Books and Lectures: Economics

I am starting this “Books and Lectures” thread to write about good books and lectures that help learning new concepts, subjects. I don’t want to list pure academic books (i.e. course material) as far as possible because they are boring and difficult to read. I will try to mention resources that are interesting and/or easy to digest. So do keep in mind that these resources are good starting point – only to generate interest and curiosity for further studies.

I will write multiple blogs for different subjects. Here is the first one about Economics (and related topics).

If you want to buy only one book on Economics I would recommend The Economics Book (Big Ideas). I recently purchased hard copy of this book. The print quality is too good and the book covers all key concepts in Economics briefly and in engaging manner! It is more life a coffee table book with lots of pictures, graphics, easy-to-read text and covers evolution of Economics over last 300-400 years. It is a book you should not only read but own and keep in your bookshelf.

Economics Book

The second book I would recommend is written by IIM-A Prof. Satish Deodhar and it is “Day To Day Economics“. The book covers interesting aspect of National Budget and how to understand/interpret various terms, concepts such as Fiscal Deficit.

DayToDayEconomics.jpg

If you want to read about more entertaining and hilarious aspects of Economics, do read “The Undercover Economist” and “Dear Undercover Economist” – both written by Tim Harford. This is a new genre of book which has become very popular now. The other examples of similar books (which talk about non-technical, entertaining aspects of Economics) are “Freakonomics” or “Superfreakonomics“. “The Tipping Point” or “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell are not exactly Economics books, but they do try to explain certain (economic) phenomenon and touch upon behavioral economics concepts. Another interesting book on behavioral economics, but very difficult to read, is by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman – “Thinking, Fast and Slow“. A new book in the same genre is “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard Thaler who won Nobel Prize for Economics in 2017. I must confess that I have not yet read Nudge, but watched some interviews of Thaler explaining the concept and read book review and articles. Also, I have not been able to complete Kahneman’s book too.

As I am writing book names, I realized that except for first couple of books which talk about core economics concepts and theories, the rest all are more on “behavioral aspects” or softer side. Also, if you look at names of last few years Nobel Awardees you would realize that their work has been more on behavioral economics, or validation of existing theories/models etc. There haven’t been many ground-breaking new Economics concepts since 1950s or so. And that is understandable given the maturity of this field (the same is true about Mathematics). In one of the interviews Richard Thaler mentioned that John Maynard Keynes could actually be called pioneer of Behavioral Economics as he did a lot of work and wrote extensively on the topic. I recently bought “Essays in Persuasion” – a collection of articles and letters by John M Keynes written during the period between Great Depression and World War II. Yet to read it…

For those who don’t like reading (I hate you!) or prefer watching videos to reading, there are few good videos on YouTube.

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
The Monetary System Visually Explained
A four part series on Hidden Secrets of Money
Masters of Money – A documentary on John M Keynes
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