Speaking of good books, here are a few other books I've read semi-recently that I can highly recommend: 1. Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millenium, by Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke (2007). A truly masterful work. It's exhaustively researched, and not for the faint of heart (it's 546 pages long, and has a 45-page bibliography), but absolutely worth it in the end. What Friedman and Schwartz's A Monetary History of the United States was for U.S. monetary policy, this book is for international trade. 2. One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economc Growth, by Dani Rodrik (2007). Rodrik has been my favorite economist since graduate school, so I had already read all the papers on which this book's chapters are based. But they were updated and edited (some more significantly than others) in order to present a unified and powerful argument. I still maintain that Rodrik's brand of dispassionate and clear-eyed empiricism is the standard to which all economists should aspire. Rodrik's work is sometimes portrayed as challenging neoclassical economic principles, but if you read the book, I think you'll find that nothing could be further from the truth. To wit, from the introduction:
As I will argue in the chapters to come, the tendency of many economists to offer advice based on simple rules of thumb, regardless of context (privatize this, liberalize that), is a derogation rather than a proper application of neoclassical economic principles.3. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein (2007). I've never been a big fan of Sunstein (crazy overrated, especially in law schools), but I really liked this book. You can't say this about many books anymore, but it's truly original. The first 100 pages or so, where the authors lay out their case for "libertarian paternalism," is perhaps the most enjoyable hundred pages I've read in quite a while.