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Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

Thomas Sowell · 3 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
Basic Economics is a citizen's guide to economics-for those who want to understand how the economy works but have no interest in jargon or equations. Sowell reveals the general principles behind any kind of economy-capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on. In readable language, he shows how to critique economic policies in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the goals they proclaim. With clear explanations of the entire field, from rent control and the rise and fall of businesses to the international balance of payments, this is the first book for anyone who wishes to understand how the economy functions.
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Basic Economics - Thomas Sowell
^ Not this one. Mankiw is already ideological enough, Sowell and Hazlitt should be stayed far away from. The real answer to the above commenter is that you can't, not really. You can put a lot of work into understanding Mankiw and then you go to econ grad school and learn all the caveats and how much of it is basically wrong. Economists themselves barely understand the economy and they spent years and decades getting to 'barely.' A layman is basically incapable.

In that sense maybe I'm wrong and maybe Sowell is the good choice, just decide your ideological viewpoint on the economy now, read enough to defend your viewpoints to other laymen and let that be that.

Here's another vote for Basic Economics. It's a great (and fairly thorough) overview, written in a down-to-earth manner. Lots of real-life examples are used to explain basic economic principles, making this subject understandable and even enjoyable (for me, at least).

Here is a direct link to it on Amazon (reviewers here gave it high ratings as well):

May 04, 2008 · elidourado on Good book for economics
Current econ PhD student here. Sowell is great. There's a 3rd edition out now.

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