Typically, those of you who ask us for preparatory reading have a number of different needs in mind, so we group our recommendations under headings that correspond to the most frequently asked questions:
Don't be daunted by the number that we recommend. Not all of you will be asking the same questions. We don't require you to read everything; we expect you to be sensible and choose what matches your individual needs and interests.
If you want to know more about what economics as a discipline is about and where it can lead, there are some easily accessible sources that can be read with equal interest and pleasure by graduate economists and readers who know no economics at all.
- Dixit, A and Nalebuff, B. 1991. Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics and Every Day Life.
- Harford, T. 2005. The Undercover Economist. Oxford University Press.
- Levitt, S and Dubner, S. 2005. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. HarperCollins.
- Mlodinow, L. 2008. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. Pantheon.
The absolute classic is Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations; though this may be heavy going it is definitely worth dipping into. We also recommend Thomas Pikety's Capital in the Twenty-first Century. We also strongly recommend reading The Economist magazine regularly both before and after coming to Warwick. In terms of websites, we recommend The Art of Strategy, by two top Economists; Professor Avinash Dixit, Princeton University (and former Warwick Economics Professor and Head of Department) and Professor Barry Nalebuff, Yale, as well as the inspirational lecture delivered by Christine Lagarde from the IMF for the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby lecture series, delivered in February 2014.
To state the obvious: not like any of the above. If you want to know more about what economics will be like to study in your first year at Warwick then you probably want to have a look at some textbooks; but don't buy these books. Borrow them from a library or browse them in a bookshop. For students starting Economics or Economics and Industrial Organisation:
- N.G. Mankiw. 2016. Macroeconomics (6th edition), Worth Publishers.
- R. Frank. 2015. Microeconomics and Behaviour (9th edition), McGraw-Hill.
For students starting LM1D Economics, Politics, & International Studies and LV00 Philosophy, Politics and Economics: (Students on EPAIS and PPE degrees should also consult the equivalent information in the Politics and Philosophy Departments):
- N.G. Mankiw and M.P. Taylor. 2017. Economics (4th edition), Cengage.
- D. Besanko and R. Braeutigam. 2014. Microeconomics (5th edition), Wiley.
- O.Blanchard, A. Amighini and F. Giavazzi. 2017. Macroeconomics, European Perspective (3rd edition), Pearson.
If you have not passed A-level Mathematics (or equivalent, e.g. IB) you will be taking the modules EC121 Mathematical Techniques A and EC122 Statistical Techniques A in your first year as part of a degree course other than single honours Economics. These modules will teach you all the maths and stats you need to know and they assume only a basic knowledge. However, mathematics is very like a language and if you have not used it since taking GCSE (or O-level) you will be very rusty and without some preparation, you may struggle. It is therefore essential to brush up your mathematics in general and your elementary algebra in particular. If you do not do so you may not pass the early tests (which count towards your result in this module) and you will experience unnecessary difficulty in mastering a module which is an essential requirement of the degree course. You will be given intensive instruction and practice during the first three or four weeks, but you will find it much easier to prepare beforehand. Stats is less of a problem because this will happen in the Term 2– but why not revise your GCSE stats too? You are strongly recommended to start your revision now. For the revision of basic algebra, any GCSE (Higher Level) textbook will be useful, although Part 1 (chapters 1 to 5) of Renshaw, Geoff. 2016. Maths for Economics, Oxford University Press (4th edition) also covers the required topics, and will be a textbook for module EC121. You should aim to be familiar with the following topics before you arrive:
- Rules for manipulating algebraic expressions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division including algebraic fractions and powers.
- Expansion of binomial expressions.
- Linear equations in one variable.
- Simultaneous linear equations in two variables.
- Graphs of linear equations.
- Graphical solutions of linear equations.
- Descriptive statistics: mean, standard deviation, histograms, plotting data.
Studying at university is necessarily a challenging experience, but there are now many useful books which can help you to improve your study skills, for example:
- Cottrell, Stella. 2013. The Study Skills Handbook (4th edition), Palgrave Macmillan (Print Book).
- Burns, Tom & Sinfield, Sandra. 2016. Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University (4th edition), SAGE Publications Ltd. (Print Book).
- Gribben, Monica. c2012. The Study Skills Toolkit for Students with Dyslexia, SAGE Publications Ltd. (Print Book).
- Moore, Sarah et al. 2010. The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook, McGraw-Hill/Open University Press (E-Book).