A lot of people who are already economics students don’t want to read any more drab and dull economics textbooks at school. ‘Why can’t I learn this in a fun way?’ Not to worry! There are seven books that we think are the most fun to read. They happen to be about economics. Read on, and before you know it, you’ll know a lot about economics that you didn’t even know you learned.
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Often, Freakonomics is said to be one of the most popular economics books of all time. There is a good reason for this, though. In this book, you’ll find out why drug dealers tend to live with their mothers, why real estate agents and the KKK have a lot in common, and which is more dangerous: A gun or a swimming pool. There are some questions that no one thought to ask because they were too ridiculous. Freakonomics answers those questions. The first of its kind, this book both makes you laugh and makes you think about the world from an economics point of view, which is great for an economics student!
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky
This book was written by Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, and mathematician, Amos Tversky. It challenges the idea that people always act rationally. It explains why we are more likely to believe something that is written in bold text, and why we think that attractive people are better at their jobs. You can learn more about both the decisions you make and those made by people around you in this book. A good understanding of behavioral economics will also help you in your economics class at some point. Not only that, but reading this helps you make better decisions.
The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
This book has to be one of my favorite ones on this list. Because it starts out by explaining why the Starbucks in a London train station charges so much for coffee, and then talks about other real-life, relatable situations that happen in the real world. In this book, economics is shown to play a big role in every part of your life, and how knowing about the economics behind these things can help you understand the world a little better. This book is for people who want to learn more about how the world works
23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
Books like this one take some of the biggest myths in the world right now and turn them upside down and inside out. People have changed more because of the washing machine than because of the internet. Chang says at the start of the book that despite the title, the book is not anti-capitalist and that it doesn’t want to take sides. He also says that “despite its problems and limitations, I believe that capitalism is still the best economic system that humanity has ever come up with.” What you think about this one will change.
Animal Spirits by Akerlof and Shiller
Some of the books on this list are a little more difficult to read than Animal Spirits. It’s also one of the most important ones on this list, though. The book talks about how emotions play a role in economic decision making, which is really interesting. At the same time, it gives a good overview of basic Keynesian ideas, which is very useful if you’re either going into an economics degree course or are already in one. If you say you’ve read this book, you’ll also get a lot of points from your teacher.
The Armchair Economist by Steven E. Landsburg
The Armchair Economist is a lot like Freakanomics and The Undercover Economist when it comes to how it explains the economics of everyday life in a way that is both funny and interesting. Author: “The Armchair Economist is out to dazzle you with logic, while Freakomics is out to dazzle you with facts.” ‘Why does it happen that the more safe a car is, the more crashes the driver has?’ and ‘How much would the average person risk their life for a Starbucks mocha frappachino?’ Act like you want to know!
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nissim Nocholas Taleb
If you’re taking an economics class, you should read this one. Even though it can be a little dense in parts, the general idea is really interesting! Isn’t it true even though an event is very unlikely, like a black swan that no one had ever seen? It doesn’t mean that the event is impossible, though (as black swans do exist). The book then talks about how a big, unexpected event can have a big impact. Also, economic teachers like this one. It’s a good idea to bring it up in class, just in case.
Maybe something on that list caught your eye. It’s worth reading each of the books on this list because they will give you a good understanding of at least one economic theory, and you can use them in essays and so on while you’re at school.
Best Overall: The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations
Jacob Soll, a historian and MacArthur Genius Grant winner, has written a huge book called The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations. In it, he talks about how modern global economics came to be, starting with the rise of accountancy during the Medici reign. Soll takes the reader through well-known historical events like the Italian Renaissance, the French Revolution, and the 2008 recession. He explains how the bookkeeping and clever accounting worked behind these events.
Soll talks about not only how accounting plays a role in global affairs, but also how financial transparency and ideas about what financial systems owe the people they serve have changed over time in his book. People who want to learn about the history of their field will enjoy The Reckoning, but people who work in the field will also find it interesting. It is less of a technical history and more of a social and political one. In this book, Soll focuses on Western accountancy and finance, so readers should know that this history isn’t going to be global. The Reckoning, on the other hand, has a lot of interesting things to say and a lot of history to look at, so it’s worth reading.