complex issues--in this case, economics, history and finance--and makes them comprehensible for mere mortals.

     I was fascinated by the way Goodwin's content and commentary were presented in a cartoon-like format.  Goodwin and Burr wrote an easy to read, insightful, entertaining story about our current economy and current economic problems. 

    Timothy Guinnane,Yale University, commented that

    Economix is a lively, cheerfully opinionated romp through the historical and intellectual foundations of our current economy and our current economic problems.  Goodwin has a knack for distilling complex ideas and events in ways that invite the reader to follow the big picture without losing track of what actually happened.  Any reader wondering how our economy got to where it is today will find this a refreshing overview.

    I enjoy coming up with innovative ways to invigorate and challenge the teaching-learning experience of my students.  Student response to the "Book Triology" has been very positive.  I wonder what they will think of my expanding the "Book Trilogy" into a "Book Quartet" (i.e., a series of four books)?

    I love discussion.  I would appreciate your feedback comments about the above commentary.  Please let me hear from you soon.


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