Recommended Readings for Non-Economists

 

People interested in learning more about economics frequently ask me to recommend books or videos. The list below contains some of the best non-technical sources I have found.

 

 

Short Readings

 

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments

Logical fallacies for non-philosophers.

 

Logical Fallacies

A collection of examples of logical fallacies.

 

The Moral Case for Capitalism

A philosophical look at the moral underpinnings of capitalism and socialism.

 

Christianity and Self-Ownership

This is an excellent short essay by Isaac Morehouse on the relationship between Christianity and Classical Liberal thought.

 

The Economics of Seinfeld

Seinfeld clips arranged by economic topic.

 

Would You Give Up the Internet for $1 Million?

A video that takes a look at how well off people are now than in the past.

 

I, Pencil

This is a short story in which the author explores the knowledge necessary to create the lowly pencil, and makes the argument that the required knowledge is so vast that no one can create a pencil. Pencils exist not because of the interactions of individual people and firms, each of which has enough knowledge to create a part of the pencil.

 

 

Longer Readings

 

Free Our Markets

A practical treatment of economics with a focus on the benefits of freedom. This book is fundamental for anyone who wants an intuitive understanding of economics.

 

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom. The book won the 1967 Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

 

Pillars of the Earth

This is a historical novel by Ken Follet. The novel is not about economics, but Follet weaves into the novel many examples of economic principles. The examples are detailed enough to provide the reader with many quality insights into economics. While interesting, the BBC series based on the book, does not come close to the novel’s quality.

 

World Without End

This is the sequel to Pillars of the Earth. Most sequels are mere shadows of greater works. Not so with this. World Without End is as good as Pillars of the Earth — both as a piece of literature and as a primer in economic principles.

 

The Armchair Economist

The book is a collection of chapters that discuss people’s behaviors from an economic perspective. The chapters can be read in any order. The book is written for a lay audience, and is non-technical.

 

Eat the Rich

The author (not an economist) travelled the world in an attempt to answer the question, “what makes some countries rich and other countries poor?” This book is the result of those travels. The author, P.J. O’Rourke, is extremely funny. The fact that he is not an economist is a help to non-economist readers.

 

The Wonderful O

 

 

 

Here are some videos on economic and other topics.

 

 

The Prosperity Machine

 

Octaviaa (not economics, but cool nonetheless)

 

The is-is epidemic

 

Pluralizing with an apostrophe

 

Irregardless

 

Grammar Nazis