Reading List

Many readers have requested that I provide a reading list of economics texts. This is by no means and exhaustive list.


Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell

Influential Texts:

Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes
Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle by F.A. Hayek
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz
On Keynesian Economics and the Economics of Keynes by Axel Leijonhufvud
Economic Forces at Work by Armen Alchian
Information and Coordination by Axel Leijonhufvud

Monetary Economics:

The Theory of Money by Jurg Niehans
Money, Payments and Liquidity by Ed Nosal and Guillaume Rocheteau
Getting It Wrong: How Faulty Monetary Statistics Undermine the Fed, the Financial System, and the Economy by William Barnett
The Midas Paradox by Scott Sumner
Free Banking and Monetary Reform by David Glasner
The Theory of Monetary Institutions by Lawrence H. White
The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays by Milton Friedman
Money and the Economy: Issues in Monetary Analysis by Karl Brunner and Allan Meltzer

History of Thought:

On Classical Economics by Thomas Sowell
A History of Economic Theory by Jurg Niehans
The Clash of Economic Ideas by Lawrence H. White

Growth and Institutions:

The Elusive Quest for Growth by William Easterly
The Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Ideology and the Evolution of Vital Institutions by Earl A. Thompson and Charles Hickson
The Dark Side of the Force by Jack Hirshleifer
Rulers, Religion, & Riches by Jared Rubin
War! What is it Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots by Ian Morris

Interesting Applications:

The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
The Armchair Economist by Steven Landsburg
The Baseball Economist by J.C. Bradbury
The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan


The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb

25 responses to “Reading List

  1. Pingback: A New Pitch Man « The Everyday Economist

  2. You should add Keyenes’ General Theory to the list.

  3. For non-economists….The Birth of Plenty, How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created, by William J. Bertnstein (2004) and put out by McGraw-Hill has a low “turgidity coefficient.” Fun.

  4. Politics In Moderation

    Do you have any recommendations for books specifically having to do with the trickle down economic theory?

  5. Jayson Virissimo

    In response to the above commentor,

    As far as I can tell “trickledown theory” isn’t a real theory and is simply used as a strawman by political commentators. I have yet to find a “trickledown theory” in any textbook or advocated by any prominent economist.

  6. I will be starting to teach economics to high scholl seniors in the fall. What would you recommend for them to read? Thanks!

  7. Bruce,

    I suggest you check out Heyne, “Economic Way of Thinking,” and “Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.” One of biggest challenges is “de-programming” entering college students who have taken economics in hight school. Good luck with this course.

  8. Great list of books. I have read a number of these and I agree with your recommendations.

  9. One important author is missing and in fact his book sold more copies that all the rest put together (about 3.5 million). His name is Henry George and his seminal book “Progress and Poverty” was written in 1879 and became the most popular (and slightly scientific) explanation about macroeconomics and it introduced the “single tax” as Land Value Taxation was called in that time.

    Students should equate his impotance as being the logical developments of Adam Smith and David Ricado writings (which are basic and somewhat boring but should not be missed).

    Many of the other works you have included are no longer regarded as suitable for current thinking and it depends on which school of thought you subscribe to as to where you should place the emphasis. For me, Keynesian Theory is an incomplete and faulty model and it fails to explain how our system works or waht to do when it doesn’t. His ideas about government policy are partly the reason for the present crisis.

  10. what about karl marx and engels and all of their shit? you dont have to be a communist to read the communist manifesto.

  11. This is a very good general list, can you please add your recommendations for understanding monetary economics?

  12. certainly a little light on the economics of the left. And being that the world has been ruled by Keynesian economics for a good chunk of the last 60 years to some degree, not mentioning anyone from the left except Keynes seems silly, to say the least.

    And to the person wondering about trickle down economics, it’s a cutesy name given to the idea of Supply Side Economics, and plenty has been written about that. However, all of the promises we heard about SSE in the past 30 years have really failed to materialize, so I don’t see why the need for the heavy reliance on Friedman and Sowell.

  13. I think that Jared Diamond’s “Guns, germs and steel” would make a great contribution to this list.

  14. I know another book that should be on your reading list….

  15. I was extremely disappointed with your reading list, as it includes Hayek and omits Soros and Munger, as well as Daniel Kahneman

  16. I’m surprised Jude Wanniski’s The Way The World Works did not make the list as an Introduction or Political Economy suggestion.

  17. Have you tried MyBookList app for iOS to keep track of them? Thoughts?

  18. Pingback: Crack Economics | Lund Business Review

  19. The digital version of Getting it wrong

  20. Great post ! if you are looking for fun and non-academic books about economics you can check here 25 Top Must Read Books About Economics

  21. Spencer Marlen-Starr

    This is a great list overall, however, I would replace ‘Applied Economics’ by Thomas Sowell in the Introduction section with either the book it was based on, namely, ‘That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen’ by Frederic Bastiat, ‘Wealth, Poverty, and Politics,’ or ‘Economic Facts and Fallacies’ (both of which were also written by Sowell) because while Thomas soul is my favorite economics author and I have read 10 of his books at least twice, in my honest opinion, ‘Applied Economics’ is the weakest of those 10 of his I have read.

    Furthermore, I would throw David Friedman’s Price Theory textbook somewhere in this list for it’s sense of humor alone!

    And lastly, you should either add ‘Antifragile’ and ‘Skin in the Game’ to the miscellaneous section, or just replace replace ‘The Black Swan’ with ‘The Incerto.’

  22. Great review! It sounds really good and unique. I shall put the book on my wishlist.

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