Economic primer -- clear, lively, witty; Money, by Lawrence S. Ritter and William L. Silber. New York: Basic Books. $12 .95.

When it comes to considering economics and finance, many people roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders, and give up."Too tough a subject to understand," they say. "Too dull!"

It isn't, really. Nor, once a person has some background, is economics any less fascinating than sociology or archaeology.

Further, recession, inflation, and high interest rates touch, if not pound, all of us. Elements of fiscal policy -- such as a tax cut and federal spending reductions -- have been dominating the recent news out of Washington. So why not read about it from a solid base of knowledge rather than from ignorance?

One way to acquire such learning is by reading "Money," written by two professors of economics and finance at New York University's Graduate School of Business Administration. This is an up-to-date economics primer that will fill in gaps for even those who studied the subject in college a few years back; a lot has changed in recent years.

The book's biggest virtue is its clear writing. The intelligent layman will be able to follow as the authors explain such topics as the creation of money, the money supply, central banking, velocity, monetarist theories vs. Keynesian theories, fiscal policy, monetary policy, the causes of inflation and high interest rates, Eurodollars, and so on.

The second virtue is that the authors' explanations are sound, objective, balanced, and brief. This is not an ideological book, one trying to persuade the reader of the rightness of some economic school of thinking. The writers do occasionally make some modest judgments, but these opinions are not obtrusive.

A third excellent quality in this book is wit. It is often humorous and irreverent. So the reader should learn something about the so-called "dismal science" and not b e dismal doing so.

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