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8 of the Best Books on Economics to Read in 2020

8 of the Best Books on Economics to Read in 2020

Economics is a broad topic and if you're not an economist by profession, your knowledge might be limited to the Econ 101 class you took in school. But getting to know the finer points of economics and how the economy works in tandem with things like stock market movements, interest rates, consumer pricing, and housing prices is important from an investing perspective.

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Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

1946 | Henry Hazlitt

A million copy seller, Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is a classic economic primer. But it is also much more, having become a fundamental influence on modern “libertarian” economics of the type espoused by Ron Paul and others. Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the “Austrian School,” which includes Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich (F.A.) Hayek, and others, Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an influential libertarian publication.  Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal work, in 1946. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy. Many current economic commentators across the political spectrum have credited Hazlitt with foreseeing the collapse of the global economy which occurred more than 50 years after the initial publication of Economics in One Lesson. Hazlitt’s focus on non-governmental solutions, strong — and strongly reasoned — anti-deficit position, and general emphasis on free markets, economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention make Economics in One Lesson, every bit as relevant and valuable today as it has been since publication.

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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)

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2005 | Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? Freakonomics will literally redefine the way we view the modern world. These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much heralded scholar who studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life -- from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing -- and whose conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. He usually begins with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives -- how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of ... well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan. What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a surfeit of obfuscation, complication, and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and -- if the right questions are asked -- is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Steven Levitt, through devilishly clever and clear-eyed thinking, shows how to see through all the clutter. Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world. (front flap)

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Capitalism in America: A History

2018 | Alan Greenspan, Adrian Wooldridge

Shortlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2018 'An inspiring, rip-roaring read - like the astonishing story it describes' Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph Where does prosperity come from, and how does it spread through a society? What role does innovation play in creating prosperity and why do some eras see the fruits of innovation spread more democratically, and others, including our own, find the opposite? In Capitalism in America, Alan Greenspan, legendary Chair of the Federal Reserve, distils a lifetime of grappling with these questions into a profound assessment of the decisive drivers of the US economy over the course of its history. In partnership with Economist journalist and historian Adrian Wooldridge, he unfolds a tale of vast landscapes, titanic figures and triumphant breakthroughs as well as terrible moral failings. Every crucial American economic debate is here - from the role of slavery in the antebellum Southern economy to America's violent swings in its openness to global trade. At heart, the authors argue, America's genius has been its enthusiasm for the effects of creative destruction, the ceaseless churn of the old giving way to the new. Although messy and painful, it has lifted the overwhelming majority of Americans to standards of living unimaginable even a few generations past. At a time when productivity has again stalled, stirring populist furies, and the continuing of American pre-eminence seems uncertain, Capitalism in America explains why America has worked so successfully in the past and been such a gigantic engine of economic growth.

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