Economics Explained by Robert Heilbroner and Lester Thurow

I said I wouldn’t read any more non-fiction because it’s so hard for me to get through, but Mr. Money Mustache recommended this one as an easy-to-read but thorough primer, and I figured that if I want to plan for early retirement it would be good to know the basics. Plus Mr. Money Mustache wants to punch people in the face for making bad financial decisions, and I do too.

I don’t know anything about economics as a whole, and yet that hasn’t stopped me from investing in the stock market. I learned from an investing course that most professional traders are in the same boat – if you watch financial news on TV long enough, you’ll realize that all the jargon investors spout that sounds like nothing … actually is nothing. Despite the company, that’s not a boat I want to be in.

If what you know about economics is that “it’s about money”, and if you know what GDP stands for but not what it involves (and doesn’t involve), and you know that we live in a capitalist society but couldn’t really say what that means, this book will fill in the gaps and plug the holes in your boat.

In a very straightforward, easy to understand, no previous knowledge and no math kind of way, the authors follow the money that is in your hand on its entire life cycle: from what printing money means for an economy, to how businesses get started with capital, to how workers get paid, to the different effects their money has when they spend it vs saving it. There are some huge puzzle pieces here – involving governments, businesses, households, and other countries – and they make a very satisfying click when they come together.

We’re all affected by money, but we’re not all very effective with our money. This book won’t necessarily make you a good investor, but if you’re tired of economics being an uncontrolled force in your life instead of an understood occurrence, you don’t need to read anything else but this to become a more informed member of society.



An engaging primer that combines the wealth of information of a textbook with a readability rarely found in textbooks. In this straightforward, highly accessible reference, two of America’s most respected and articulate economists illuminate the vital concerns, trends, and challenges of the marketplace: the threat of inflation, the unleashing of technology, the illusion of money, the thrust of big business, the cost of monopoly. Here is all the economics essential for becoming an effective investor, a savvy business decision maker, or simply an informed member of society.