What to read to understand how economists think:
- Capitalism and Freedom. By Milton Friedman. University of Chicago Press; 272 pages "This book is perhaps the best way to learn to think about trade-offs, because that was how Friedman always thought about the world."
- The Worldly Philosophers. By Robert Heilbroner. Touchstone; 368 pages; $18.99. Simon & Schuster "In a cheerful, conversational style, Heilbroner takes the reader through the writings of the earliest economists, explaining why their ideas were so revolutionary."
- Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong. By Morten Jerven. Bloomsbury Academic; 176 pages "A lot of economists plug data from Africa into huge statistical models, seeking to explain, for instance, why social trust is higher in one part of a country than another. But a lot of this research is based on shoddy data. ... One lesson from the book (which we reviewed in 2015) is to be upfront about the limitations of your data sources."
- Capitalism, Alone. By Branko Milanovic. Harvard University Press; 304 pages "This is the book to read if you want to understand why capitalism—and economists’ way of thinking—has triumphed the world over. ... Capitalism is far from perfect, his book shows, yet it is hard to shake the notion that it is the only system that broadly works."
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. By Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt. HarperCollins; 352 pages "This book is so famous that it seems a cliché to choose it, but if you haven’t read it, you really should."
What to read to understand the history of Western capitalism
Last modified 19 September 2022