The 18 best books on economics

Reading books on economics is the best way to raise your own level of awareness in areas such as business, finance, politics, management. Today it is fashionable to read Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and Gregory Mankew. After all, having the appropriate education, it becomes much easier to understand both the contemporary realities of various business spheres and one’s own actions and motivations. Experts have ranked the best books on economics, many of which are included in the lists of world bestsellers and are required reading in European universities.

Rating of the best books on economics

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Rating of the best books on economics1“An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith4.9
2“Superfreakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner4.9
3“How Economics Works” by Ha-Joon Chang4.8
4“Karl Marx’s Capital4.8
5“Why some countries are rich and others poor. The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Adzhemoglu, James A. Robinson4.8
6“Antifragility. How to Profit from Chaos by Taleb Nassim Nicholas4.8
7“Confessions of an Economic Killer” by John Perkins4.7
8“Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman4.7
9“The Economic Way of Thinking” by Paul Heine, Peter Bouttke, and David Pritchitko4.7
10“The Way to the Great Purpose. A History of One Economic Idea, by Sylvia Nazar4.6
11“Principles of Econometrics” by Nicholas Gregory Mankew4. 6
12“Capitalism. The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand4.5
13“Microeconomics” by Robert Pindyck, Daniel Rabinfeld4.5
14“The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” by John Maynard Keynes4.5
15“Macroeconomics,” Olivier Blanchard4.4
16“Positive Irrationality. How to Profit from Your Illogical Actions, by Dan Ariely4.3
17“: Lessons in Economics”, Konstantin Sonin4.2
18“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” Tom Piketty4.1

“An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith

Rating: 4.9

Opens the ranking of the best books on economics with a seminal treatise on scientific, classical economics that was written as part of the Scottish Enlightenment, more than 200 years ago. The 18th century philosopher and economist Adam Smith, who had a great influence on the development of the world economy, presented his work to the general public, for which he had to be alienated for 9 years. Nevertheless, two years after the book was published, in 1778. The author obtained a respectable position as customs commissioner in Edinburgh, which allowed him to live comfortably until his old age.

In fact, in treatise A. Smith was preparing society for a free market economy, without regulation by the state. He was convinced that the selfishness of man, who would seek to increase his own wealth, would play to the good of all society. But according to some historians, this theory primarily represented the interests of the merchant bourgeoisie, which had for many decades been fighting the state and religion, which were holding back the growth of usury and trade.

The book was first banned by the Inquisition, but soon became a popular scientific textbook, which formed the basis of the economic development of many nations, including Europe and Russia.

“Superfreakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Rating: 4.9

If the author of the last folio, published more than 200 years ago, was convinced that selfishness and personal gain were the engines of trade, the authors of “Superfreakonomics,” ranked second in our ranking, are very doubtful of this. Dabner and Leviticus believe that people make purchases based on very different incentives. And only Mrs. Statistics can help to understand this difficult issue.

After the success of the first book “Freakonomics”, which became a sensational bestseller, the authors decided not to give up on the success and continued their research, trying to understand the intricacies of the human psyche. The book has no conclusions, but is replete with multiple facts provided by stubborn statistics.

Some readers are disappointed that there is virtually no mention of economics, in the classic sense of the book. But it has humor, environmental observation, and an outside-the-box approach. It talks about behavioral motivations, external special effects that stimulate demand, ways to combat fraud. And even when talking about seemingly abstract topics, like climate warming and rising ocean levels, Dabner and Leviticus find an economic rationale for it. We definitely recommend reading this textbook on non-standard economics if you want to get a new picture of the world, different from the one that is shown to us from the blue screens.

“How Economics Works” by Ha-Joon Chang

Rating: 4.8

Why many people are not interested in economics? Maybe because they think this science is boring, complicated, and inaccessible? Or is this opinion formed by someone on purpose?? On the third rung of our economic ranking we have placed a popular science book by Cambridge University economics professor Ha-Jung Chang, who has taken on the role of popularizing economic theory for dummies.

The book is divided into two parts. The first reveals the essence of economics as a science and describes its history, as well as providing an understanding of how we arrived at the current economic situation and who has a direct impact on it. Part two tells the story of economic schools and their role in the lives of ordinary people. Topics such as corruption, unemployment, lobbying interests, and crises are touched upon, among others.

