What are some good books on economics for a beginner?
September 23, 2019 9:23 AM   Subscribe

I am wanting to learn more about economics. I am currently minoring in political science (4th Year undergraduate student). Yet, I am terrible at maths -- the maths aspect might be difficult to understand.

Are there any good economics books for those who have difficulty with maths? I am wanting to learn more about the political economy, trade, and how capitalism works. I thought that reading a good beginners-friendly book on economics might help. (I am wanting to take a microeconomics and macroeconomics course as well in the future for graduate school).
posted by RearWindow to Education (8 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, read Economix Comix! It is a graphic novel about how capitalism works, and has no maths!
posted by cushie at 9:34 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide
posted by Catseye at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Perhaps Money: The Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin
posted by Sunburnt at 10:38 AM on September 23, 2019

I highly recommend Economics for Everyone, by Jim Stanford. He's an economist who works for the Canadian Auto Workers union (Canadian equivalent of the UAW). This book isn't a traditional textbook with equations for supply and demand, etc. Here's a quote from the website:

Economics for Everyone is an antidote to the confusing and ideological way that economics is normally taught and reported. Stanford argues that economics is usually presented in a needlessly abstract and technical manner, but in reality anyone who works and struggles to balance their chequebook is an expert on the “economics of everyday life.” Chapters explain the basic working of the capitalist economy, later adding more complete descriptions of the financial industry, the natural environment, government, and globalization. The book concludes with a thorough evaluation and critique of existing capitalism, and presents ideas for changing it.
One big takeaway from the book that I really appreciated is this: economics pretends to be neutral and descriptive, but it really isn't. Economics reflects the views of economists, who, by and large, benefit from the existing economic order and have an interest in preserving it.

Beyond that, the book is very readable and understandable. Great examples, not many equations (if any -- I can't recall and don't have my copy handy), and well-written in general.
posted by number9dream at 11:26 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Tim Harford is a master expositor, I highly recommend The Undercover Economist and The Undercover Economist Strikes Back.
posted by HoraceH at 12:09 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

"Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality" is a good antidote to the "assume a perfectly informed consumer" over-simplifications of most introductory economics textbooks. It's also very well written and informative.
posted by monotreme at 5:54 PM on September 23, 2019

New Ideas from Dead Economists by Todd G. Buchholz is a history of economics which does a good job of explaining how old theories apply to the modern economy.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:45 PM on September 23, 2019

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