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Books to teach yourself the basics of economics - Martin - 03-01-2018

Want to teach yourself economics? Look no further, the 'very short introductions' series by the Oxford University Press offers a cost effective, excellent way to get introduced with a subject. There are hundreds of books on all types of subjects, but today I will suggest the best for teaching yourself the fundamentals of economics. All these introductions will be under ten hours in terms of reading time and usually sell for under £8. The books include a great list of further reading on each topic, which allows you to research further into the areas as you see fit. Economics is a crucial thing to understand in terms of your overall life skills and ability to understand personal finance. I find it has helped me drastically in understanding how the world works.

Economics: A very short introduction

Quote:Economics: A Very Short Introduction describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. It compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. This VSI shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions, along the way providing an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as: individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods.

The best place to start for teaching yourself the basics of economics is of course to start with the book for economics. The book gives a relatively decent overview of the basics of economics, if not from a development economics viewpoint. It is a good read and an excellent place to start.

Microeconomics: A very short introduction

Quote:Microeconomics — individuals' choices of where to live and work, how much to save, what to buy, and firms' decisions about location, hiring, firing, and investment — involves issues that concern us on a daily basis. But when people think about economics, they tend to place importance on the bigger picture — macroeconomics — including issues such as unemployment, inflation, and the competitiveness of nations. Microeconomics: A Very Short Introduction argues that the microeconomy has a large impact on the economic world. Using real-life examples from around the world, this VSI provides insights into economics from psychology and sociology to explain economic behaviour and rational choice.

Microeconomics is a huge field in economics, therefore it takes second place on this list of important reads. This book will introduce you to the basics of the market, consumers and more.

Game theory: A very short introduction

Quote:Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction provides insights into the games that are all around us. Game theory is about how to play such games in a rational way. Game theory has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionise other disciplines from psychology to political science. This Very Short Introduction introduces the fascinating world of game theory, showing how it can be understood without mathematical equations, and revealing that everything from how to play poker optimally to the sex ratio among bees can be understood by anyone willing to think seriously about the problem.

Game theory is a huge part of economics which is used for many economic models. It is of critical importance to understand what game theory is and how to apply it to real life situations.

Banking: A very short introduction

Quote:Banks are of central importance for economic growth, the allocation of capital, competitiveness, and financial stability. Propelled by technological advances in financial analysis and financial deregulation, the banking industry’s investment played a key role in enhancing national economic growth in the early 21st century. Banking: A Very Short Introduction explores the world of banking, describing the role of central banks in national and global economies, and analysing the increasing supervision and regulation imposed on the banking industry in light of the recent global financial crisis. Looking to the future, it considers proposals for reform of the banking industry, and the prospects of a resolution of the closely-related banking and sovereign debt crises.

This looks at a subsection of macroeconomics associated with the banking industry. The central banks are discussed in depth here and policy decisions from the central banks are mentioned. Well worth a read.

Global economic history: A very short introduction

Quote:Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction considers the wealth and economic history of countries worldwide. Why are some countries rich and others poor? The various factors that influence economic growth, including culture, globalisation, institutions, technology, the natural environment, income distribution, and the standard of living are discussed. From the industrial revolution in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, the range of processes and developments that have led to economic growth in Western Europe, North America, China, India, South America, and Africa are considered. Historical examples to show the strengths and weaknesses of state intervention in the economy are also used.

Famous economist Arthur Lewis argued that the problem with economists is that they do not take account of the history of the field. Therefore I highly recommend reading this book to get an understanding of how economics developed across the world.

Other paths of economics

The above books looks at the basics of a more traditional economics. The ones that follow are different fields that are separate to normal economics. They are worth reading regardless and provide different outlooks on economics.

Behavioural economics: A very short introduction

Quote:Behavioural Economics: A Very Short Introduction introduces the field of behavioural economics, analysing the motivations behind economic decisions and showing the relevance of behavioural economics to our own lives and everyday economic and financial problems. It explores the reasons why we make irrational decisions; how we decide quickly; why we make mistakes in risky situations; our tendency to procrastination and short-termism; and how we are affected by social influences, personality, mood, and emotions. The implications of understanding the rationale for our own financial behaviour are huge. Behavioural economics could help policy-makers to understand the people behind their policies, enabling them to design more effective policies, while also improving their marketing.

Behavioural economics looks at things as if people aren't rational actors, which is what traditional economics assumes. It is a branch of economics I find particularly interesting as it brings psychology into the discussion.

Environmental economics: A very short introduction

Quote:Environmental economics looks at how economic activity and policy affect the environment in which we live. Environmental Economics: A Very Short Introduction discusses environmental issues including pollution control, reducing environmental damage, and global climate change policies. If environmental protection is costly, how much should we spend on pollution control? Is it worth reducing pollution to zero, or should we accept some level of pollution because of the economic benefits associated with it? How can we assess the benefits that people get from a less-polluted atmosphere? Using many illustrative case studies and examples, answers to these questions are considered.

The environmental economics book looks at the question of the economy and the environment. It is a great read for those who question the impact we are having on our environment.

After reading these books you should have a very good understanding of the basics of economics which you can use to gain a better understanding of the function of the world. Economics is a fantastic subject because its teachings are things which we encounter on a daily basis and therefore learning about economics helps provide a greater understanding of the world we live in.

Abstracts from the very short introduction website.

Books to teach yourself the basics of economics - Daphney - 04-03-2018

Sounds interesting, I find the concept of economics quite interesting so I might check these out. Thanks for the share.