The primer I have enjoyed most, the one I would recommend to a friend who wanted to learn how economists think about the world right now, is one that passed almost completely unnoticed into the stream, perhaps because it is so slight. But then, that is the point of Economics: A Very Short Introduction, by Partha Dasgupta, the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at Cambridge University. He boils down everything that’s ordinarily included in a thousand-page introductory text, and more, to 160 graceful but undersized pages.
Along the way, there is also a discussion of the other, more popular introductory economics books (and, their shortcomings), reasons as to why Partha Dasgupta is ideally suited for writing such an introduction, and how Dasgupta’s primer is the ideal one:
It’s good that people are reading economics primers, good too that a genre now exists apart from those lugubrious (but necessary) texts. Yet economics is so obviously incomplete, even in its own terms, as a way of understanding the world, that the less cocksure are its expositors in their pronouncements, the better. I wish more people would read Dasgupta’s book, and I wish that more economists would write variations on its theme. It is a model specimen.
Sounds interesting; take a look!
PS: The Very Short Introduction series is available in India too (and, if I remember correctly, is not very costly either). So, here is a volume which might be worth buying.