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Ten Books to Rule Them All

March 16, 2010
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Tyler Cowen suggests that bloggers list the ten books that most influenced their worldview. His list is pretty impressive, and being very eclectic, he has a much more “full” list than I feel I can create, but here goes (in no particular order)!

  1. Silvio Gesell, The Natural Economic Order. As I had mentioned in the last post, this is the book that kindled my enthusiasm for economics. I still find myself reading over parts of the book for simple enjoyment.
  2. Eric Bienhocker, The Origin of Wealth. A radically different way of thinking about economics, through the lens of complexity theory. One of my favorite books of all time.
  3. Bernard Lietaer, The Future of Money. An excellent outline of the history of money systems, the functioning of the current monetary regimes around the world, why the type of money we use — to a large extent — defines our interaction with the world, and how we can use different money systems to make the world a better place.
  4. Frederich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit. This book introduced me to the power of the search mechanism in inherent in market economies. I was only five when the Soviet Union fell…so I missed the entire debate.
  5. Tie: Tim Hartford, The Undercover Economist; Steven Levitt, Stephen Dubner, Freakonomics. I’m going to use these two books as placeholders for all of the “pop-economics” books that deal with the identification problem. I have to admit, I read them all :P.
  6. Frederick Soddy, The Role of Money (and Cartesian Economics). Soddy is a Nobel laureate in chemistry, who turned his genius toward economics. I picked up this book on recommendation of a commenter — Ken. Soddy’s analysis is arguably vastly superior to Keynes…and he is the pioneer of such ideas as national statistical analysis, and some interesting theories about monetary economics. It has quickly become one of my favorite books.
  7. Paul Krugman, The Accidental Theorist. My favorite from the Krugman that used to effortlessly slap down the stupid ideas that appear about economics in politics. Got me into political economy…and identifying everyday fallacies.
  8. John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy. Pretty ubiquitous.
  9. Chuck Palahnuik, Fight Club. Forced me to think deeper about the underpinnings of societal culture. Fueled my youthful rebellion :P.
  10. Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson. Also one of the early economics books that I read. Although sometimes harsh in tone, is an essential of basic “pop-economics”. In other venues, I have said that I think Joseph Heath’s Filthy Lucre does the job of this book much better.

It was kind of hard to get past five or so books without having a bookshelf in front of me to refresh my memory :P.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Ryan Vann permalink
    March 17, 2010 3:51 pm

    I find much difficulty in compiling such a list, though I’d probably include a few that you mentioned including; Mill’s, Hayek’s and Bienhocker’s books (I’ve still been unable to find a Future of Money copy, but I like what I’ve read of Lietaer).

    I feel a bit silly admitting it, but one of the most influential books I’ve read, in regards to political theory and human action in general, is George Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

    I’d probably throw Dawkins’ God Delusion in there too. Yeah, I definitely couldn’t make a top ten list.

  2. Ryan Vann permalink
    March 18, 2010 3:14 pm

    That’s a pretty good in.

  3. Dave permalink
    March 18, 2010 5:58 pm

    I second The Origin of Wealth. Should be required reading for everyone after completing intro or intermediate economics courses.

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