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The Richest People
Interesting Econ Books
Did you know that Erie-area governments and businesses issued their own money in the past? Here are some examples. Click on the name to see the note.
The authority for obsolete Pennsylvania bank notes is: Richard T. Hoober, Pennsylvania Obsolete Notes and Scrip. The Society of Paper Money Collectors, Inc., 1985.
Want to know more about your favorite economist—or see what s/he really looked like?
There are a lot of songs out there that specifically focus on or incorporate economic issues, but the public at large seems to be unaware of the underlying themes. Here are a few—along with an economist’s interpretation of what they’re really about. The links will take you to the lyrics of the songs, or to a page with info about the artist and/or song. Caution: some of these lyrics are a little rough, especially in the rap category. Just remember, they’re not ours! Another caution: not all of the economic analysis here is what you’d call orthodox. (Suggestions for other songs and/or interpretations welcome! Send ‘em to Jim Kurre at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Returning Vietnam vets often came home to hard economic times. This time it was the refinery that didn’t have any jobs. Did the end of the war mean a decrease in fiscal stimulus just as the labor supply was increased by the returning soldiers?
Jevons, Marshall. Murder at the Margin. Glen Ridge, N.J.: Thos. Horton, 1978. An economics professor on vacation uses principles of economics to solve a murder; a mixture of Columbo and Milton Friedman. Entertaining, and easy reading. Intended to be used as a supplement to Intro Econ courses, as probably are all the books in this section.
Jevons, Marshall. A Deadly Indifference. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1995.
Roberts, Russell. The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection, 3rd edition. Prentice-all, 2005.
Roberts, Russell. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance. Cambridge MA : The MIT Press, 2001.
Wolfson, Murray and Vincent Buranelli. In the Long Run We Are All Dead. New York : St. Martin 's Press, 1984. A macroeconomics murder mystery, taking its title from a famous quote by J. M. Keynes (who is dead, by the way).Non-Fiction
Armstrong, Fred C. The Business of Economics. St. Paul : West Publishing Co., 1986.
Lots of interesting little nitty-gritty details on how the economy and businesses function.
Barro, Robert J. Getting It Right: Markets and Choices in a Free Society. Cambridge , MA : The MIT Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-262-02408-X (HB), 0-262-52226-8 (PB) Short essays on many current issues, from the perspective of the “right.” Many are thought-provoking, even if you don't agree.
Buchholz, Todd G. From Here to Economy: A Shortcut to Economic Literacy. New York : Penguin Books USA Inc., 1995. A very readable, seat-of-the-pants explanation of economic basics, full of examples and humorous anecdotes.
Buchholz, Todd G. New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought. Penguin, 1999. ISBN: 0452280524. A very interesting and entertaining look at the history and evolution of economic ideas.
Clayton, Gary E. and Giesbrecht, Martin Gerhard. A Guide to Everyday Economic Statistics, 6th edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2004. ISBN: 0-07-287329-9. A brief book that gives short synopses of most of the important economic measures, such as output, investment and capital, employment, income, sales, profits, prices, money, interest rates, the financial markets, and foreign exchange.
Coyle, Diane. Sex, Drugs & Economics: An Unconventional Introduction to Economics. Thomson: 2004. Another “let's apply econ to everyday life” book. Unfortunately, it's not as exciting as that clever title. Still, there are some very interesting and thought provoking issues covered.
Easterbrook, Gregg. The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. Random House, 2003. Easterbrook presents statistics on how life has gotten better in many important ways, yet people tend to focus on the negatives.
Florida, Richard. The Rise of the Creative Class. New York : Basic Books, 2002. ISBN: 0-465-02477-7. Carnegie Mellon prof Florida describes how the creative class plays a key role in economic development, through “talent, technology and tolerance.” According to Florida, in order to attract creative people, a place must provide high-quality amenities, diversity of all kinds, and opportunities for “bohemian lifestyles”, and the government must invest in creative capital such as research and development, education and the arts.
Friedman, David. Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life. HarperBusiness: 1996. ISBN 0-88730-885-6 Interesting, broad and clever. A little more sophisticated in its economic analysis.
Friedman, Milton and Rose. Free to Choose. New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. ISBN 0-15-133481-1. This Nobel-prize winning economist and his economist wife discuss economics, politics, the role of government, and many other topics in a very understandable way. Friedman is probably THE most noted—and tenacious--free market advocate. This book accompanied the TV series of the same name, produced by Erie 's own WQLN.