The key message of this textbook is that there is little objective truth in economic theory and many value judgments, which are often imposed through the media as the ultimate truth. The author’s goal is to teach ordinary everyday people to understand economic events and to have their own, independent opinions. Ha-Joon Chung leads one to understand that one should not be afraid of this discipline; instead, it is important to incorporate one’s own critical thinking, for 90% of economic theory is simple and logical truth framed in a complex mathematical form with formulas and words. For those who know the basics of economics this book may seem too simple and even naive, but for an understanding of the big picture it will do just fine.

Karl Marx’s “Capital.”

Rating: 4.8

On September 14, 1867, the first and only volume of the book, which influenced the world economy, was printed in a Hamburg printing house. “Capital” by Karl Marx is honorably placed on the fourth step of our rating. In his work Marx criticized the capitalist system through the prism of already existing economic theories in the context of social relations of the historical period in which he lived. “Capital” formed the basis of most modern economic concepts and to this day, Karl Marx is one of the most quoted thinkers of the century.

Interestingly, the first language into which this economic folio was translated was Russian. But, if later in the USSR the book was printed in millions of copies, then in Marx’s homeland – Germany, it was actually destroyed, and it was in the banned list of literature for a long time.

“Capital” is an entire scholarly work, consisting of four parts. In his first book, Marx sought to describe in detail the nature of capitalism as a mode of human social interaction. The second and third volumes of Capital were published from the author’s drafts by his closest associate, Friedrich Engels. The fourth edition came out under the publication of the Marxist Karl Kautsky after the author’s death.

Karl Marx created a seminal work that not only reveals a critique of capitalism as a social order based on the exploitation of the majority of people by a small group of so-called capitalists and politicians, but also substantiates it scientifically. Entire research institutes are still engaged in deciphering Capital to this day. And everyone in this folio tends to take what fits into the concept of the existing political system.

Is it worth reading K. Marx in the original? Definitely. If only to understand for yourself what has been going on in our society for the past 150 years, and where it might lead tomorrow.

“Why Some Countries are Rich and Others Poor. The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Adzhemoglu, James A. Robinson

Rating: 4.8

The 2011 book by Adzhemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail, which has become a textbook on economic disciplines and a new bestseller, is in fifth place in our ranking. This edition is recognized as a milestone in the history of modern economics.

In its pages the reader can learn in detail about a question that has preoccupied all economists, political scientists, and philosophers for centuries: why wealth is so unequally distributed among different powers and even directly within a country? The answers the authors are trying to seek at the intersection of political science, history, economics, generously seasoning their search with scientific information and historical facts. This makes the book a kind of historical and economic encyclopedia.

WNF is an accessible theoretical work for economists and the general public, from which one can learn a great deal about politics, history and economics. But after reading it, the reader is left with at least one question: knowledge is gained, the problem is clear, but what to do about it now? Again, as in the economic writings of their predecessors, Adzhemoglu and Robinson attempt to theorize the problem by looking at it from different angles. However, they do not offer any prescriptions or even an attempt to find a way out of this situation.

“Antifragility. How to Profit from Chaos” by Taleb Nassim Nicholas

Rating: 4.8

Sixth place goes to a popular science work called “Antifragility,” in which economist, professor and trader Taleb Nassim Nicholas reveals the idea of human and system resilience to the pressure of chance and the ability to benefit from failure.

One plane crash could make the entire airline industry safer, due to better control of aircraft serviceability. A virus that hits one makes the rest of humanity stronger. Regular exercise involves constant microtraining, but in general it hardens the body and makes it anti-fragile.

But how do you achieve this state of mind, how do you overcome your fragility as a person, as an organization, as a state?? Unfortunately, the author does not, as is traditional for economics, provide ready answers. The style of narration is quite assertive and in some places aggressive, but very logical.

“Confessions of an Economic Killer” by John Perkins

Rating: 4.7

The much-ballyhooed John Perkins’s book “Confessions of an Economic Killer”, published in 2004 in the USA and instantly becoming a bestseller, is ranked seventh in our rating. John Perkins is now an activist and American writer, and formerly an employee of the top-secret Boston-based consulting firm Chas. T. Main, providing services for the “economic destruction” of countries and states. In the book he tells the true story of what such companies were really doing, having an army of “economic killers”.

