I’ve recently re-developed interest in Richard Maybury‘s book series on history, law, politics, and economics. I say “re-developed” because I’ve always been interested ever since I first heard of them—sometimes more and sometimes less—but I never actually made time to read them. I know that they are an incredible resource of clear and concise knowledge. Richard Maybury always succeeds in presenting a logical thought process from start to finish using language and analogies that are a pleasure to read and not difficult to understand. While I wouldn’t say he makes history and economics fun, his delivery is the best and most honest I’ve seen so far.
I don’t get any kind of kickback from recommending these, but I’m going to do it anyway. The following summaries come from the books themselves. The order is a little bit arbitrary, as the actual series is not numbered, but this is the recommended order. The 2nd one in the series (Penny Candy) is the one to get for a basic intro to economic principles.
All of these books are suitable for junior high students. They are written as a series of short letters from “Uncle Eric” to his nephew/niece Chris. The books include a glossary of potentially unknown terms. All of these are worth reading. You will not find another resource quite like them.
#1: Uncle Eric Talks About Personal Career and Financial Security
Uncle Eric’s Model introduced. Models (or paradigms) are how people think; they are how we understand our world. To achieve success in our careers, investments, and every other part of our lives, we need sound models. These help us recognize and use the information that is important and bypass that which is not. In this book, Mr. Maybury introduces the model he has found most useful. These are explained in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PENNY CANDY?, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JUSTICE?, and THE CLIPPER SHIP STRATEGY.
#2: Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
The economic model explained. The clearest and most interesting explanation of economics aound. Learn about investment cycles, velocity, business cycles, recessions, inflation, money demand, and more. Contains “Beyond the Basics,” which supplements the basic ideas and is included for readers who choose to tackle more challenging concepts. Recommended by former U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon and many others.
#3: Whatever Happened to Justice?
The legal model explained. Explores America’s legal heritage. Shows what is wrong with our legal system and economy, and how to fix it. Discusses the difference between higher law and man-made law, and the connection between rational law and economic prosperity. Introduces the Two Laws: 1) Do all you have agreed to do. 2) Do not encroach on other persons or their property.
#4: Are You Liberal? Conservative? or Confused?
Political labels. What do they mean? Liberal, conservative, left, right, democrat, republican, moderate, socialist, libertarian, communist – what are their economic policies, and what plans do their promoters have for your money? Clear, concise explanations. Facts and fallacies.
#5: Ancient Rome: How It Affects You Today
This book explains what happens when a society ignores the model. Are we heading for fascism like ancient Rome? Mr. Maybury uses historical events to explain curent events, includng the wars in the former Soviet Empire, and the legal and economic problems of America today. With the turmoil in Russia and Russia’s return to fascism, you must read this book to understand your future. History does repeat.
#6: Evaluating Books: What Would Thomas Jefferson Think About This?
Most books, magazines, and news stories are slanted against the principles of America’s Founders. Often the writers are not aware of it, they simply write as they were taught. Learn how to identify the bias so you can make informed reading, listening, and viewing choices.
#7: The Money Mystery
The first sequel to WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PENNY CANDY? Some economists refer to velocity, others to money demand. However it is seen, it is one of the least understood forces affecting our businesses, careers, and investments – it is the financial tigger. This book discusses precautions you should take and explains why Federal Reserve officials remain so afraid of inflation. THE MONEY MYSTERY prepares you to understand and avoid pitfalls in your career, business, and investments.
#8: The Clipper Ship Strategy
The second sequel to WHATEVER HAPENED TO PENNY CANDY? Conventional wisdom says that when the government expands the money supply, the money descends on the economy in a uniform blanket. This is wrong. The money is injected into specific locations causing hot spots or “cones” such as the tech bubble of the 1990s. Mr. Maybury explains his system for tracking and profiting from these cones. Practical nuts-and-bolts strategy for prospering in our turbulent economy.
#9: The Thousand Year War in the Mideast: How It Affects You Today
Mr. Maybury shows that events on the other side of the world a thousand years ago can affect us more than events in our hometowns today. This book explains the ten-century battle the U.S. has entered against the Islamic world. It predicted the events that began unfolding on September 11, 2001. It helps you understand the thinking of the Muslims in the Mideast, and why the coming oil war will affect investment markets around the globe. In the last three decades this war has been the cause of great shocks to the economy and investment markets, including the oil embargoes, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Iraq-Kuwait war, the Caucasus Wars over the Caspian Sea oil basin, and the September 11th attack–and it is likely to remain so for decades to come. Forewarned is forearmed. To successfully manage your career, business, and investments, you must understand this war.
#10: World War I: The Rest of the Story Story and How It Affects You Today
The explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 was the beginning of a chain reaction that continues today. Mr. Maybury presents an idea-based explanation of the First World War. He focuses on the ideas and events that led to World War I, events during the war, and how they led to World War II. Includes the ten deadly ideas that lead to war.
#11: World War II: The Rest of the Story and How It Affects You Today
An idea-based explanation of the war. Focuses on events in the Second World War and how our misunderstanding of this war led to America’s subsequent wars, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Iraq-Kuwait War, and the “War on Terror” that began September 11, 2001.
You can buy these books as a set for $164.95 shipped, or individually from the same page. Again, I get nothing from recommending this, but I wholeheartedly do so anyway. I only wish there were electronic and audiobook versions available for sale as well.
Maybury also has a monthly financial/economic newsletter called the Early Warning Report for $160/yr. That seems like a lot for the newsletter, but it gives investment advice (historically reliable through multiple decades and wars), and is highly reviewed by many subscribers.
If you get any of these books, and you actually read them, you will not be sorry.