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Best Economics Textbooks Reviews

Economics: Principles, Problems, & Policies
(McGraw-Hill Series in Economics) - Standalone book 20th Edition
Economics: Principles in Action
Student Edition, November 1, 2005
Economics: Principles and Policy
(MindTap Course List) 13th Edition

Best economics textbooks

Studying economics is not the easiest thing in the world, but if you wish to pursue it, then good for you. It is an essential part of our society and looking at our economy today, let’s just say that we need people who know economics in-depth. However, everything starts with a simple economics textbook. You need a reliable source of information from which you can draw knowledge about principles, problems, and policies. For that reason, you need to buy the best economics textbook you can find. That is if you are determined to learn everything there is to know on the subject.

Rental vs. purchase

We have to admit that textbooks are not cheap. In fact, some of them are very expensive and have students working just so that they can afford them. That is why the idea of rental sounds good to many of them. However, while there are pros and cons on both sides, I think that buying an economics textbook is better than renting one. Here is why:

  • Purchases are always available – you can find plenty of sources from where you can borrow an economics textbook, but the same idea you had about renting crosses the minds of hundreds if not thousands of students. That is why, at some point, it is challenging to find what you need or what you want. Maybe you have a particular author in mind, or perhaps you need a more complex book than the ones available for rental. What are your choices? You can buy, of course. I am not saying that the book you want is cheap, but we all make sacrifices for the things we need, and textbooks are a pretty important aspect of your college life, isn’t it?
  • It is cheaper in the long run – every single person who rents a book instead of purchasing gets very excited about the fact that he or she is spending less than if they buy. But that is valid only for a while. You may be paying a little in the short run, but in the long term, you can buy the book with that money and have some spare change. It is a strategy, I know, and it may seem a more affordable thing to do, but you will not be left with the book at the end of your ‘lease.’
  • You get to have your own economics textbook – when you rent, you need to take care of that book as if it were your most prized possession. It is not a bad thing to take care of a book, but you know how it is. You may want to make some notes, you may want to highlight when you study for your terms, and so on. You cannot do that with a rental. Maybe you do not find that an impediment, but I used to be a college student, and highlighting would help me a lot.
  • You can resell it after you use it – if you do not need it anymore, you can always resell the economics textbook. There are a lot of people who buy second-hand books, and if you take care of it properly, you can get a part of your money back. Some students have no problem with buying a book that has already been highlighted, and the notes you make on the margins can be useful. Reselling is a common practice, and I do not see why you cannot do it as well.

The most important thing about buying your very own economics textbook is that you get to keep it. If you are really passionate about economics, surely you will need it in the future for various things. Nobody is expecting you to memorize it.

How to choose the best economics textbook?

I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing that there are so many economics textbooks on the market. On one hand, you have where to choose from, which may sound good, but on the other, not all of them are worth buying. Sure, you can find a 20$ textbook, but it may be incomplete, and the author may have a questionable experience in economics. After all, you need to learn from the best. With that in mind, here is what you should consider when looking for the best economics textbook:

  • Author – we all know that it matters a great deal who wrote the book. That is why it would be best if you read about the author before buying his book. Check to see what his or her experience is in the field, and make sure that he is a good teacher. After all, you can be excellent at economics, but if you do not have the gift of teaching, you cannot be of very much help. The ability to explain things in such a manner that anyone can understand is a highly valued skill, and that is what you should look for in an author.
  • Level – not all economics books are meant for the same level of study. If you are a minor in economics or if you want to learn some economics 101, then you should not buy the same textbook as a person who is majoring in economics. You would not want to know as much. In fact, you do not need to know as much. However, if you want a career in economics, then you need a complete collection of what economics is. The book needs to tackle every single piece of information available. I think you see where I am going with this.
  • Ranking – yes, it may seem silly, but wouldn’t you rather trust someone who has already bought a particular book than buying a random book that you think is right for you? In fact, that is how many people buy products, and not only textbooks. As long as there is someone out there who has already purchased a book you want to buy, and he or she is satisfied with the purchase, everything should work out just fine for you. Of course, you probably need hundreds of good reviews because not everyone is alike, but you see my point. Popularity may not be the first thing you think about, but it works just fine in this case.

