The best economics books 📚

Browse the best books on economics as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

By Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt

Why this book?

Levitt is a pioneer of, and among the most successful users of, techniques of data analysis to identify causes and effects in economics. This book, based on work that won him the Clark Medal, the economics profession’s premier prize for young researchers, gives us surprising, quirky, and delightful insights into the workings of many economic, political, and social phenomena.

From the list:

The best books on economics and game theory

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Book cover of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: With the Economic Consequences of the Peace

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: With the Economic Consequences of the Peace

By John Maynard Keynes

Why this book?

Keynes’ book is not just a classic, but to my mind is the finest book in economics written in the first half of the twentieth century. Although I studied the book as an undergraduate student, at the time I failed to appreciate what Keynes wrote about the role psychology played in economic decision making. It was only after becoming a behavioral economist myself, and re-reading the book, did I realize that Keynes was a stellar behavioral economist. Although many professionals learn about Keynes’s ideas from other sources, there is nothing like the original. In this work Keynes speaks to us…

From the list:

The best books on the impact of psychology on economics and finance

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Book cover of The ABCs of Political Economy: A Modern Approach

The ABCs of Political Economy: A Modern Approach

By Robin Hahnel

Why this book?

Hahnel’s work should be more well known. A professor of economics who understands the neoclassical approach inside out, he has spent his career not only critiquing mainstream economics but developing rich alternatives, including a sophisticated economic vision that aims to avoid the pitfalls of both free markets and state planning. I’ve chosen The ABCs of Political Economy as it’s a wonderful introduction to the area, offering a broad scope and a sharp critique of orthodox approaches to the economy.

From the list:

The best books critiquing free-market fundamentalism

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Book cover of The Economic Way of Thinking

The Economic Way of Thinking

By Paul Heyne, Peter Boettke, David Prychitko

Why this book?

This was required reading in my MBA program at Golden Gate University. In fact, the economics teacher, Joe Fuhrig, inspired me to go on for my PhD in Economics at New York University. The book explains how economics isn’t just about mathematical models: it is about how people think and behave. Once you learn to think like an economist, you will find investing (and even grocery shopping!) a completely different experience.

From the list:

The best books on stock market plumbing

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Book cover of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

By E.F. Schumacher

Why this book?

My rekindled interest in climate change took me back to a book that had influenced me significantly decades ago, which now seems more relevant than ever before—a fact attested to by the fact that the most recent edition features a new forward by Bill McKibben. Of course, Schumacher was not discussing climate change in 1973, but he was already calling attention to ethical, economic, and environmental issues associated with economic growth and thinking about solutions. This is a collection of articles by an economist whom John Maynard Keynes once suggested might be his worthy successor. It includes his provocative “Buddhist…

From the list:

The best books that will change the way you look at climate change

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Book cover of The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

By Karl Polanyi

Why this book?

This book showed me the way to alternative understandings of money, from one culture to another, over vast periods of time and space. An extraordinary read. Polanyi influenced a little-known school of economics, yet one that is becoming more and more relevant as our understanding of money is transformed by alt- and cryptocurrencies.

From the list:

The best books that explore what money is, from beginning to Bitcoin

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