Economics Books for Non-Economists
Students (and sometimes non-students) will often ask for recommendations on books to read. Here are a few books I recommend for those who want to learn more about economics:
1. Anything by Thomas Sowell. He writes clearly, his assertions are well-backed by research, and his books are stunningly insightful. If you don't know where to start, try "Economic Facts and Fallacies", or "The Quest for Cosmic Justice". I am currently reading "Black Rednecks and White Liberals". What I have learned in the first 20 pages was worth the price of the book many times over. One note - Sowell isn't light reading - but it is well worth the time and effort.
2. Freakonomics. This is a fun-to-read book that discusses how Steven Levitt (and others) have used economic methods and thinking to examine many different issues. Freakonomics 2 (superfreakonomics is coming out this week). I will certainly be purchasing it ASAP. I am hoping it is as entertaining ast he first.
3. Free to Choose. Milton Friedman's classic about capitalism and the economy is now 30 years old, but it still seems relevant.
Some other good economics books include: Nudge, What it Means to be a Libertarian, and Discover your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist.
Some non-economics books I like and that have some academic value:
- Malcolm Gladwell books (The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers). His books are well-researched and thought provoking. He generalizes his conclusions to much, but other than that these books are terrific.
- Gang Leader for a Day. A fascinating book about a sociology doctoral student who does research with a street gang. While not an economics/business book, it is interesting to see how a gang operates and the incentives/disincentives the gang leaders provide their employees.