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 "Slate" magazine on the Internet. Now, after 65 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 81 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 81 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 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.