What are the best economics textbooks?

Chances are that you still do not know which economics textbook you should buy, and trust me, I get it. There are just too many out there. That is why I want to help you. I browsed through a lot of books and did my research, and in the end, I came back with three excellent suggestions that I think you will like. They are from two different price ranges so that you can choose the one that you can afford, but they are both highly appreciated in the academic world. So I think that whichever of them you prefer, you will be satisfied with your purchase. Enjoy!

Economics: Principles, Problems, and Policies

Authors: Campbell R. McConnell, Stanley L. Brue, and Sean Masaki Flynn Dr.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Believe it or not, this book is in its 20th edition. That is because McConnell, Brue, and Flynn are names that have set high standards when it comes to high-quality content for teachers and students from all over the world. In fact, this is the most popular book in economics, and that is because the authors kept on innovating its content. I think that this book is what you are looking for, but let’s go on.

While the 19th edition focused on adaptive technology, among other things, and brought the idea of LearnSmart, the latest edition is meant to exceed that. Students get to learn more information in less time, which makes the learning process more efficient than it has ever been before. One of the things that lead to the book’s improvement was the feedback from both teachers and students, and as a result of analysis of student performance, the 20th edition promises to be better.

This book also expands upon the dynamic and super adaptive capabilities of LearnSmart. The authors will continue to improve their textbook, but for now, this is their best work. They provide leading content, which is only for the benefit of the students. While you can get a hardcopy of this book, you can also find it in e-textbook format or paperback. No matter which one you choose, the content is the same, so it is a matter of preference.

Economics: Principle in Action

Authors: Arthur O’Sullivan and Steven M. Sheffrin

Click here to buy on Amazon

The best thing about this book is its authors. Arthur O’Sullivan is a brilliant mind in economics. He is an economics professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, but he has a B.S. in economics from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University. That was back in 1981, but since then, he has shaped the minds of students at multiple universities: University of California, Davis, and Oregon State University. He has won awards for his activity, which is why his book is so popular these days.

One of the best things about this book is that it teaches economics in action, just like the title suggests. O’Sullivan focuses on economic issues regarding urban land use, environmental protection, and public policy, which are among the most important in economics.

The other author, Steven M. Sheffrin, is just as talented as O’Sullivan. He is dean of the division of social sciences and professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. However, he has also given lectures at Princeton, Oxford, and London School of Economics. Moreover, he was a financial economist with the Office of Tax Analysis of the United States Department of Treasury. He does not lack practical experience. The two highly acclaimed professors wrote one of the best economics books, which is why I think you will be satisfied with this one. This too can be bought in multiple formats.

Economics: Principles and Policies

Authors: Willaim J. Baumol and Alan S. Blinder

Click here to buy on Amazon

Last but not least, Economics: Principles and Policies is the best textbook you can buy if you have no experience in economics whatsoever. It provides a solid introduction, and in the end, you will master the principles of economics. You will also be able to understand the dynamics of today’s society from an economic standpoint.  The book is filled with policy-based examples, which will help you along the way.

This book is in its 13th edition and is written by two of the world’s best economists. They improved the previous editions by adding things that apply today, in the modern society. Since society is dynamic, it only makes sense that economics should be as well. The two authors are excellent at explaining concepts, and their attention to detail will turn you into a highly-skilled economist.

The book tackles various principles, and the 13th edition has a new chapter that is about economic leadership in the US, as well as the prospects of the country. The prospects are analyzed according to weaknesses and strengths in critical areas like healthcare, education, inequality, productivity, innovation, trade, deficit, and climate change. Also, the well-thought examples and puzzles provide an excellent balance of theory to application.

My recommendation

While all three books are excellent options, I think I will go with the Economics: Principle in Action. The highly esteemed authors and the fact that they explain economics using so many examples makes me believe this is one of the best economics textbooks you can buy. After all, what better way to learn something than through the power of example?


Economics is a dynamic field, but that does not mean you cannot learn its rhythm. It may be challenging, and you may confront with a few issues along the way, but in the end, an excellent textbook will help you overcome those challenges. All of the books above are up to the task. Click here to buy on Amazon

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