How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, by Peter D. Schiff
Ever wonder why the U.S. economy is in such bad shape (despite government talking-head Pollyannas), why inflation never seems to end, and why we owe so much money to other countries? Maybe you also have a niggling feeling in the back of your mind that economics is often made out to be much more complex than it needs to be by the same TV pundits whose predictive track-records are (at best) about the same as a coin flip. Well, wonder no further! Peter Schiff's latest book, How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes explains all this and more. Written in simple, down-to-earth language, Schiff's book lays out the basics of capitalist economics using the fictitious nation of "Usonia" as a model by which to explain how our own U.S. economy started out on-track for success before eventually getting derailed.
Though the concepts discussed in Schiff's book start out fairly simple and progress in complexity, I never really found myself in over my head even with the more complex concepts; Schiff uses storytelling, humor, and helpful "takeaway" summaries to drive the various concepts home in fun and memorable ways. The book was a fast read (there are a few noticeable typos throughout, easily ignored), and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't particularly like the idea of another Great Depression.
Just a side note about Peter Schiff himself: though he is a Republican (he's even running for Senate, with economic reform as his platform), in his book he resists any partisan temptation to blame our economic woes solely on one party, instead attributing blame equally, cognizant as he is that fiscal irresponsibility has transcended party lines for decades. It is also relevant to note that he accurately predicted the recent real estate bubble and bust (do a YouTube search for "Peter Schiff was right" for evidence of this), rising gold prices, and has been predicting the eventual collapse of the U.S. dollar for some time now (on that subject, I would also highly recommend his book Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit from the Economic Collapse).