# Thread: Recommended books for the aspiring economist?

1. ## Recommended books for the aspiring economist?

Greg Mankiw posted a list of light summer reading on his blog, and I'd like additional interesting or essential economic reading suggestions.

I'm meticulously pouring over Keyne's General Theory right now, I enjoyed Peddling Prosperity, and I disliked the Armchair Economist.

Also-- just because I'm curious-- what textbooks did y'all use during your undergraduate work?

Here's Mankiw's list:
• Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
• Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers
• Paul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity
• Steven Landsburg, The Armchair Economist
• P.J. O'Rourke, Eat the Rich
• Burton Malkiel, A Random Walk Down Wall Street
• Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff, Thinking Strategically
• Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, Freakonomics
• John McMillan, Reinventing the Bazaar
• William Breit and Barry T. Hirsch, Lives of the Laureates

2. If you're looking for suggestions, try more of PJ O'Rourke - All the trouble in the world.

Some of his arguments are not that strong. I disagree with many of them, but he's so funny and easy to read that it makes a very good "light read"

Fooled by Randomness
and
Black Swan
both by Nassim Taleb.

THey are not "light read" but provide some interesting views on how mainstream academia interprets the world and how the world "really" behaves.

4. ## Textbook

I'm using McEachern's micro Econ ( 4ltrpress.cengage.com/econ) for my class. It's first edition and I'm finding errors (including some doozies, frankly), but I picked it because it's shiny and has lots of pictures. I find that undergrads, like all lower primates are fascinated by shiny objects. It also has some really good graphing supplements online.

5. Originally Posted by Cfoster
I find that undergrads, like all lower primates are fascinated by shiny objects.
Following your link, the quote stuck in my mind. So I decided to put in a picture.

6. Originally Posted by thewaz
Following your link, the quote stuck in my mind. So I decided to put in a picture.
Mankiw's Blog (can't provide the link) quoted a study on the "hotness" of professors and found that economists ranked near the bottom of the hotness scale. Mankiw's response, "Maybe I should have finished that law degree I started." Law professors ranked near the top of the hotness scale. If shiny objects are good enough for Mankiw, then.... On a related note, there's the study that finds that male professors benefit more from their relative hotness than female professors do in student evaluations.

Lower Primates: 1
Higher Primates: 0

This avoids the discussion of whether meaning lies in surfaces or depths. I'd go there but I'm counting the Mankiw reference as sufficient for my win. Yay team!

7. Per TM

This is a pretty nice link.

8. Originally Posted by thewaz
Fooled by Randomness
Seconded. I enjoyed Taleb's book.

9. I've used two intro texts for econ, the worst was mankiw's intro to macro which was way over priced at $150 for a distorted intro to ultra simplified macro. The thing that I remember was his oversimplistic presentation of economics with a typical ideological simplistic "principle" - taxes are a deadweight loss. period. Gee, from mankiw I get that taxes have no purpose, and if we eliminate taxes we will have roads, police, air ports, advanded research and the ability to get treated for health problems anywhere all for free. The other was a basic text for micro that wasn't ideologic, wasn't updated every year to drive new book sales, and only cost$50 new. Can't recall the author. Most intro/standard college textbooks should probably be replaced by open source books with printing handled by lulu, et al

10. anything by Thomas Sowell will do.

I am currently reading "Basic Economics" Thomas Sowell. It makes an easy to read and logical case for an absolute free market.

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