I'm about to start my undergraduate in a few months and wanted to study some economics in depth. I already have some vague idea because of my background. However, most books recommended at that level require undergrad level mathematics which I don't know as of now. To give you some idea about my position:

  1. I have a couple months before my undergraduate studies start.
  2. It is NOT in Economics. I'm studying it just for fun.
  3. I have a good understanding of what logic might've gone into the decisions institutes (such as banks, major corporations or any company) make.

[slightly better intuitive feel for economics than your common man]

Please suggest some books to study the maths I require and other books on economics you believe would be helpful to me at this stage.

  • $\begingroup$ Out of interest, what will you study? Personally, I would suggest programming is a more useful skill compared to Econ math. If you study anything math related (physics, mechatronics, statistics or the like) you will have plenty of courses for math during your studies and unless you programmed already, coding skills might be harder to get. If economics is interesting for you, you can get a good understanding without much math (some of the most frequently used undergraduate textbook have limited math). Just my two cents. (I studied econ undergraduate and graduate) $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 12:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm going to study CSE, so I'll certainly encounter these branches of math in the first 2 semesters. It's just that I enjoy economics as much as I enjoy programming, which is why I wanted to delve a little deeper into it on my own now that I have all the time in the world. $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2022 at 3:58

5 Answers 5


Good book is the Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis by Sydsaeter et al.

We use it at an undergraduate level at the university. It’s really good book, very clear with application to economics making it more interesting to students. It has all essentials that are pre requisite to follow more advanced courses and to understand various models. It skips less important stuff for economists such as trigonometry.

If you can successfully learn everything in the textbook your level of math will be sufficient for understanding bachelor and master level course-matter when it comes to formal models. If that’s overkill some chapters can be skipped.


You can do these topics for Mathematics : Logic, Calculus, Probability and Linear Algebra.

And I think if you want to learn Economics using problem-solving approach then this Youtube Channel will be helpful.

You may refer this answer on Quora for additional references.


This is a great question. It gets harder and harder to find "Math for Econ" courses (Econ department seem to prefer that students slog through the calculus+ sequence), but there are good texts out there that repay self-study. One of these, as "1muflon1" suggests, is the Sydsaeter text. Another that I like is Pemberton & Rau, "Mathematics for Economists," which, if you are really ambitious (and can keep at it past a single summer), goes farther into dynamics than Sydsaeter. Either way, good luck with it!


I faced the same dilemma as you when I started my undergrad.

Basic math courses are vital and necessary for grasping fairly complex economic topics. Personally, I believe that one should be acutely proficient in the following areas in the field of mathematics.

  1. Calculus - Calculus and Analytical Geometry by Thomas and Finney

  2. Linear Algebra - Gilbert Strang lectures on Linear Algebra (MIT) OpenCourseWare

  3. Probability and Statistics - Sheldon M. Ross - Introduction to Probability Models

  4. Applied Optimisation - Optimization for Engineering Design Algorithms and Examples by Deb Kalyanmoy

These would be more than enough for starting to learn not only economics but any science course. But if you want any light reads you can try out

a. Concepts, Problems and Solutions in School Calculus: A Dialogue Approach by Lev Tarasov and Chandra Shekhar Kumar - this is an excellent book for building up basics in the field of calculus and has a very interesting approach to teaching calculus

b. So You Want To Know About Economics - This book is what one should refer if you want to know the most basic theoretical basis for economics

Also, learning a bit of programming always helps, especially R and python, this would act as an introduction to econometrics after you learn probability and statistics.


There are different areas in math, and it depends on what exactly you want to study more deeply. I also study math, but it's my extra course, so I don't dedicate a lot of time and effort to study it more deeply, only if I don't understand some things. So, from the books I've read, I can recommend you these ones:

  • The Calculus Lifesaver: All the Tools You Need to Excel at Calculus (Princeton Lifesaver Study Guide) (Princeton Lifesaver Study Guides)
  • Encyclopedia of Mathematics: By James Stuart Tanton ( it covers all math topics, actually one of my fav books)
  • Calculus made easy: By Silvanus P. Thompson

There are way more math books; if you Google, you'll see them. It's pretty hard to recommend such books because each of us is different, and you have to find "your" book, which you'll understand, because not each math book I've read was the right one.

Also, if you will have some problems with understanding something, it won't be a bad idea to have a lesson with a tutor, it will be for sure good for better understanding. I do this somethimes, and also, here is one site https://plainmath.net/post-secondary/calculus-and-analysis/integral-calculus/decimals I use when I don't know how to solve something. There are different solving examples, which can be similar to what you have to solve. Or, you can just post a question. I've got help there a few times, and now, when I see that solution, I can do it without help.


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