Andrew Leigh Meet the Author

6 Mar 2024

Andrew Leigh will be in conversation with Genevieve Bell on his new book The Shortest History of Economics, a small book that tells a big story.

From ancient times to the modern world, The Shortest History of Economics unearths the hidden economic forces behind war, innovation and social transformation. It traces how capitalism and the market system emerged, and introduces the key ideas and people who shaped the discipline of economics.

From the agricultural revolution to the warming of our planet, Andrew Leigh tells the story of economics that ranges across centuries and continents, highlighting the diversity of the discipline. He delves into the radical origins of the game of Monopoly, why the invention of the plough worsened gender inequality, how certain diseases shaped the patterns of colonialism, the reasons skyscrapers emerged first in American cities, and much more.

The result is an illuminating, entertaining book about the economic ideas and forces that shape our world. As Andrew writes, ‘The secret of economics is that the most powerful insights come from a handful of big ideas that anyone can follow.’

‘If you read just one book about economics, make it Andrew Leigh’s clear, insightful, and remarkable (and short) work. Learn why we are richer, live longer, have healthier children, are monumentally more productive and are happier than our ancestors.’ – Claudia Goldin, Nobel Laureate, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Treasury and Employment, and Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Before being elected in 2010, Andrew was a Professor of Economics at The Australian National University. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Andrew is the author or co-author of ten books, on topics including innovation, inequality, community, globalisation and existential risk.

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FTSE FAHA was appointed the 13th Vice-Chancellor and President of The Australian National University in January 2024, the University’s first female Vice-Chancellor. Genevieve, also a Vice President and a Senior Fellow at Intel Corporation, is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development and for being an important voice in the global debates around artificial intelligence and human society.

The vote of thanks will be given by ANU Research School of Economics Associate Professor Martine Mariotti

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.

Registration is required for this event.

Accessible parking spaces are available around campus should you require them.

To help keep everyone safe, please ensure that you are familiar with, and follow, the advice from ACT Health regarding COVID-19.

If you do not feel well, please refrain from attending this event.

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podcast will be made available after the event.

Symposium by University House Wine bar (Shop 13, 152 University Avenue, Acton, which is just next to the Kambri cultural centre) will now be open for dining after meet the author events. Food and wine details at No bookings necessary.

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