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Grand Pursuit

Grand Pursuit

The Story of Economic Genius

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
A New York Times bestseller, this sweeping narrative from the author of A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. Grand Pursuit is the epic story of the making of modern economics, of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands.

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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 576 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684872995 | 
  • July 2012
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Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius

From the author of A Beautiful Mind, a sweeping history of the invention of modern economics that takes you from Dickens’ London to modern Calcutta.

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Grand Pursuit Chapter I Perfectly New: Engels and Marx in the Age of Miracles
The exact point is that it has not gone on a long time. [It is] perfectly new. . . .

Our system though curious and peculiar may be worked safely . . . if we wish to work it, we must study it.

—Walter Bagehot, Lombard Street1

“See to it that the material you’ve collected is soon launched into the world,” the... see more

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Grand Pursuit includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Sylvia Nasar. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Here is the sweeping story of extraordinary men and women who, under dramatic and varied circumstances, helped humanity escape the blind and brutal past and seize control of its material fate. In London, New York, Vienna, Cairo, and Calcutta, these thinkers looked for tools that not only let them decipher the world outside their windows but to transform it. They turned the dismal science into a cheerful one and fostered a revolution in human thinking that changed the lives of everyone on the globe.

Grand Pursuit begins in Victorian London with someone whose name is synonymous with imagination, the novelist Charles Dickens. He is soon joined by a journalist, Henry Mayhew; the wayward son of a textile baron, Friedrich Engels; a beautiful heiress determined to live a meaningful life, Beatrice Webb; the American inventor of the Rolodex, Irving Fisher; a speculator who collected Impressionist paintings, the genius John Maynard Keynes; Milton Friedman, a boy who grew up over a store but daydreamed of being the hero of an F see more

About the Author

Sylvia Nasar
John Blais

Sylvia Nasar

Sylvia Nasar is the author of the bestselling A Beautiful Mind, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography. She is the John S. and James. L Knight Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.




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