Notes to Myself



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.


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

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) – Archive

I just created an Archive on Demonetization – the so-called “surgical strike” on Black Money in India. There was another “masterstroke”, a “bold and massive reform” a “game changer”  since Demonetization – The Goods and Services Tax (GST). Everything that the current Government does is touted as a Game Changer (I wrote a blog on it). However, with GST the Government took hyperbole to another level. They called it as “India’s new Tryst with Destiny” and to mimic the original Tryst with Destiny (the one involving Nehru – hope you remember who that person was), the Government held a mid-night session to launch and celebrate GST.

I have been following the GST discussion/debate for some time new. Our IIM-A professor had briefly educated us on GST in early 2016. GST was not as controversial as Demonetization – there was a large consensus that GST as a concept is good. The devil was in detail. The implementation part of it. And since its hasty launch on 1st July 2017, GST is proving to be a nightmare – more worrisome than Demonetization. So I read and watched few good videos on GST.

I thought of creating another Archive for GST to keep track of all good material on GST. The list is not long as of now but it is very informative. Arvind Datar, a prominent lawyer, and author has extensively talked against GST and some of the key issues he spoke of are clearly evident now. He called GST as “the most terrible thing that will happen to the country

Do watch the first two talks by Arvind Datar on GST:

Arvind Datar on GST

A more detailed talk by Avinash Datar on the Constitution, Federalism and GST

A small primer on how GST is bad for small businesses

In Hindi – Overview of GST

In Hindi – Latest changes in GST (6th Oct 2017)

In Hindi – Ravish Kumar’s overview of GST






Demonetization – Archive

Yesterday (8th October 2017) we completed 11 months of #Demonetization; and now we are into the 12th month. We’ll complete 1 year of Demonetization on 8th November 2017 and there is bound to be a lot of debate on whether Demonetization was successful or not, and to what extent (and at what cost).

I have been following many discussions, debates and articles on Demonetization during last 11 months and have also blogged a few times. So I thought of creating a thread – an archive to start compiling all such links related to Demonetization at one place.

Will keep on adding to it and you are also welcome to contribute.

Blogs I wrote:

Magnitude of Demonetization

Demonetization and Fiscal Deficit

Interview with think tank behind Demonetization – Anil Bokil

One Month After Demonetization

Audio/Video on Demonetization:

My Professor at IIM-A Satish Deodhar discusses on Demonetization


Raghuram Rajan on Demonetization

Amartya Sen on Demonetization

Economist Arun Kumar on Demonetization (in Hindi)

Arun Kumar on Black Money and Black Economy (on backdrop of Demonetization)

Arun Kumar on Demonetization and Black Money

(Marathi) नोटाबंदी खरेच फसली का? अनिल बोकील यांची एक्स्क्लुझिव्ह मुलाखत

S Gurumurthy on Demonetization

Subramanian Swamy on Demonetization

P Chidambaram on Demonetization

Demonetization – A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Hindi – Ravish Kumar on Demonetization

Arun Shouri on Demonetization (in Nov 2016)

Arun Shouri on Demonetization (in Oct 2017)

Early View on Demonetization (in Nov 2016)

Raghav Bahl on Demonetization (Sep 2017) – through lens of Human Behavior rather than Economics/Finance

One of the best takes on Demonetization is by Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Chief Global Strategist Ruchir Sharma where he called Demonetization as a misguided step.

Ruchir Sharma on Demonetization

Updated on 11th October 2017:

Yashwant Sinha on Demonetisation ‘Our worst fears have come true





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