Hammermesh, Daniel S. Economics Is Everywhere. 2nd edition. McGrawHill-Irwin, 2006. ISBN 0-07-285143-0. 400 vignettes from everyday life, each involving a principle of economics. This one has more questions than answers, though, since it's apparently intended to be used to provoke discussion in Intro Economics courses.
Harford, Tim. The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich are Rich, the Poor are Poor—and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car! Oxford University Press: 2006. This is the Intro Economics class disguised in an interesting and readable format. It'll make you think!
Garson, Barbara. Money Makes the World Go Round. Penguin Books, 2002. ISBN 0142000507. Barbara Garson begins by depositing a modest sum in a one-branch bank. With a second sum, she buys shares in an aggressive mutual fund. From these points of departure, she tracks her money's every stop as it races around the globe. Along the way she talks to people who touch, use, and are used by her money. The book provides a useful way to understand many of the forces of "globalization," but without abstract or technical explanations.
Johnson, David B. The Black Book of Economic Information: A Guide to Sources and Interpretation. Sun Lakes , AZ : Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1996. ISBN: 0-091 3878-56-1. Need some background but don't want to wade through your old college textbook? Here's a useful source.
Krugman, Paul. Pop Internationalism. Cambridge, MA : The MIT Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-262-11210-8 (HB) 0-262-61133-3 (PB). Krugman is a (relatively) young, award-winning Econ star. He believes that Econ should be understandable to the intelligent person on the street, so that s/he can make better decisions both individually and at election time. This book and others that he has authored follow that idea.
Landsburg, Steven. The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Experience. Free Press: 1995. The Library Journal says: “Landsburg demonstrates the economist's way of thinking about everyday occurrences. The result is a compilation of questions ranging from why popcorn costs so much at movie theaters and why rock concerts sell out to why laws against polygamy are detrimental to women. Many of the issues raised are controversial and even somewhat humorous, but they are clearly explained only from an economic perspective as opposed to other dynamics of human behavior. There are also clear explanations of the misconceptions about unemployment rates, measures of inflation, and interest rates. The book is not a textbook but shows how one economist solves puzzling questions that occur in daily living.”
Levitt, Stephen D. and Dubner, Stephen J. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. William Morrow, HarperCollins Publishers. 2005. Here's an interesting book (and best seller!) that will give you a different perspective on everyday things. Levitt is the winner of the John Bates Clark medal (best economist under the age of 40), and Dubner is the NY Times and New Yorker writer who makes it all sound more interesting (as if Econ needs any help to be interesting!)
Marche, G.E. Murder as a Business Decision, (An Economic Analysis of Criminal Phenomena.) 2nd edition. ISBN: 0-7618-2398-0. We don't know if this book is any good or not, but we loved the title! Wonder if it's in Martha Stewart's library?
Miller, Roger LeRoy; Benjamin, Daniel K.; and North, Douglass C. The Economics of Public Issues. 13th edition. Addison Wesley: 2003. This is one of the original books in this “let's apply Econ to a bunch of interesting stuff” genre. Although intended as a supplement for Intro Econ courses, it's still a good read!
Moore, Stephen and Simon, Julian L. It's Getting Better All the Time: Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years. If all the gloom and doom of the headlines is getting you down, pick up this book. It'll help you focus on all the good stuff that has been happening, everything from the increases in health, education and housing to decreases in racism and expansion of natural resource availability. Who says Econ is a dismal science?
Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. New York : Basic Books, 2000.
Stossel, John. Give Me A Break. New York : Harper/Collins, 2004. ABC's 20/20 co-anchor talks about his trip from crusading consumer reporter and fan of government to a believer in the power of the free market to solve many of our problems—if we let it.
Stutely, Richard. The Economist Numbers Guide: The Essentials of Business Numeracy. Wiley, 1998.
Tufte, Edward R. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire CT : Graphics Press, 1983.
Watts, Michael. The Literary Book of Economics: Including Readings from Literature and Drama on Economic Concepts, Issues, and Themes. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2003. ISBN: 1932236023. This book shows how economics or economic analysis has been actually quite pervasive in many important and well-know works of literature. For example, the editor explains how Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" illustrates opportunity costs, how "Pareto efficiency" crops up in the book "Catch-22," etc.
Wheelan, Charles. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. W.W. Norton, 2002. ISBN: 0-393-04982-5. This is “Econ 101” in a readable form, discussing issues such as choices, incentives, tradeoffs, prices, costs, the economics of information, environmental problems, health care, risk and safety, inflation and unemployment. Gets the prize for “Econ book with the most provocative title.”
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