Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review: In and Out of the Working Class by Michael Yates

Let me begin with a quick caveat: I do not follow the traditional book review format. I was forced to use it one too many times in college, and have sworn off of it forever. I have always found it more interesting, and frankly, more useful to just talk about the book, and what I liked or didn't like, and then give my rating and recommendation.

In and Out of the Working Class
by Michael Yates

I must begin by saying I hate economics. I mean, I really dislike conversing and studying economics. I know that a labor activists who hates economic discussion sounds ridiculous, but it is true. The fact that I burned through Yates' book in two days speaks volumes about Yates' abilities as a writer as well as his ability to explain economics to a wide audience. In and Out of the Working Class is a fascinating read that weaves between fiction and non-fiction(mostly non-fiction) through various stories and experiences ranging from a creative non-fiction retelling of an encounter with Cesar Chavez, to my favorite chapter of the book, which tells us what Lenin and a Catholic priest from Yates' past have in common.

The chapters that cover Yates' experiences on campus are in my opinion, the highlight of the book. I must admit I am a bit biased, as I related quite a bit to the frustration the author had with lazy students in my generation who, with a regrettable sense of entitlement, rob themselves of a more thorough education.

The most important revelation I had while reading this book is that if there were a few more Economics professors out there like Yates, perhaps fewer people would view economics like I did before I read In and Out of the Working Class. This in of itself would be a major accomplishment. The ability of the author to explain economics through real life stories, rather than through statistics and numbers is something more authors and university professors should try to emulate.

I highly recommend this book, whether or not you fancy yourself a fan of economics. It will not disappoint.

You can purchase In and Out of the Working Class here:

In Solidarity,


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