Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, the first-time collaboration between young economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner, has become an economic phenomenon in itself, shooting up to the top of our bestseller lists on publication and hovering nearby for much of the rest of 2005. The long-term economic study we'd like to see Levitt and Dubner undertake next is of the effect of their clear-eyed and charmingly contrarian book on the number of young men and women choosing to major in economics. We predict a statistically significant rise.
Levitt and Dubner have put together a list for us of the 10 Books to Read About Economics, many of which are as imaginative as they are in using the tools of economics to answer surprising everyday questions. They write, "Here is our list 10 books that concern, sometimes loosely, the field of economics. It is a list that is by no means encyclopedic or authoritative or even representative. But each of the books are well worth reading."
1. Choice and Consequence by Thomas C. Schelling
Choice and Consequence: From one of the most creative economists in history, a hugely readable and vastly educational look at how economic thinking can be applied to any aspect of life.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America: A strident but hugely informative and sometimes chilling look at how economic pressures play out among the working poor. The description of different sorts of toilet grime are, unfortunately, highly memorable.
The Wealth of Nations (Modern Library Classics): This is where it all started--economics, that is. Smith's ideas are so powerful and shrewd that it hardly matters that the writing is so terribly wooden. It's always instructive to be reminded that classical economics was founded by a man who was, first and foremost, a philosopher.