17 best books on economics

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Reading books on economics is the best way to raise your own level of awareness in areas such as business, finance, politics, management. Today it is fashionable to read Karl Marx, Adam Smith and Gregory Mankiw. After all, having the appropriate education, it becomes much easier to understand both the modern realities of various business areas and their own actions and motivations. Experts have compiled a rating of the best books on economics, many of which are included in the lists of world bestsellers and are mandatory for study in European universities.

Rating of the best books on economics

Nomination a place composition rating
Rating of the best books on economics 1 'Research on the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' by Adam Smith 4.9
2 'Superfriconomics' Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner 4.9
3 'How the Economy Works' by Ha-Joon Chang 4.8
4 Karl Marx's 'Capital' 4.8
5 'Why are some countries rich and others poor. The Origin of Power, Prosperity and Poverty 'Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson 4.8
6 'Antifragility. Capitalizing on the Chaos' Taleb Nassim Nicholas 4.8
7 'Confessions of an Economic Killer' by John Perkins 4.7
8 'Capitalism and Freedom' by Milton Friedman 4.7
9 The 'Economic Way of Thinking' by Paul Heine, Peter Bouttke and David Prichitko 4.7
10 'The path to a great goal. The Story of an Economic Idea ', Sylvia Nazar 4.6
11 'Principles of Economics' Nicholas Gregory Mankiw 4.6
12 'Capitalism. Unfamiliar ideal 'Ayn Rand 4.5
13 'Microeconomics' Robert Pindyck, Daniel Rabinfeld 4.5
14 John Maynard Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money 4.5
15 Macroeconomics by Olivier Blanchard 4.4
16 'Positive irrationality. How to benefit from your illogical actions', Dana Ariely 4.3
17 'Sonin.ru: Lessons of Economics', Konstantin Sonin 4.2

'Research on the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' by Adam Smith

Rating: 4.9

'Research on the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' by Adam Smith

The rating of the best books on economics opens with a fundamental treatise on scientific, classical economics, which was written during the Scottish Enlightenment, more than 200 years ago. The philosopher and economist of the 18th century Adam Smith, who had a great influence on the development of the world economy, presented his work to the general public, for which he was forced to be alienated for 9 years. But, nevertheless, 2 years after the publication of the book, in 1778, the author received a respectable position of customs commissioner in Edinburgh, which allowed him to live comfortably until old age.

In fact, in his treatise A. Smith prepared society for a free market economy, without regulation by the state. He was sure that the selfishness of a person who will strive to increase his own wealth will play for the good of the whole society. But, according to some historians, this theory primarily represented the interests of the commercial bourgeoisie, which for many decades fought against the state and religion, which held back the growth of usury and trade.

At first, the book was banned by the Inquisition, but soon became a popular scientific textbook, which formed the basis for the economic development of many states, including Europe and Russia.

'Superfriconomics' Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Rating: 4.9

'Superfriconomics' Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner

If the author of the last tome, released more than 200 years ago, was convinced that selfishness and personal gain are the engines of commerce, the authors of the book Superfriconomics, placed on the second line of our rating, very much doubt this. Dubner and Levit believe that people make purchases with very different incentives. And only madam statistics can help to understand this difficult issue.

After the success of the first book “Freakonomics”, which became a sensational bestseller, the authors decided not to give up the position of success and continued their research, trying to understand the intricacies of the human psyche. The book has no conclusions, but it is replete with multiple facts provided by stubborn statistics.

Some readers are disappointed that there is practically no word in the book about economics in the classical sense. But it has humor, environmental observation and a non-standard approach. It talks about behavioral motives, external special effects that stimulate demand, ways to combat fraud. And even when talking on seemingly abstract topics, such as climate warming and rising ocean levels, Dubner and Levit find this economic justification. We definitely recommend reading this guide to the non-standard economy if you want to get a new picture of the world, different from the one that is shown to us from blue screens.

'How the Economy Works' by Ha-Joon Chang

Rating: 4.8

'How the Economy Works' by Ha-Joon Chang

Why are many people not interested in economics? Maybe because they consider this science boring, difficult and inaccessible? Or is this opinion specially formed by someone? At the third step of our economic ranking, we have placed the popular science book of the professor of economics at the University of Cambridge Ha-Joon Chang, who took on the role of popularizing economic theory for dummies.

The book is divided into two parts. The first reveals the essence of economics as a science, and describes its history, and also gives an understanding of how we came to the current economic situation, and who has a direct impact on it. The second part tells about economic schools and their role in the life of ordinary people. Including touched upon such topics as corruption, unemployment, lobbying interests, crises.

