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Economics Book Club

Virtual Book Club Announced

The first of New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof's "Four Secrets of Success" involves taking a class in economics.

According to Kristof, "Education isn’t about filling a bucket but about gaining a tool belt," and economics offers "terrific tools that for the rest of your life will help you analyze problems in more rigorous ways."

With that in mind--and given the current need to maintain physical distancing--we wanted to offer a convenient, yet hands-on, way of seeing how various economists have used the "terrific tools" of economics to generate insight into real-world problems. 

Starting SOON, the Economics Department at CSUSB is going to host a VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB. The book club will be open to all those who would like to familiarize themselves with some good ol’ economics!

We have carefully curated a list of books which will cater to your needs of learning about topics from health care to poverty to happiness to..., we have got it all! 

Following is the list of suggested books (the list will be updated as we receive feedback from our participants):

  • Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to our Biggest Problems by Esther Duflo and Abhijeet Banerjee
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions by Dan Ariely
  • Soccernomics 2018 World Cup Edition by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski    
  • Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story About Women and Economics by Katrine Marçal 

The book club will take off in June and will go until the end of online learning (and possibly after that as well--stay tuned!).

This book club will introduce you to economics at a colloquial level and will also help you develop new habits and skills such as public speaking and critical reasoning. At the very least, you will learn new facts that you can use to have more intellectually stimulating conversations with people around you.

So if you've been meaning to get back into reading, here’s your chance! 


  • How often does the club meet?
    • We will meet once every two weeks and discuss a book. 
  • Where do we meet?
    • Respecting the need to maintain physical distancing, we will meet online on Zoom until we can go back to campus. Then, if we receive great participation, we will move to in-person meetings on campus. 
  • What is the structure of the meetings/sessions?
    • Every session will be an open discussion, where we’ll discuss the major aspects of what we learned--summary, critiques--basically, the good, the bad, & the ugly.
    • Once that’s out of the way, we’ll open the floor for questions that you may have had while reading the book and would like to seek answers to, this could be an economic concept or putting a quote that stood out to you or a topic into a bigger perspective.
    • Anyone from the session can answer the questions. For the first few sessions, a faculty member would moderate the discussion but with time, anyone can sign up to lead the way! 
  • Who can attend/join?
    • We would love to receive participation from students, staff, faculty across all disciplines regardless of the students’ academic standing. 
  • Are these the only books we will read?
    • The list has been carefully curated based on initial interest expressed by students in introductory economics classes. Depending on the evolving tastes of the group, we can choose to elect a different book and discuss it. 
  • Is it mandatory?
    • Absolutely not, this is completely voluntary! But we highly recommend that you join in and participate--even if to just listen! 
  • Do I have to be an Econ major/minor?
    • Not at all, it’s open to everyone!