Steve has a very touching and interesting tribute to Don (now Deirdre) McCloskey, who taught him price theory at Chicago. Steve explains that it was McCloskey who was responsible for drawing him away from pure math and into economics, with an almost religious fervor. (That’s my term, but you’ll see that Steve uses language like “gospel,” “evangelist,” and “disciple” to refer to microeconomic analysis.)
I can’t say that Steve’s book The Armchair Economist made me decide to become an economist–that would be due to the writings of Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, then Hazlitt and Rothbard–but Steve’s book definitely showed me that economists could make their subject interesting to the average person, the same way some physicists could intrigue the public and make science “cool.”
Even more challenging, Steve didn’t rely on surprising empirical evidence to hook the reader, the way Freakonomics does. Instead, Steve just thought through issues. That is quite impressive to write a page-turner that simply “thinks about” stuff like popcorn prices at movie theaters.