The key idea of ​​this manual is that there is little objective truth in economic theory and a lot of evaluative opinions, which are often imposed through the media as the ultimate truth. The goal set by the author is to teach ordinary people to understand economic events and have their own, independent opinion. Ha-Joon Chang leads to the understanding that one should not be afraid of this discipline, on the contrary, it is important to include one's own critical thinking, because 90% of economic theory is a simple and logical truth, which is framed in a complex mathematical form with the help of formulas and words. For those familiar with the basics of economics, this book may seem too simple and even naive, but for understanding the big picture, it is quite suitable.

Karl Marx's 'Capital'

Rating: 4.8

Karl Marx's 'Capital'

On September 14, 1867, the first and only volume of the book, which influenced the entire world economy, was published in the Hamburg printing house. Karl Marx's “Capital” is honorably placed on the fourth step of our rating. In his work, Marx criticized the capitalist system through the prism of already existing economic theories in the context of social relations of the historical period in which he lived. “Capital” formed the basis of most modern economic concepts and Karl Marx is still one of the most cited thinkers of the century.

It is interesting that the first language into which this economic tome was translated was Russian. But, if later in the USSR the book was printed in millions of copies, then in the homeland of Marx – in Germany, it was actually destroyed, and for a long time it was in the prohibited list of literature.

Capital is a whole scientific work, consisting of four parts. In his first book, Marx sought to describe in detail the nature of capitalism as a way of social interaction between people. The second and third volumes of Capital were published based on the author's drafts by his closest associate, Friedrich Engels. The fourth edition came out under the publication of the Marxist Karl Kautsky after the death of the author.

Karl Marx created a fundamental work that not only reveals a criticism of capitalism as a social system based on the exploitation of most people by a small group of so-called capitalists and politicians, but also substantiates this from a scientific point of view. To this day, entire scientific institutes are engaged in decoding “Capital”. Moreover, each of this folio seeks to take what fits into the concept of the existing political system.

Is it worth reading K. Marx in the original? Definitely. At least in order to independently understand what has been happening in our society over the past 150 years, and what this may lead to tomorrow.

'Why are some countries rich and others poor. The Origin of Power, Prosperity and Poverty 'Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

Rating: 4.8

'Why are some countries rich and others poor.  The Origin of Power, Prosperity and Poverty 'Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

Published in 2011, the book 'Why Nations Fail' by Acemoglu and Robinson, which has actually become a textbook of economic disciplines and added to the lists of newfangled bestsellers, occupies the fifth position in our ranking. This publication is recognized as an important milestone in the history of modern economics.

On its pages, the reader will be able to get acquainted in detail with the question that has worried all economists, political scientists and philosophers for centuries: why is wealth so unevenly distributed between different powers and even directly within the country? The authors try to look for answers at the intersection of political science, history, economics, generously seasoning their searches with scientific information and historical facts. This makes the book a kind of historical and economic encyclopedia.

WNF is a theoretical work accessible to economists and the general public, from which you can learn a lot about politics, history and economics. But after reading it, the reader will have at least one question: knowledge has been obtained, the problem is clear, but what to do with it now? And again, as in the economic works of their predecessors, Acemoglu and Robinson try to theoretically substantiate the problematic, considering it from different angles. However, they do not give any recipes or even attempts to get out of this situation.

'Antifragility. Capitalizing on the Chaos' Taleb Nassim Nicholas

Rating: 4.8

'Antifragility.  Capitalizing on the Chaos' Taleb Nassim Nicholas.jpg

The sixth place remains for the popular scientific work, entitled 'Antifragility', in which the economist, professor and trader Taleb Nassim Nicholas reveals the idea of ​​the resilience of a person and a system against the pressure of chance and the ability to make use of failures.

A single plane crash could make the entire airline industry safer by improving control over the health of aircraft. A virus that infects one makes the rest of humanity stronger. Regular exercise is associated with constant micro-herbs, but in general they temper the body and make it antifragile.

But how to achieve such a state, how to overcome their fragility for a person, organization, state? Unfortunately, the author has traditionally given no ready-made answers for the economy. The style of the story is quite assertive and sometimes aggressive, but very logical.

'Confessions of an Economic Killer' by John Perkins

Rating: 4.7

'Confessions of an Economic Killer' by John Perkins

The sensational book by John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Murderer, published in the USA in 2004 and instantly became a bestseller, took the seventh position in our rating. John Perkins is now an activist and American writer, and a former employee of Chas, a top-secret Boston consulting firm. T. Main, providing services for the 'economic destruction' of countries and states. In the book, he tells the true story of what such companies, which have an army of economic killers, actually did.

