- The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert Heilbroner
- Spin-Free Economics, by Nariman Behravesh
- Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman
- Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, by Arthur Okun
- Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
- The Return of Depression Economics, by Paul Krugman
- Animal Spirits, by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller
- The Myth of the Rational Voter, by Bryan Caplan
- Economic Gangsters, by Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel
- The Price of Everything, by Russell Roberts
I confess that I have not read all of these; I tend to do little reading of economics aimed at a general audience. (Most of the ideas in these books I saw in the economics journals before the books came out.)
Capitalism and Freedom: I'll always remember how thrilled I was reading this my freshman year of college. Highly recommended. Some topics are a bit dated, but you'll learn a lot from them nonetheless. And some of the topics are as timely today as they were in the 1970s.
The Worldly Philsophers: A good book, which helped reinforce my decision to study economics.
Spin-Free Economics: I haven't seen this book, but I was surprised by the Amazon reviews which said it was right-wing. I've known Nariman for years, during which time we've mostly discussed the short-term economic outlook. I always thought he was an excellent mainstream economist, perhaps too Keynesian for my tastes, but first-rate all the way.
If Mankiw's class were focused on economics for business leaders, I'm sure he would assign Businomics.