Washington`s reaction to this revelation of the former “economic killer” was lightning-fast: Perkins was accused of insanity and had his confession questioned. But these attempts to discredit it fail miserably. The book quickly became popular in the U.S. and abroad. Perkins may not have “discovered America” in his book, but he certainly answered the question “Why are some countries rich and others poor,” and who benefits.

“Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman

Rating: 4.7

A book by one of the most famous economists of our time and winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize. on economics, Milton Friedman, ranks eighth in our ranking. “Capitalism and Freedom” is among the important political economy works of the 20th century. It expressed the ideas of so-called economic freedom, which Adam Smith had operated on in his day. The first edition was first published in 1962.

The main thrust of Friedman’s theory is that economic and political freedom are interrelated. Therefore, limiting government influence on the economy and encouraging a competitive free market would lead to a better society as a whole. Much of “Capitalism and Freedom” is now outdated, but it is still a must-read for economists and political commentators.

“The Economic Way of Thinking” by Paul Heine, Peter Bouttke, and David Pritchitko

Rating: 4.7

One of the best-known economics theory courses ranks ninth in our ranking. The book “The Economic Way of Thinking” reveals basic economic fundamentals with simple examples that everyone can understand. The original textbook was authored by Paul Heine, in which the author, without using any formulas, showed how to apply economic analysis to every surrounding phenomenon. In the ’90s, Brad Pitt made so much money 6. the textbook came out in decent numbers, so the original can still be found in libraries. Electronic version of the book: www.

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    After the professor’s death, Heine, his admirers and followers P. Bouttke & D. Pritchitko took the liberty of continuing his great work and republished the book with their revisions. Beginning with the 10th reprint, the book’s cover has now listed three authors. However, many experts recommend reading the book in the original, as the edits made have almost completely altered the original meaning of the entire course.

    “The Path to the Great Purpose. The Story of an Economic Idea by Sylvia Nazar

    Rating: 4.6

    Sylvia Nazar’s second book, released following the acclaimed bestseller “Mind Games,” hits the tenth spot in the rankings. “The Path to the Great Purpose” reveals the development of economic ideas from Marx and Engels to Robinson and Sen.

    “Principles of Econometrics” by Nicholas Gregory Mankew

    Rating: 4.6

    Mankew’s book, Principles of Economics, ranks eleventh in our ranking because it is a good primer from which to begin an introduction to the maturity of economics. The author explains the terminology in an accessible way, with little or no resort to formulas. Since 1996. The book has been reprinted more than 5 times and is still very popular.

    As Mankew argues, economics is very closely intertwined with ordinary life, and learning its basic tenets will make it easier and faster to learn about the world around us. How Brad Pitt makes so much money? Why real estate in New York City is priced so high? Why airlines regularly give discounts to their customers? Why some countries have stable commodity prices while others are drowning in constant inflation? The book will answer a variety of questions.

    “Capitalism. The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

    Rating: 4.5

    The twelfth line of our rating goes to Ayn Rand, a popular American writer and author of the world-famous bestsellers. Readers find that the best thing about Rand’s books is that economics and politics are based on moral and ethical issues firmly rooted in reason, personality, and morality. Capitalism in her philosophy is a rights-based system that embodies the ideals of equality and freedom. Her arguments are based on a heap of illustrative examples, backed up by political speeches, newspaper articles, and real life stories. And these proofs are ample.

    Rand’s capitalism is not what we associate today with greed, selfishness, powerlessness and individual impunity. It is a free society in which everyone disposes of his own life, and the state does not interfere in private life and the economy, but monitors only the enforcement of the laws.

    “Capitalism. The Unfamiliar Ideal” is an assortment of articles that were written at different times, but are still relevant and surprising today for their persuasiveness, reality, and poignancy. Through examples of various aspects of economic, political, and social life, the author substantiates his own philosophy: a capitalism that puts the interests of the individual at its core can make society happy and free.

