My friend is absolutely right on many problems of this book - the lack of real analysis, pretty obvious and horrible biases, etc. "...the author just skims through the whole thing, telling us what the general population chose to remember about each economist." But I guess her complaint here is exactly the point of the book. It simply wants to introduce what the author thinks we (general pop) would want to know about these men and women. And I decide to continue reading because of the same reason.
One thing that initially held my interest is the "big argument" put forward by the author. I guess she tries to show the transition from the age of helplessness, of fate and predetermination, to the age of self-improvement, control of one's circumstances (thus "Grand Pursuit"). Still, she completely 'forgets' to examine the former period, keeps talking superficially about the latter, and thus making the comparison-argument very disappointing. Connections and development of different ideas, schools of thoughts are no where to be found. I don't see how the world is built up and up but only its fragments. And sometimes I get irritated by how wordy the book is.
If you want deeper knowledge of these economic thoughts, it is important to find another book. I am already looking at other materials to complete my understanding.
Still Grand Pursuit, for me, is an ok glimpse of these economists. There are certain little details of these economists' lives that I appreciate, especially in the first half of the book. And... I cannot help imagining that society of intellectuals... That time period sounds more exciting than ever. [I have personal issues, just like in Midnight in Paris if anyone knows this film]