Here’s my list of the 12 best books on economics, in no particular order.
- Debt: The First 5000 Years – Graeber argues with incredible amounts of research that debt, not money or free trade has been the economic driver throughout world history. Fascinating.
- The Road to Serfdom – Hayek’s famous arguments against socialism.
- Stubborn Attachments – Cowen makes the moral argument that economic growth is the biggest driver of everything that is good in the world. Hard to argue with.
- Nudge – This idea won these guys a Nobel Prize. Sunstein and Thaler discovered that there are consistent ways to “nudge” people into making choices they wouldn’t otherwise make, for better or worse.
- Predictably Irrational – Fascinating and sometimes funny examples of where people make irrational decisions… while believing that they are being rational.
- Thinking: Fast and Slow – The Nobel Prize winner’s authoritative description and explanation of the cognitive biases that wreak havoc on our ability to understand the world.
- Fooled by Randomness – Taleb broke onto the scene with his critique of how we understand success and wealth. The truth, Taleb says, is that most of it is random.
- The Black Swan – Taleb’s second book argues that the biggest events in history are, by definition, the most unpredictable.
- Antifragile – Perhaps his most important work, Taleb elucidates a new concept called “antifragile,” things that gain from disorder.
- The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money – Keynes’ ideas here helped to end the Great Depression and prevent future economic catastrophes. Arguably the most influential book in modern economics.
- Wealth of Nations – Goes without saying.
- Capital – Also goes without saying. If Smith was the proponent of modern market theory, Marx was the definitive critique of the market system.
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