Washington's reaction to such revelations from the former “economic killer” was lightning-fast: Perkins was accused of insanity and his confession was called into question. But these attempts at discrediting failed miserably. The book quickly became popular in the United States and abroad. Perkins may not have 'discovered America' in his book, but he definitely answered the question 'Why are some countries rich and others poor', and who benefits from it.

'Capitalism and Freedom' by Milton Friedman

Rating: 4.7

'Capitalism and Freedom' by Milton Friedman

The book of one of the most famous economists of our time and the 1976 Nobel laureate in economics, Milton Friedman, is ranked eighth in our rating. Capitalism and Freedom ranks among the important political and economic works of the 20th century. It expressed the ideas of the so-called economic freedom, which at one time operated by Adam Smith. The first edition was first published in 1962.

The main pillar of Friedman's theory is that economic and political freedom are interconnected. Therefore, limiting the influence of the state on the economy and stimulating a competitive free market will lead to an improvement in the life of society as a whole. Much of the book Capitalism and Freedom is outdated today, but it is still on the must-read list of bestsellers for economists and political commentators.

The 'Economic Way of Thinking' by Paul Heine, Peter Bouttke and David Prichitko

Rating: 4.7

The 'Economic Way of Thinking' by Paul Heine, Peter Bouttke and David Prichitko

One of the most well-known training courses in economics is in our ranking at the ninth step. The book “The Economic Way of Thinking” reveals the basic economic bases in simple and understandable examples. The textbook was originally published by Paul Heine, in which the author, without using any formulas, showed how to apply economic analysis to every surrounding phenomenon. In the 90s. the textbook was published in decent editions, so the original can still be found in libraries. Electronic version of the book: www.libertarium.ru/lib_thinking.

After the death of the professor, Heine, his admirers and followers P. Bouttke and D. Prichitko took the liberty of continuing his great work and republished the book with their own corrections. Starting from the 10th edition, 3 authors appeared on the cover of the book. However, many experts recommend reading the book in the original, since the changes made almost completely changed the original meaning of the entire course.

'The path to a great goal. The Story of an Economic Idea ', Sylvia Nazar

Rating: 4.6

'The path to a great goal.  The Story of an Economic Idea ', Sylvia Nazar

The second book by Sylvia Nazar, released after the acclaimed bestseller 'A Beautiful Mind', falls into the tenth position of the rating. The Path to the Great Goal reveals the development of economic ideas from Marx and Engels to Robinson and Sen.

The author tried to show how different theories and trends have influenced the economic realities of today. The book covers a period of over 100 years and focuses on thinkers in the United States and Western Europe. Apparently, Sylvia, inspired by the success of her first book, wanted to display something similar in the fragments of the interweaving of biographical information and theories put forward by specific individuals. Did she succeed? On the pages of the book, the consistency of the narrative is precisely what is missing. The divisions into chapters are rather arbitrary, and the story is inconsistent and can jump from the biography of Friedrich Hayek to the description of Keynes's works. Although for lovers of this style, this book can become a very detailed guide to the world of practical economics.

'Principles of Economics' Nicholas Gregory Mankiw

Rating: 4.6

'Principles of Economics' Nicholas Gregory Mankiw

Mankiw's book, Principles of Economics, is ranked eleventh in our ranking because it is a good guide to get you started with the materiel of economics. The author explains the terminology in an accessible way, practically without resorting to formulas. Since 1996, the book has been reprinted more than 5 times and is still very popular.

According to Mankiw, economics is very closely intertwined with ordinary life and the study of its basic postulates will make it easier and faster to learn about the world around us. How does Brad Pitt make so much? Why is property in New York so expensive? Why do airlines regularly offer discounts to their customers? Why are commodity prices stable in some countries, while others are drowning in constant inflation? The book will provide answers to a wide variety of questions.

'Capitalism. Unfamiliar ideal 'Ayn Rand

Rating: 4.5

'Capitalism.  Unfamiliar ideal 'Ayn Rand

The twelfth line of our rating goes to the book by Ayn Rand, a popular American writer and author of world famous bestsellers. Readers believe that the best thing about Rand's books is that economics and politics are grounded in moral and ethical issues, deeply rooted in reason, personality and morality. Capitalism in her philosophy is a human rights-based system that embodies the ideals of equality and freedom. At the same time, the author did not invent anything – her arguments are based on a whole heap of illustrative examples, supported by political speeches, newspaper articles and real stories. And this evidence is enough.

