Economics

The Best Economics Books to Take on Holiday

recommended by Daniel Hamermesh

Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource by Daniel Hamermesh

Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource
by Daniel Hamermesh

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In this latest book, Spending Time, distinguished labour economist Daniel Hamermesh looks at how we spend time, our 'most valuable resource.' Here he suggests books worth spending your valuable time on this holiday, including an introductory economics textbook.

Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource by Daniel Hamermesh

Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource
by Daniel Hamermesh

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Daniel Hamermesh

Daniel Hamermesh is Distinguished Scholar, Barnard College, Professor Emeritus, Royal Holloway University of London, and Sue Killam Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. His research, published in nearly 100 refereed papers in scholarly journals, has concentrated on time use, labour demand, social programmes, academic labour markets and unusual applications of labour economics (to beauty, sleep and suicide). He is also a regular contributor to the Freakonomics blog.

Save for later

Economics, Daniel Hamermesh likes to point out, is not about money, but about scarcity. In this holiday reading list, he recommends allocating your scarce resources not only to books about economics, but also to books about immigration and history.

 

1. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese

This novel from a decade ago should be read by every American interested in immigration. While it deals with a lot of medical details, the essence of it is about urban life in developing countries and about the immigrant experience. It is both moving and thought-provoking.

 

 

 

2. In the Garden of the Beasts, by Erik Larson

At a time of increased danger of totalitarianism in the U.S., reading a history of an insider’s view of its growth in Germany in the 1930s gives a good perspective on our contemporary problems, as well as being fascinating history and biography in its own right.

 

 

 

3. Core Economics by the Core Economics team

You can’t take this book to the beach as a paperback, but you can download it. It represents a revolutionary approach to introductory economics that draws the reader into the subject. It is catching on widely and will affect economic thinking in the population as a whole for a long time.

 

4. The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert Heilbroner

The first edition of this book, which I read in high school (in 1960), got me to major in economics and devote my career to it. The book’s updated editions are just as good and give a good, not-popularized feel for what the major economic ideas are really about (and also a good feel for the people who created them).

 

5. Cribsheet, by Emily Oster

A bit of a cheat recommending this, since Emily’s parents, both economists, are old friends of mine. But the book is an easy-reading, but evidence-based guide for prospective and new parents.

 

 

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Daniel Hamermesh

Daniel Hamermesh is Distinguished Scholar, Barnard College, Professor Emeritus, Royal Holloway University of London, and Sue Killam Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. His research, published in nearly 100 refereed papers in scholarly journals, has concentrated on time use, labour demand, social programmes, academic labour markets and unusual applications of labour economics (to beauty, sleep and suicide). He is also a regular contributor to the Freakonomics blog.