    “Microeconomics” by Robert Pindyck, Daniel Rabinfeld

    Rating: 4.5

    First published, abridged translation of the textbook Macroeconomics, published in 1992., Has elicited a large and steady demand from readers. Today the book has survived 5 reprints and is still a popular textbook. In our ranking, Robert Pindyck and Daniel Rabinfeld’s book ranks thirteenth.

    The book deals with the principles of microeconomic theory and has enough examples from practice, illustrations, and graphs. Due to the fact that there are no complicated mathematical formulas in the theory – it is much easier to perceive the material. In short, this textbook is recommended for study in virtually all of the country’s institutions of higher learning, and it is likely that more than one generation will learn the difficult truths of microeconomics from it.

    “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” by John Maynard Keynes

    Rating: 4.5

    A scientific work by John Maynard Keynes, first published in 1936. and made an enormous contribution to the development of economics as a science, in our ranking it ranks fourteenth. The book became the basis for the formation of the terminology of modern macroeconomics. Keynes is a significant figure, so this work is of great interest to those who really want to understand the intricacies of economic theory. The author set out to point out the fallacy of the postulates of classical theory and make the revolution that later went down in history as the “Keynesian”.

    Keynes’s theories went far beyond unemployment in England, a problem originally conditioned by the author, on which he based his own theory. In fact, in his book Kane gave a rationale for market relations and updated economic theory and provided new methods for its analysis. Incidentally, the publication of the book was the occasion for the “Keynesian Revolution,” which had a real impact on many political and economic developments of the 20th century.

    “Macroeconomics,” Olivier Blanchard

    Rating: 4.4

    A popular macroeconomics textbook at Western universities claims the fifteenth spot on the list. The book has appeared in several editions and is included in the lists of recommended courses at schools and universities in Europe. The book covers the major topics of macroeconomics; the chapters are clearly structured – a core is highlighted, followed by an expansion of theory and an addition. Blanchard takes an innovative approach using different kinds of analysis.

    Reviews of the first two editions of the book, published in the U.S. and other parts of the world, showed that the textbook is of some interest and useful to a wide range of readers. There have been some changes and improvements to the edition. Today the book is being reprinted for the third time.

    “Positive Irrationality. How to Profit from Your Illogical Actions,” by Dan Ariely

    Rating: 4.3

    An entertaining book about behavioral economics and the irrationality of our brains is at number sixteen in the rating. Dan Ariely explains with humor and personal examples that neither intuition nor logic can produce 100% results when making decisions. Often man acts irrationally.

    “Konstantin Sonin: Lessons in Economics

    Rating: 4.2

    “: Lessons in Economics” closes our ranking. The book dispels the myth that economics is a sham, with no connection to real life. It turns out that this science can also be interesting, and economists can answer the most interesting questions: why the goalkeeper doesn’t throw the ball into the corner when taking a penalty kick; whether “Solomon’s wisdom” is really that great; how war led to the creation of port wine; who needed to build a gas pipeline without gas.

    After reading “” the reader learns that economists are not at all as nerdy as they seem. Each chapter tackles a specific topic. The structure of the book is very comfortable to read: small chapters – lessons contain answers to various economic questions. The author often gives the reader the opportunity to sort out and analyze the information on their own.

    “Capital in the twenty-first century” Tom Piketty

    Rating: 4.2

    At number eighteen, the French economist’s book, in which you won’t find philosophical reasoning. The pages present only facts and figures. The first publication was in 2013. “Twenty-first Century Capital” became an instant bestseller. It topped the list of best-selling books on Amazon. The accessible style of presentation appealed to the mass reader, not just the business audience.

    Critics have assessed Piketty’s creation ambiguously. The public is also divided into two camps. This is because the author calls for a radical solution to the problem of financial inequality, which, despite the modern way of life, is still evident in our time.

    Monumental work covers the history of more than a dozen nations. Based on economic research over the past 250 years, a professor at the Graduate School of Social Sciences argues that only if a worldwide estate tax is imposed can equality be achieved, a thesis that not all affluent people like.

    Despite much discussion, “Capital for the Twenty-First Century” has been voted the best book on economics in recent years. The work will be of interest to those who are familiar with the book K. Marx’s Capital. Two authors from different eras speculate on the same topic, only the German philosopher sees the collapse of capitalism ahead, while Piketty offers a concrete solution to stop this trend.

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