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Hi everyone, I am set to start an Economics course at University in the coming months, and was wondering if anyone could recommend me some literature (ideally a book) with an up to date theme, or I guess fresh take-in light of current events-on the topic.

The reason for my quest is that lately when reading Economic and Science articles on various issues related to the economy and recent global crisis, a common theme I keep seeing is that many of the models in Economics are out of date or imperfect, and need to be updated with the latest scientific ideas regarding psychology, communication, etc. An example with my limited understanding of the topic is the premise that each individual is perfectly rationale, etc.

What I want from this book is a general understanding of the modern thoughts on Economics, which I can 'keep in the back of my mind' when learning the subject at University, to possibly shape or prevent old ideas becoming 'ingrained' into my economic though processes. If this sounds like wishful thinking, at the very least I hope to be better prepared when study time does come around!

Thank you,
Ben

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start at the beginning i suppose

Adam Smith - An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
I agree - Adam Smith is probably a bit too heavy at the moment... you could try these:

Milton Friedman - Free to Choose, Capitalism and Freedom
Krugman - Return of Depression Economics
Hayek - The Road to Serfdom

There are lots of other forms of media that you could explore too - my favourite at the moment are Podcasts (from LSE/EconTalk) - check them out, you can't go wrong... they're free!
Economics books for leisure (most of them related to applied microeconomics):

- Freakonomics (Levitt)
- Armchair economist (Landsburg)
- Undercover econmist (Harford)
- The Economic Naturalist (Frank)

For spare time...enjoy them!!!

Raul
Freakonomics is definitely a better choice for the moment than Smith. Smith might be a bit too much for the beginning.
While I think it is fantastic that you are seeking to get an understanding of the wider picture and I certainly would not discourage you in studying to any degree Nothing beats the experience of hands on work.
Let me just say that by not having a degree and the confidence that comes with it probably cost me 30k a year until i recently rectified that -so in no way am i belittling the value of education.
One alarming aspect I experienced in my studies however was that i was being tutoured by people with a Phd who have no work experience whatsoever - as an FX /MM trader ther lack off practical hands on experience was apparent - this alarmed me so much that it has inspired me to change my degree so I can impart my knowledge. I hope this does not sound overly negative because Economics is such a fantastic subject that impacts on every area of ones life- however the sexiness can on occasions, in my opinion get bogged down in a whole bunch of common sense bullshit- which dulls once senses on what is a fantastic and rewarding career.

Good Luck Mate

Richy
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/

the nobel prize lectures are good places to start as they involve the academics themselves explaining the ideas, where they came from, what went before/after and how they fit into the overall context of economics

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