Good Readings in Economics

Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw has posted his reading list of economics books for a freshman seminar. (Hat tip to Cafe Hayek.)  Here it is:

  • The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert Heilbroner
  • Spin-Free Economics, by Nariman Behravesh
  • Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman
  • Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, by Arthur Okun
  • Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
  • The Return of Depression Economics, by Paul Krugman
  • Animal Spirits, by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller
  • The Myth of the Rational Voter, by Bryan Caplan
  • Economic Gangsters, by Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel
  • The Price of Everything, by Russell Roberts

I confess that I have not read all of these; I tend to do little reading of economics aimed at a general audience.  (Most of the ideas in these books I saw in the economics journals before the books came out.) 

Capitalism and Freedom:  I'll always remember how thrilled I was reading this my freshman year of college.  Highly recommended.  Some topics are a bit dated, but you'll learn a lot from them nonetheless.  And some of the topics are as timely today as they were in the 1970s.
The Worldly Philsophers: A good book, which helped reinforce my decision to study economics.
Spin-Free Economics: I haven't seen this book, but I was surprised by the Amazon reviews which said it was right-wing. I've known Nariman for years, during which time we've mostly discussed the short-term economic outlook.  I always thought he was an excellent mainstream economist, perhaps too Keynesian for my tastes, but first-rate all the way.

If Mankiw's class were focused on economics for business leaders, I'm sure he would assign Businomics.