The 12 Best Books on Economics

Here’s my list of the 12 best books on economics, in no particular order.

  1. Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber – Graeber argues with incredible amounts of research that debt, not money or free trade has been the economic driver throughout world history. Fascinating.
  2. The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek – Hayek’s famous arguments against socialism.
  3. Stubborn Attachments by Tyler Cowen – Cowen makes the moral argument that economic growth is the biggest driver of everything that is good in the world. Hard to argue with.
  4. Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler – 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.
  5. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely – Fascinating and sometimes funny examples of where people make irrational decisions… while believing that they are being rational.
  6. Thinking: Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – The Nobel Prize winner’s authoritative description and explanation of the cognitive biases that wreak havoc on our ability to understand the world.
  7. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb – 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.
  8. The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb – Taleb’s second book argues that the biggest events in history are, by definition, the most unpredictable.
  9. Antifragile by Nassim Taleb – Perhaps his most important work, Taleb elucidates a new concept called “antifragile,” things that gain from disorder.
  10. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes – Keynes’ ideas here helped to end the Great Depression and prevent future economic catastrophes. Arguably the most influential book in modern economics.
  11. Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith – Goes without saying.
  12. Capital by Karl Marx – 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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