The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume 1: Microeconomics (Jan 2010)

Book Cover: Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume OneButton: Buy from Amazon

Ask your local bookstore for my new book (co-authored with Grady Klein), or you can order it for about $15 from or B&N.

Scroll down for excerpts, reviews, corrections, and information for teachers, including page notes and PPTs! Go to my foreign translations page for more info if you want to read this book in Chinese (both simplified for mainland China and traditional for Taiwan), French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Thai, or Vietnamese!

PS. Click here for similar info about Cartoon Macro, Cartoon Climate Change, and Cartoon Calculus.

Comedy/book tour

Details about upcoming shows here, please contact me to bring economics comedy to your school, corporate event, or comedy club! If you are with a public high school, community college, or the armed forces, or are otherwise looking for a free show, click here.


Below is one of my favorite chapters! To download it in PDF (plus the front and back covers and Table of Contents), click here. Or you can just download the front and back covers and Table of Contents.


From the back cover of the book:

“Learning economics should be fun. Klein and Bauman make sure that it is.”
N. Gregory Mankiw, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and author of Principles of Economics

“Hilarity and economics are not often found together, but this book has a lot of both. It also does a great job of explaining important economic concepts simply, accurately, and entertainingly—-quite a feat.”
Eric Maskin, 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economics

“Bauman and Klein present solid basic economics in a brilliant cartoon wrapper. The authors successfully shine a happy light on the dismal science.”
Hugo Sonnenschein, Distinguished Service Professor and President Emeritus, University of Chicago

“This is a seriously funny book! Klein and Bauman offer an enlightening and entertaining look at why our day-to-day choices matter and how they all combine. Students will find this a great addition to their textbooks, and critics of the discipline will learn what economics is really about.”
Diane Coyle, author of The Soulful Science

“Had Art Spiegelman and John Maynard Keynes collaborated on a comic book on economics, they could only have dreamed of coming up with something this good.”
Jonathan A. Shayne, a.k.a. Merle Hazard, country singer and founder of Shayne & Co., LLC

Reviews on the web (I’ll add more as they cross my desk) include kind words from Univ of Chicago econ department chair Harald Uhlig (who writes on Amazon that “This is a wonderful and humorous introduction to microeconomics!”),Tim Harford (“For anybody who is genuinely interested in economics, who really wants to learn the jargon, or anyone who is starting out studying an economics course, this is just a brilliant source. It really is rigorous, but it’s also a lot of fun to read.”), Tony Cookson (“my favorite Christmas gift this year”), more from Greg Mankiw (“a painless way to learn economics”), kind words from marginalrevolution’s Tyler Cowen (“the next step in economics education”), a nice review in the Boston Globe (“uproariously funny, practical, and relevant”), another nice review in the Boston Globe (“a warp-speed, entertaining and enlightening journey through the basics”), and a mostly critical review from Bryan Caplan (with responses here and here, including my final 2 cents in the comments section).


  • Steve Pratt (a self-described “Father, Husband, Fisherman, Churchgoer, and Economist” from Anchorage, Alaska) writes that there’s a mistake on page 13 (“The metaphor of the invisible hand was coined by Adam Smith in 1776…”) because Adam Smith first mentioned the Invisible Hand in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which dates from 1759. This is absolutely correct, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed.
  • On page 20 (and again on page 161), the material on the chalkboard should address the possibility (in terms of mathematics if not reality!) that optimal output occurs with an infinitely high value of output q, for example if revenue is 3q and costs are 2q. So the text should be corrected to say something like “either q=0 or q=∞ or the firm…” or maybe even better as “either q=0 or q→∞ or the firm…”
  • The annuity formula on p34 is not wrong, but it would be easier and clearer without the compound fraction, i.e., as (x/r)*etc. If I get a chance to change it in a 2nd edition I will!
  • Page 137 (at the top) has “equilibrium” mis-spelled as “equilibium”. Thanks to Jared Powers for finding this mistake in 2020, 10 years after the book came out!

Information for teachers

Detailed page notes (and haiku summaries!) are available here. For information about PPTs for use in class, please email me using your school email address.

If you ‘re a college or high school instructor looking to adopt the cartoon book(s) for a class and you don’t want to shell out $12 you can click here to get a desk copy (free if you order 20 copies) or an examination copy for about $5. Send a note on school letterhead to the address in the link and ask for a copy of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume One: Microeconomics, ISBN 978-0809094813 and/or The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume Two: Macroeconomics, ISBN 978-0809033614.

Also FYI both cartoon books should be available at a steep discount (possibly even free!) as part of a Worth Publishers package deal with intro texts by Krugman/Wells, Cowen/Tabbarok, or Chiang. For more info contact, and if you have any trouble please contact me.

