Best Books for Economics Study

The best economics books help to make an incredibly broad subject easier to understand, even if you’re not employed or studying in the field. Many of the titles will teach you far beyond want you learned in Economics 101 in high school or university, such as how economies work, if the stock market influences them, and even a deep dive into interest rates.

As an average consumer, you would be surprised at the sheer amount of useful information you’ll find in the best books on economics. People who have always been interested in investing will find a particular interest in the best books for economics, as you can learn about how housing prices are affected by spending patterns. You’ll also have the opportunity to make better investments to ensure your money is being allocated to the correct areas.

Even tasks such as knowing when to buy or sell stocks will become substantially more natural if you’re able to understand what to look for in a potential economic downturn (as we’re living right now, in the times of COVID-19).

Your finances are incredibly important, and having a keen understanding of what to do with your money to ensure you are protected is essential. It’s also important to note that the best books on economics are excellent resources for students studying for their dream careers.

Instead of pushing you to read dreadful textbooks with little to no flair, these personable pieces of writing make the world of economics more exciting and far more relatable. Within the books, you will be able to pick up on unique tips and tricks from industry leaders as well as some insight into what to expect when you begin investing.

We have found that the best economics books feature practical information that is easily applicable to anyone’s financial situation, as well as the state of the world. From international economics and how they affect domestic relations to buying stocks and bonds, there is a limitless amount of information for you to put to good use with the best books for economics.

Best Economics Books

Economics: The User's Guide

Economics: The User’s Guide

A simple but in depth guide to economics that isn’t patronising. Always good to know about money & financial systems once you start earning!
Ella Botting
Founder/CyberWomen.co.uk
Who Gets What ― and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design

Who Gets What ― and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design

Depending on your interest and goals, if you are like me and always looking for the trends in the big picture then I highly recommend being an active contrarian reader. Read what no one else is reading. Your goal is to think outside the box. To look at the world and ask “why hasn’t this been solved?” And that gives you a roadmap as to what opportunities may exist for your entrepreneurial efforts. So to that, here’s a snapshot, in no particular order, of what might help you push your intellectual boundaries:

  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
  • Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
  • Who Gets What--And Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin E. Roth
  • The Political Economy of Participatory Economics by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel
  • The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin
  • Why America Misunderstands the World by Paul R. Pillar
  • A Theory of Justice by John Rawls
  • Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
Lucas Morales
Founder & CEO/Zeall.us
More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics

More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art

The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art

Don delivers entertaining and thoughtful insights into the inner workings of the art business, and does so in style! Check for Don's pointers on how to play the quiz of the contemporary art market. Very rewarding reading.
Sergey Skaterschikov
Founder/Skate's Art Market Research
Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

This book makes artificial intelligence easier to understand by recasting it as a new, cheap commodity--predictions. It's a brilliant move. I found the book incredibly useful.
Kevin Kelly
Co-Founder/Wired
The Political Economy of Participatory Economics

The Political Economy of Participatory Economics

Depending on your interest and goals, if you are like me and always looking for the trends in the big picture then I highly recommend being an active contrarian reader. Read what no one else is reading. Your goal is to think outside the box. To look at the world and ask “why hasn’t this been solved?” And that gives you a roadmap as to what opportunities may exist for your entrepreneurial efforts. So to that, here’s a snapshot, in no particular order, of what might help you push your intellectual boundaries:

  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
  • Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
  • Who Gets What--And Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin E. Roth
  • The Political Economy of Participatory Economics by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel
  • The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin
  • Why America Misunderstands the World by Paul R. Pillar
  • A Theory of Justice by John Rawls
  • Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
Lucas Morales
Founder & CEO/Zeall.us
Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us about Economics and Life

Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us about Economics and Life

An absolutely brilliant mind. The definition of left and right brain balance!!
Quincy Jones
Musician
Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist

Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
A History of Economic Theory: Classic Contributions, 1720-1980

A History of Economic Theory: Classic Contributions, 1720-1980

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

I'd recommend reading anything that helps develop your ability to understand and solve a problem. Triaging issues by importance and properly identifying their causes is critical in almost every aspect of business. Without that, you can easily spend a lot of time on the wrong problem, or an ineffective solution, and your time is, more or less, your most valuable commodity. So I'd suggest books like A Certain Ambiguity by Gaurav Suri and Hartosh Singh Bal, or Freakonomics by Stephen Levitt‎ and Stephen Dubner - books which will explore different ways of delving into problems and understanding their impact.
Dave Child
Founder/Readable.io
The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor - And Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!

The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor – And Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system". You can read this book to start building a "latticework of mental models in your head".

Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
Right on the Money: Doug Casey on Economics, Investing, and the Ways of the Real World with Louis James

Right on the Money: Doug Casey on Economics, Investing, and the Ways of the Real World with Louis James

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist

Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist

I am currently reading Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist by Randall Wray. I am an enthusiast of Modern Money Theory and participate in a group interested in financial systems, the nature of money, and economic policy. I am hoping to get closer to the expert level of understanding that others in that group have so that I can contribute more to the discussion. I believe that if we want to make real change in the world, we need to be looking at the most fundamental aspects of our social lives, and there is nothing more fundamental in society than the point system we use to track IOUs between each other.
Lucas Morales
Founder & CEO/Zeall.us
The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
The Power to Compete: An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy

The Power to Compete: An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy

The book is a quick read at just over 200 pages. Although I don’t agree with everything in Hiroshi’s program, I think he has a number of good ideas. He talks about bringing more women into the workforce and encouraging more people to learn and use English. And I would love to see Japanese companies become more innovative -- not just because it will make them more competitive, but because the whole world benefits from great ideas and technologies, whoever invents them.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk

An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk

Allison Schrager’s An Economist Walks Into a Brothel is the best, most readable, most informative, most adventurous, and most entertaining take on risk you will find.
Tyler Cowen
Founder/Marginal Revolution University
Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Capital sparked a fantastic global discussion this year about inequality. Piketty kindly spent an hour discussing his work with me before I finished my review. As I told him, although I have concerns about some of his secondary points and policy prescriptions, I agree with his most important conclusions: inequality is a growing problem and that governments should play a role in reducing it. I admire his work and hope it draws in more smart people to study the causes of, and cures for, inequality.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
Living within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos

Living within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos

It is a summary of the major things Hardin has learned in a lifetime. He is a real thinker. That is a fabulous book [...] I advise you to read it twice (which I did)... because it is the condensed wisdom of a very smart man.
Charlie Munger
Vice Chairman/Berkshire Hathaway
How Asia Works

How Asia Works

Studwell produces compelling answers to two of the greatest questions in development economics: How did countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China achieve sustained, high growth? And why have so few other countries managed to do so? His answers come in the form of a simple—and yet hard to execute—formula:

  • (1) create conditions for small farmers to thrive,
  • (2) use the proceeds from agricultural surpluses to build a manufacturing base focused on exports, and
  • (3) nurture both these sectors with financial institutions closely controlled by the government.

The agriculture section of the book was particularly insightful. It provided ample food for thought for me as well as the whole Agriculture team at our foundation. And it left us thinking about whether parts of the Asian model can apply in Africa.

Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft