Top 5 Best Economics Books July 24, 2023 – Posted in: Blog, Books

1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis

A description of the events leading up to the 2007-2008 world financial crisis by financial journalist Michael Lewis, who also wrote Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, this bestselling non-fiction book spent 28 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2015 it was also made into an award-winning film starring Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, and Ryan Gosling.

The book follows many of the people who believed the housing bubble was going to burst and who, by betting against the collateralized debt obligation bubble, ended up profiting vastly upon its eventual collapse. It also follows some of those who lost money, such as Howie Hubler, who sits in second place for the most lost in a single trade at $9 billion.

2. Post-Capitalist Society by Peter F. Drucker

Peter F. Drucker is considered to be the most important thinker on management theory ever, and his writings have contributed to the development of the modern business corporation. Well known for predicting future events such as the economic rise of Japan and the emergence of an information society, this book argues that First World nations have already moved to a society beyond capitalism, in that capital is owned by organizations rather than individuals.

Regular citizens therefore become, in essence, the owners of enterprises, and therefore the owners of capital, meaning capitalism is changed without being destroyed. Drucker concludes by arguing that organizations will continue to become highly specialized, and that outsourcing rather than diversification will define the future.

3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

COO of Facebook and former VP of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, Sheryl Sandberg made a splash with her first book, which deals with women in the workplace. She addresses the reasons that women continue to find less success in the workplace than men, even after the passing of equal pay laws. She also encourages women to promote themselves more aggressively in their careers.

The book combines anecdotes, social experiments, and the author’s personal experiences to give an overview of how gender politics still play a defining role in the workplace. It also gives some solutions as to how this can be overcome. The book received both glowing reviews and much criticism, with some calling Sandberg a ‘faux feminist’. Others have argued that women are turned into consumer objects in the book, with emphasis taken away from solidarity and systematic gender bias. Whatever the relative merits of these criticisms, this book has been so widely reviewed and talked about that it’s essential reading.

4. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics deliberately blends pop culture topics with the theories of economics by discussing specific amusing or interesting examples across a series of articles written by the authors. For example, they explore how cheating operates in different businesses including teaching, sumo wrestling, and selling bagels. The light tone and fun content have made this book a big hit with the public, and it has stayed on bestseller lists since it was first published in 2005.

It has sometimes faced criticism for being more a work of sociology or even criminology than economics. However, it remained popular, and the authors started their own blog, also entitled Freakonomics, in 2005.

5. The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class by Edward Conard

Former managing director of Bain Capital and prominent neoliberal Edward Conard has written another book about the social benefits of inequality, arguing against the commonly held view that the wealthy 1% of US citizens are the cause of many social problems.

Debuting at number eight on the New York Times top ten non-fiction list, it was met with broadly positive reviews even by those who disagreed with its argument, such as esteemed economist Larry Summers. Its controversial central theme makes for interesting reading, whether or not you agree with the premise it sets.

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