29 responses to “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume 1: Microeconomics (Jan 2010)”

  1. Waiting for my copy of “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics”…

    order a copy now…

  2. What a wonderful teacher you must be, sorry prof. I believe using music or comedy to teach are the most powerful ways to achieving the best outcome. The other day I watched a teacher teaching 8 year olds using a guitar and singing all their tables and sounds, it was amazing the pupils bar none danced and sang all the 12 tables and sounds, if only all teachers has this ability to have children adore their lessons and teacher. But she was an inspiration and happily my future daughter-in-law. I hope to persuade my daughter to buy your book. She has two approaching Economics as a subject. Thank you for being so amazing. Lyn

  3. Amazon shipped my copy of “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume 1″…

    Just got an confirmation email from Amazon that they have shipped my copy of the book Can’t wait to read it………..

  4. Hi Yorum,

    I am an assistant professor and will probably use your book for my principles classes, except one problem. I teach macro. Are you planning a volume 2? If so, when we it be published. I loved volume 1.


    YB: We’re working on it! But it won’t be before 2011…

  5. As an economist, what’s your perspective on Amazon’s fight with the publisher? Does this fit into any standard model for market behavior?

    I don’t know much about it, but my sense is that the bottom-line issue is whether Amazon is a grocery store or is more than a grocery store. If they’re a grocery store, then customers can always go to another grocery store and so Amazon shouldn’t be able to win fights like this. If they’re more than a grocery store then they actually have a loyal customer base &etc and maybe they can actually exert force like they’re trying to here. If I had to guess I’d say that they’re a grocery store, but that’s mostly just based on my own personal experience: I buy things from Amazon because they have my address and billing information &etc, but it wouldn’t take much for me to switch to or or whoever, and if I really wanted a book then I would switch… and maybe never come back to Amazon. Whether I’m typical or not I don’t know, but ultimately I have a hard time believing that Amazon will continue to be successful if they repeatedly fail to provide goods that people want to buy. Just my two cents though :)

  6. Speaking of microeconomics, you recommend making up the ‘free shipping’ amount with the bamboo spatula.
    Care to comment on the pricing?

    “Price: $6.15
    Also available from other suppliers without the Amazon “free shipping”
    5 new from $1.99

    Curious how Amazon’s price with free shipping is always those few pennies less than the best total price for buying from anyone else in the world who actually itemizes the cost plus shipping separately.

    Care to comment, here or anywhere? Pointer welcome. I thought itemizing and disclosing costs was supposed to be an economic good thing providing more information so people could make better choices.

  7. I am also enjoying the introduction and encourage any others who like the form and level to rush out and purchase it.

  8. I just read this book in one nice big sitting today after my dad got this from the library. GREAT STUFF! :D

  9. Hi…
    I’m a Taiwanese, and I read your comic book of micro-economic in Chinese.
    It’ really interesting and helpful for me.
    I’ll recommend this book to my friends definitely. ^__^

  10. i am really impressed prof, keep it up

  11. Was there a book like this about 10 or 15 years ago? I remember it being on the textbook list; maybe it was “economics coloring book” or something like that, but I kind of think it was cartoons. Thanks

  12. how is outsourcing beneficial?

    YB: We’ll talk about this a bit in Volume Two…

  13. Great book!!!!! Any news on when the second volume is coming out? :)

    YB: Early 2012, knock on wood!

  14. Cool book but you should look up a book called Understanding Economics by Ken Cole (cartoons by Phil Evans) by Pluto Press from about 1994-it alos had cartoons and ws written like a mind map-with very little texl. Its out of print now I think but was popular in UK and I came across it in South Africa also.

  15. I would ask that the book was published in the Hungarian language? I’ve been to several shops in the area, but still could not find it anywhere. Online stores also have looked at (, but could not find it there either. Planned to prepare the Hungarian-language translation? If so, then what is the timetable?

  16. Excellent book.
    Used it to teach econ to my daughter.
    Your “defense” of cap and trade to change behavior ignores an important gap in analysis/explanation. Unless many of the polluting countries use cap and trade, then no one polluter can succeed. In fact, they are destined to fail since their products will be more expensive and purchasing (manufacturing) will shift to the less expensive polluters not burdened with any type of pollution tax.
    Thank you nonetheless. Peter

    YB: You make a good point, but let’s not get carried away: other pollution standards (not to mention labor standards &etc) are different around the world and it’s hard to argue that they’ve all failed. There’s a big literature on the “race to the bottom” and the “pollution haven hypothesis” and I think the results are much more subtle than you suggestion.

  17. Hi, I am wanting to purchase an ebook version of your book but have trouble finding a copy online. Do you distribute it as an epub or a pdf?

  18. Hi Economics Team

    May I ask if this book will be available in the Philippines? I am a teacher and wanted to read your book.

    Thank you very much for your response on this inquiry.


  19. Yoram,
    Love the book! We bought one for every student in our 11th grade Econ class–it’s actually our main text.
    I keep hearing about the PPTs. How do I find the PowerPoints you refer to?
    Thanks for making an Econ book that doesn’t send students into shock.

  20. Hi and thank you for the time your are spending responding to our questions, I’m from Morocco, so it is really difficult to find or order a hard copy here, the best way to read the book is by purshasing it as ebook (pdf or any other format…), but according to your previous answer to Nik in 2013, the publisher was not providing any. What about now ? on Amazon I can’t find a kindle version.

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