Last year I took a microeconomics class and signed up for a macroeconomics class. After purchasing the textbook, Seattle Central cancelled the class. Still, I needed to learn more about macroeconomics as what I know is kind of random and lacks building blocks that would help that knowledge make more sense. So I started reading through the text and occasionally working the problems.
I liked this textbook much more than I did my microeconomics textbook. Mankiw explains things much better than Paul Heyne did. Terms are clearly defined. Mankiw focuses much better on topics. It has a much better focus on explaining the facts and theory than on making pronouncements that capitalist market economics is the pinnacle of economic thought. Heyne would get in subtle digs about how market regulation would lead to incorrect outcomes. Mankiw simply shows how to measure things like dead-weight loss from taxation and lets you draw your own conclusions about whether the dead-weight loss might be worth the gains from the programs funded. Considering he chaired Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers (and is thus going to be on the conservative side of things) I’m quite surprised that he’s restrained himself from being a polemicist.
In addition to better knowledge on how taxes and other government policies affect the economy (theoretically at least), i learned a lot about how to calculate the G.D.P., how savings affects productivity, how the Fed manages the money supply, and how international trade works macro-economically. All in all, I learned a lot from the book, without ever once feeling preached at.