No matter how much we try to distance to distance ourselves from this fact but it is true. Our world is directed by the flow of money. Everything that happens somewhere has money and markets playing a role in it. Knowingly and often unknowingly we are wrapped tightly in the strings of market. In such a world, it is essential that we understand how markets and money works. For this, we need to understand the science of economics. Not all of us can afford to do that by going back to college or reading so much.
First, we wouldn’t know where to start. Second, there is so much information out there which we cannot relate to that it will not make sense to us. And finally, we are already so busy with our nine to five jobs and other engagements that who in the world has time for this. Some authors have targeted this niche of people and written some wonderfully detailed books about everyday occurrences that can be defined in terms of economics and the market. These books are cleverly written so that even those who are new to this field can understand it and they base it on famous studies so we know that their facts are correct. Moreover, they impart education by the age old method of relating to things we already know like teaching a kid how to count by making him count candy bars. Here are some very engaging books of economics and economic thinking that you should surely pick up:
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
In this book, the authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, explore several unconventional questions and explain the phenomenon governing these incidents in a revolutionary, yet economic way. Questions like ‘What do real estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?’ or ‘What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?’. Through their revolutionary and frankly, quite interesting descriptions of these real world happenings, they grip the reader’s attention and never let go. You realize how economics is at the heart of everything and ties up seemingly bizarre happenings together. It covers a wide range of topics, parenting, crime, politics, cheating and traffic jams. It opens the reader to a world of economic reasoning and helps him see connections that were invisible to him before this book came in.
- What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
The author, Michael Sandel, a Harvard economist, builds a phenomenal case against the conventional notion that economics is separate from our daily lives and is restricted to a market that deals with stocks, bonds and loans. He elaborates, with examples around the world, how money and monetary incentives have taken over personal spheres too. How for a few dollars you can avail a service that apologizes to your wife for cheating on her or writes you a personal speech for a wedding toast. There is message in the book that tells us to be careful of the power of markets and warns us to draw a line. He explains each case of markets entering our private domain on the principles of fairness and corruption. This book makes you think twice before you make any shortcuts in life using money.
- The Undercover Economist
Tim Harford covers the same idea that is covered in Freakonomics, yet his case studies are very different. He is not intent on making bizarre connections between school teachers and sumo wrestlers, but undertakes issues that he feels everyone should know in their daily lives. Questions about the gap between poor and rich countries, the inability to find good-quality used cars, and highlight multiple money-making strategies by profit-making companies. With painstaking detail he explains relevant problems and their solutions, something that most people wonder about. Of course his answers have a deep economic perspective and they assimilate information from around the world. Through his explanations, he teachers the reader about various economic concepts like market power, price gouging, efficiency, game theory, market failure and scarce resources. This books throws an interesting twist to the otherwise boring world of textbook economics.
- Discover You Inner Economist: Use Incentives To Fall In Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, And Motivate Your Dentist
This book does not simply cover the science of economics, but throws in the principles of psychology to explain so many occurrences in our lives. The book is full of gripping stories and well thought out rationale from these two widely different fields of science. The author answers several important questions about marriage, tardiness, drinking, giving gifts, shopping and eating. This gives readers a whole new perspective on things around them and opens their mind to critical thinking. The author, Tyler Cowen, also covers interesting and quirky topics like pickup lines, toilet seat positions, recognizing liars, parking violations by UN diplomats, petty crimes, doing dishes and bonuses in the office. This eclectic book has a fine mix of regular and not-so-regular queries that people like you and me have real-life incidents. It gives us reasons and examples in light and friendly words so that the reasoning stays with us long after we have kept the book down.