Who would have thunk it? The economics profession is hot. From record number of undergraduates enrolled in economics programs, to best-selling non-fiction books, the dismal science has achieved some measure of popularity.

Roger Lowenstein in the New York Times, a noted author himself, finds economic books “getting better” and “tell little stories.” Lowenstein makes a point that we have been emphasizing.

“The economist’s job,” Mr. Harford says, “is to shine a spotlight on the underlying process.” Sounds reasonable, but that is not what most economists actually do. Most professional economists are paid to predict the future. This is why so much of economics writing is dull – and pretty silly. No one can predict the future, least of all an economist.

Lowenstein finds some quibbles with Harford’s book, “The Undercover Economist,” but by and large finds it a “book to savor.”

Elise Soukup at Newsweek wonders what sparked this trend, and does not find a good answer. The spate of economics books clearly had a role:

There’s no doubt that “Freakonomics” did its part in glamorizing the trade. The book, says Publishers Weekly senior editor Charlotte Abbott, is poised to inspire a slew of splashy knockoffs.

Speaking of economics books, Charles Batchelor at the FT.com queried a handful of investment executives which business books kept their attention this year.