According to Rand, capitalism is a completely different concept that today is associated with greed, selfishness, powerlessness and impunity of individuals. This is a free society in which everyone controls their own lives, and the state does not interfere in private life and the economy, but only monitors the implementation of laws.

'Capitalism. An unfamiliar ideal “is an assortment of articles that were written at different times, but are still relevant today and surprise with their persuasiveness, reality and acuteness. Using the example of various aspects of economic, political and social life, the author substantiates his own philosophy: capitalism, which is based on interests of the individual, can make society happy and free.

'Microeconomics' Robert Pindyck, Daniel Rabinfeld

Rating: 4.5

'Microeconomics' Robert Pindyck, Daniel Rabinfeld

The first published, abridged translation of the textbook Macroeconomics, published in 1992, has generated a strong and stable demand among readers. Today the book has already gone through 5 reprints and is still a popular textbook. In our ranking, the book by Robert Pindike and Daniel Rabinfeld is in thirteenth position.

The book examines the principles of microeconomic theory and enough examples from practice, illustrations and graphs. Due to the fact that there are no complex mathematical formulas in the theory, it is much easier to perceive the material. In a word, this textbook is recommended for study in almost all universities in the country and, most likely, more than one generation will learn the difficult truths of microeconomics from it.

John Maynard Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

Rating: 4.5

John Maynard Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

The scientific essay of John Maynard Keynes, first published in 1936 and making a huge contribution to the development of economics as a science, occupies the fourteenth position in our rating. The book became the basis for the formation of the terminology of modern macroeconomics. Keynes is a significant figure, so this work is of great interest to those who really want to understand the intricacies of economic theory. The author set himself the task of pointing out the erroneousness of the postulates of the classical theory and making a revolution that later went down in history as 'Keynesian'.

Keynes's theories went far beyond unemployment in England – a problem initially caused by the author, on the basis of which he built his own theory. In fact, in his book, Kane provided a rationale for market relations and updated economic theory, as well as provided new methods for its analysis. By the way, the publication of the book was the reason for the 'Keynesian revolution', which had a real impact on many political and economic events of the 20th century.

Macroeconomics by Olivier Blanchard

Rating: 4.4

Macroeconomics by Olivier Blanchard

The textbook on macroeconomics, popular in Western universities, claims to be the fifteenth position in the ranking. The book has gone through several editions and is included in the lists of recommended for study in schools and universities in Europe. The book covers the main topics of macroeconomics; the chapters are clearly structured – a core is highlighted, followed by expansion and addition of theory. Blanchard takes an innovative approach using different types of analysis.

Reviews of the first two editions of the book, published in the United States and other countries of the world, showed that the textbook is of certain interest and useful to the widest circle of readers. Certain changes and improvements have been made to the edition. Today the book is being republished for the third time.

'Positive irrationality. How to benefit from your illogical actions', Dana Ariely

Rating: 4.3

'Positive irrationality.  How to benefit from your illogical actions', Dana Ariely

An entertaining book about behavioral economics and the irrationality of our brain is at the sixteenth position in the ranking. Dan Ariely explains with humor and personal examples that neither intuition nor logic can give 100% results when making decisions. Often a person does something irrational.

The author gives the results of his own research related to both personal life and work. And he is looking for an answer to the main question: why does the brain make us do stupid things in these areas? In each chapter, he asks a new question and tries to explore this or that phenomenon. For example, the author is looking for an answer to how reward affects productivity, whether people are inclined to revenge, why after doing something on their own, people value it more. There are a lot of research and experiments in the book, they slightly tighten the outline of the presentation, but due to the easy presentation, the book is very easy to read.

'Sonin.ru: Lessons of Economics', Konstantin Sonin

Rating: 4.2

'SONIN.RU: LESSONS OF ECONOMY', KONSTANTIN SONIN

'Sonin.ru: Lessons from Economics' closes our rating. The book dispels the myth that economics is a pretense that has no connection with ordinary life. It turns out that this science can also be interesting, and economists can answer the most interesting questions: why the goalkeeper does not throw the ball into the corner at a penalty kick; is 'Solomon's wisdom' really so great; how the war led to the creation of port; who needed to build a gas pipeline without gas.

After reading Sonin.ru, the reader learns that economists are not at all as boring as they seem. Each chapter deals with a specific topic. The structure of the book is very comfortable for perception: small chapters – lessons contain answers to various economic questions. The author often provides an opportunity for the reader to independently understand and analyze the information received.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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