+4 votes
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (290 points)

5 Answers

+3 votes
answered ago by (460 points)
Too many options! This will be a massive thread.

Poor Economics. It's literally required reading for anyone interested in development.

Misbehaving is a fun read that I have recommended to friends outside econ circles.

What Money Can't Buy by Michael Sandel I also found to be really thought provoking. One could argue it's more philosophy than econ, but it has a place in this thread.
+4 votes
answered ago by (1.2k points)
When people ask me: "I have time to read only one book on economics; what should I read?" my answer is still (17 years after its publication):  "Reinventing the Bazaar"by John McMillan (Norton, 2002).
commented ago by (410 points)
Why do you recommend this book in particular?
commented ago by (1.2k points)
It is the best treatment I know of the things that really matter in economics - institutions, organizations, information, and incentives - based on the author's equal mastery of modern theory and of reality on the ground. McMillan explains and illustrates the potential as well as the limitations of markets and related mechanisms. And he writes lucidly, with almost no technical jargon, so the lay reader can understand his message.
+4 votes
answered ago by (5.7k points)
When business students ask for a book, I still often recommend Dixit and Nalebuff, "Thinking Strategically"
+4 votes
answered ago by (1.2k points)
Allow me to mention a couple of other favorites that are not very well known in the profession:
  William J. Bernstein, "A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World" (Grove Press 2008). A brilliant and highly readable history of trade through the ages.
  Jean Ensminger, "Making a Market" (Cambridge University Press, 1992). A very instructive ethnographic study of market and agency relationships in a cattle farming community in Kenya. Economics students of incentives, contracts and related institutions will find a lot of input to their thinking in this book.
   Diego Gambetta, "Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate" (Princeton University Press, 2009). Fascinating study of cheap talk and signaling in situations where costs of miscommunication can be very high! Again great input for thought to game theorists and economists.
+2 votes
answered ago by (260 points)
Here are some books by non-economists that economists should read:

Economies of Cities by Jane Jacobs

Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome

Two Cheers for Anarchism (and Seeing Like a State!!) by James C Scott

Era of Darkness by Shahsi Tharoor

The Secret of Our Success by Joseph Henrich

...and some by economists

Small is Beautiful

Calculus of Consent

Megaprojects and Risk

Who Gets What and Why