Economics can be, admittedly, a pretty boring and exciting subject to read. Luckily, there are plenty of economics books which are not only helpful, but they are also some pretty interesting to reads.
Let’s take a look at some economics books everyone should read that will help to understand how everything works.
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Our first economics books everyone should read is Freakonomics, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner unpack how people respond to incentives by investigating seemingly non-economic subjects like how parents pick names for their children and even how the legalization of abortion could be responsible for a drop in crime. Provocative and entertaining, Freakonomics is a crash course in the populist application of economics.
Steven Landsburg argues that economics can be boiled down to four words: people respond to incentives. The book gives readers a layman’s introduction to economics through incentives and their implications, good and bad, and how all aspects of our lives are influenced by them. The Armchair Economist is also a good introduction to the so-called “Chicago school” of economics, of which Landsburg is himself a member.
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If you are looking for a refresher in economics or an introduction to the broad strokes of the subject, Naked Economics is for you. Charles Wheelan starts with one basic premise, that people seek to maximize their utility, and expands into a larger exploration of free-market theory and its implications.
In Misbehaving, Richard Thaler examines how the “rational actor” assumption often used in economic theory misunderstands how humans think and act. The book focuses on how human misbehaviour has consequences that appear no matter how large or small a decision appears to be. Misbehaving is an impressive account of the major development in behavioural economics over the last half-century.
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Milton Friedman’s iconic work argues that economic freedom is essential to a free and liberal society. Published in 1962, many of Friedman’s theories presented in Capitalism and Freedom have since been adopted worldwide. Friedman’s work ranks among the top 100 non-fiction books written in English in the last century, according to Time Magazine.
One of the most essential economics texts, The Wealth of Nations forms the underpinning of much of modern economic theory. For many students of economics, Wealth of Nations is the first book assigned in class, but rereading this fundamental text can provide a deeper understanding of both the foundations of economics and its transformation over the last 300 years.
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Affluent Society offers a contradictory view of the “conventional wisdom” underpinning modern economic theories and principles. John Galbraith argues in his iconic work the conventional wisdom of economics is fundamentally flawed because the theory of economics came into being in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and is poorly suited to explain the mechanisms of the affluent post-WW2 U.S. economy.
If your interest is working as an economist in international development or with international aid agencies, The Bottom Billion is a must-read. Paul Collier challenges the notion that the best way to help the poor in struggling economies is with a cash infusion. Rather, Collier argues, a more hands-on approach is the solution.
For a look at how globalization and free trade impact the cost of goods, look no further than The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy. Pietra Rivoli’s book provides a way to see globalization, a deeply complicated issue, through the production of a single t-shirt. For economics students interested in working in the fields of international trade or monetary policy, Travels of a T-Shirt is a must-read.
Plunder and Blunder offers a look at the causes of the housing bubble that precipitated the 2001 and 2007 market crashes. Dean Baker analyzes the causes and effects of the crash, why people ignored the signs of an oncoming economic disaster and what can be done to prevent future financial bubbles.
Greenspan offers his personal perspective on the current state of capitalism in America and its key strengths and weaknesses as a leading world economic power. Those points are underscored with plenty of data points and statistics to back them up but it’s still highly readable.
A lot of what happens in economic policy, in the U.S. and in other countries, is a repetition of things that have been tried before. And while history often repeats itself, author Kate Raworth challenges that idea in her book, “Doughnut Economics.” She offers some alternative ways to think about how to shape economic policy now and in the coming decades to benefit current and future generations.
These are the economics books everyone should read. If you have any suggestion and recommendation comment below.