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A Dismal Quest

I am looking for a good introductory book on economics to teach myself the basics of this dismal science. From the little I know about it, I have come to realise how important it is in helping one make sense of much that happens in the modern world. I am looking for a book that systematically provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles of macro-economics and micro-economics.

The most popular text for this purpose, till recent times, seems to be "Economics" by Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus. However, N. Gregory Mankiw's "Principles of Economics" seems to be becoming increasingly popular these days. Fortunately for me, both of these books are available in cheap Indian editions. I flipped through the pages of these books in a bookshop and I must say that Prof. Mankiw's book looks far more approachable to a layman.

I notice that Paul Krugman has also come out with such a book titled "Economics", though I couldn't locate an Indian edition for the book. There are also freely-available economics text-books published on-line like "Introduction to Economic Analysis" by R. Preston McAfee (an "open-source book") and "Principles of Economics" by Timothy Taylor (an advertisement-supported book). I do not like reading lots of text on the computer screen and I cannot order the "dead-tree" versions of these books until I know for sure that they really are better than the more popular alternatives (viz. the books by Prof. Samuelson and Prof. Mankiw).

I would like to ask those of you who are more knowledgeable in economics: what book would you recommend for this purpose?


  1. I read a book by Bimal Jalan that was good. I don't remember the title now.

  2. Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson is a great book. Short, yet in-depth.


  3. Anonymous: I could only find books on Indian Economy by Bimal Jalan, not on Economics in general.

    drjones: Thanks for the recommendation. That book seems to have consistently earned a five-star rating on Amazon.com (20 reviews), but it (the 50th anniversary edition) doesn't seem to be directly available from Amazon.com itself. I couldn't find an Indian edition of the book, though the price in USD is cheap enough.

  4. Mankiw's book is the best on Macro I've read. There is also Abel & Bernanke's work (which is also available in an Indian edition) If you are serious about the study, you should start with Micro, since that is what supplies with the tools and frameworks for macro analysis. There are a number of OCW and other online courses on micro

  5. Siddharth: Thanks for your recommendations.

  6. Ranjit, I have Mankiw's book on Macroeconomics. Its simple and readable. I will pass it through Rohit Sah if you want.

  7. homer: Thanks, but I'm in no hurry to read the book - I have a truck-load of books to read before I get to that. :-(

    I'll just buy the book when the Indian reprint of the 4th edition of "Principles of Economics" appears here.

  8. Do you know how does the Indian edition of Samuelson's Economics differ from a US edition? I am in the US and would like to buy the Indian edition as it is considerably cheaper.

  9. toxicvirus: No, I don't.

    You ought to know that usually the Indian reprints carry a notice like "For sale in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan only". Usually the on-line retailers here refuse to ship it outside the country.


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