Friday, April 24, 2009

Summer Reading

Earlier this week I had a student stop by my office and ask me what books I would recommend to read over the summer given an interest in economics. So, here are my top 10 choices, and a brief note on each book.

1. The Wages of Wins.
OK, I am very biased since I am a co-author of this book, but if you are interested in the application of economics in the arena of sports, this is a great option, and so is The Baseball Economist or Moneyball. Oh, Dave and Marty have another book coming out soon!

2. Fooled by Randomness.
This book will change the way you view the world around you and if I was not a co-author of the book above, this would be my top choice. If you are heading into the field of finance, this should be a must read.

3. The Mystery of Capital.
de Soto does a great job of showing why capital is so important and why nations that do not allow it to be used effectively or that restrict individuals in taking advantage of their capital lead to such differences in individual and national prosperity. For those interested in economic development or law and economics, this is a must read.

4. Spin-Free Economics.
OK, I am not all the way through this book yet but for those interested in both micro and macro and how economics can lead to a better society, the author does an outstanding job of discussing so many of the current economics issues of the day and showing why or how economic policy can increase societies well-being. (Why did I not think of writing this book?)

5. The Undercover Economist.
For those interested in economics and the economic way of thinking, this is for them. Of the similar books out there (The Armchair Economist, Predicting Presidential Elections and Fair Play), this one is my favorite.

6. On the Wealth of Nations.
OK, I am not a big history of economic thought fan, but this book is excellent. It is funny and thought provoking. The author does a fabulous job of showing us that to understand Adam Smith we need to understand not only the Wealth of Nations, but also his earlier work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This is a great book for those interested in a deeper understanding of economics.

7. Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations.
OK, I am a micro economist, so most of what I read and research are micro ideas. But for those interested in macroeconomics and especially economic growth this book is for you.

8. Tipping Point.
Gladwell is not an economist per se, but is an excellent writer and explains social phenomenia is a clear and interesting way.

9. Micromotives and Macrobehavior.
This one is for the more advanced economic reader, but gives you a basis of how a first rate economic thinker explains some of the social issues of our day. If you liked this book, read The Strategy of Conflict. It is one of my favorites.

10. The Economic Naturalist.
This one is for those interested in teaching economics and how integrating student writing and economic thought can provide illuminating answers to many economic situations of the day.

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