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Head Start Reading and Watching for A Level Economics

Geoff Riley

5th July 2021

Here are some suggestions for reading and wider preparation to give you a head start in your A Level Economics studies.

The Economics of Ideas

Tim Harford’s double publication Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy (volumes 1 and 2) is an excellent read, always full of interest and with snappy, concise, short chapters that you can either dip into or read as one. You’ll get a real sense of what drive innovation in modern economies and crucially, where good ideas come from (often drawn from counter-intuitive thinking!)

Please use independent bookshops whenever you can, but in case of need, here are the Amazon links:

Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy (2018)

The Next Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy (2020)

Brief History of Economic Thought

Probably the best and most accessible book is Linda Yueh’s book The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today (2018)

The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today:


I am a big fan of Michael Lewis and you might want to dip into some of his most famous works including:

The Big Short (watch the film too!)

Moneyball (Awesome summer movie!)

The Fifth Estate (especially good for US Politics students)

Premonition (his latest 2021 book on the pandemic)

Find them all here


BBC World Service - Business Daily (Superb)

Economics in Ten Podcast:

Planet Money Podcast:

Online courses:

The tutor2u catch-up course was developed during lockdown and is designed to help Year 12 students (C block) through many of the key introductory topics - here is the link to follow:

Our You Tube Channel is packed full of short videos on key topics and hopefully the playlists will guys you through lots of useful material

You can find the channel here

I post regularly on the Economics blog too: along with a number of other teachers and journalists

More reading?

I would also recommend:

Doughnut Economics (Kate Raworth)

Good Economics for Hard Times (Banerjee and Duflo)

Daniel Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Slow)

The Power of Geography (Tim Marshall)

Most important of all

The key is to read the newspapers including online versions of the FT and Economist and become accustomed to reading articles written for the intelligent and curious observer who wants to know more about their fast-changing world.

Read, watch and maybe consider starting your own blog or podcast about issues of interest

Have a great summer and enjoy your economics

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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