I’m currently learning intermediate microeconomics with calculus. I know to take derivatives, partial derivatives, integrals, and multiple integrals, and I know some basic linear algebra (solving systems of linear equations using Cramer’s rule or inverse matrices, dot and cross products of vectors, gradients of vector functions). I also know some constrained optimization, through substitution and Lagrangian methods (including SOCs), though not Kuhn-Tucker conditions.

Given this background, I’m deciding between two books. One is Microeconomics: Theory and Applications with Calculus by Jeffrey Perloff (not to be confused with his other textbook, Microeconomics) and the other is Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus by Hal Varian (not to be confused with his two other textbooks, Intermediate Microeconomics and Microeconomic Analysis). Which is better and why?

In particular, my trade-off is: Perloff has a lot of practice problems, including solved exercises, and it seems like solving lots of problems is a good way to learn micro. Varian doesn’t have nearly as many – his book of problems, Workouts in Intermediate Microeconomics, has barely any calculus. Perloff also has more examples/applications. In contrast, Varian has two main benefits. First, it has more material on mechanism design, which is interesting. Second, I’ve heard it is a good precursor to Varian’s more advanced textbook, Microeconomic Analysis.

I’m leaning toward Perloff at the moment – I have already started working through it – but would appreciate thoughts.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems opinion based but I'm a huge hal varian fan. this is because he walks students directly from introductory micro to intermediate and advanced topics with great writing and gets to the point. $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Dec 31 '19 at 0:44

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