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The Gifts of Athena:
Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy
Joel Mokyr

Book Description | Table of Contents


"Mokyr argues that knowledge is the key to understanding many of the most important developments in the past two centuries. The book is impressively wide ranging in its scope, containing a vast array of information and ideas. . . . I would hesitate to say the Mokyr has solved the problems of why the industrial revolution happened, but he would appear to have advanced the story a long way. This book is a fascinating integration of intellectual and economic history"--Roger E. Backhouse, American Historical Review

"Situated firmly at the intersection of several disciplines--the history of science and technology, economic history, and economics--this fascinating and stimulating book explores the relationships among the expansion of knowledge, technological change, and economic growth since the 18th century."--Choice

"Joel Mokyr, as one of the most important economic historians of our time, has written an instructive book about the knowledge-based origins of the rise and the future persistence of the Western World. . . . This book should be read not only by scholars, but also by politicians!"--Helmut Braun, Journal of European Economic History


"Everyone talks about knowledge and technology, but Mokyr's brilliant book is the rare exception that talks about the what, when, why, and where of the knowledge revolution. The book skillfully navigates a vast territory from the Industrial Revolution to the World Wide Web, from the revolution in health to that in housework, from technophobia to institutions. Mokyr demolishes stereotypes and generates a steady stream of fresh facts and insights that keep you turning the pages."--William Easterly, New York University, author of The Elusive Quest for Growth

"Economists, historians, and people who care about human progress will have to pay serious attention to Joel Mokyr's account of the role of knowledge in fueling economic development. He appears to be right about the West, and the implications for developing countries and their spending on education are staggering."--Margaret C. Jacob, University of California at Los Angeles

"The benefits of knowledge for health and wealth have been axiomatic for centuries. Showing just how science, technology, and medicine actually pay off is still not simple. The Gifts of Athena bridges history and economics with unusual learning and originality. Wise owls will want this book."--Edward Tenner, author of Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences

"This is a splendid book. Highly illuminating and often strikingly original, it will be valuable to economists and economic theorists as well as to historians of all sorts but also, thanks to Mokyr's lively, often-provocative writing style, to a much wider audience."--Nathan Rosenberg, Stanford University, author of Exploring the Black Box

"An excellent and much-needed book. The Gifts of Athena embraces the varied scientific breakthroughs that eventuated in both modern economic growth and rapidly rising life expectancy. Mokyr's intellectual scope is impressive, and he has done scholars a great service by creating this pathbreaking work. The need for knowledge of this type, especially among economists, is great."--Richard A. Easterlin, University of Southern California, author of Growth Triumphant

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File created: 4/21/2017

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