What is the best simple intro to market-based economics?

I have been asked by John A what I think of Freakonomics to which I have given this reply:

Dear John

Thank you for your note which has caused me to go into quite a bit of thought. Freakonomics is as others have said, a storybook of interesting observations on this and that which never comes to anything much at all. It is not what I think you are looking for, which is an easy-to-read set of tales which would allow you to absorb economics by osmosis while also being entertained. The book that is supposed to do that is Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson which I have read a couple of times but which has never done the trick for me. And when you ask it just like that, I don’t really know of anything like it, which is either because it can’t be done – which is possible – or because no one has done it – which strangely is also possible – or because it has been done but I am unaware of the book. I would say that I have done it, sort of, but my version comes in at 400+ pages so that’s not what you mean either. And I am possibly not a very good judge of this anyway, since I bring a lot of background knowledge so what I am looking for is different from what you are looking for.

An interesting and useful question. I would be interested in any thoughts on any brief, easy-to-follow intro to economics that goes over the basics, but would really like to know of one that takes a non-Keynesian, non-interventionist approach to how a market economy really works.

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