Thomas Sowell is a world reknown columnist, author and economist who has been writing now for over 40 years. Here's his bio on Wikipedia: http://www.amazon.com/wiki/Thomas_Sowell/ref=sr_tc_2_wp?qid=1300977080&sr=1-2-wp. I've read a couple of his books so far and I'm working on a third...several others are in the queue. I can tell you firsthand that you'll learn more about practical real-world economics by reading a couple of his books than you picked up in all of the economics courses that you took in high school or college combined...guaranteed.
The topic of economics is generally seen as dry and boring, but Sowell keeps you engaged and makes it both real and fun. If you're looking for some good reading material that'll really open your mind then I'd highly recommend taking a look into some of his works. If you don't take my word for it, just read some of his book reviews on Amazon.
Listed here are links to some of his more recent masterpieces:
Basic Economics - http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Economics-4th-Ed-Economy/dp/0465022529/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300975239&sr=1-1
Intellectuals and Society - http://www.amazon.com/Intellectuals-Society-Thomas-Sowell/dp/B004H8GL40/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300975239&sr=1-3
Dismantling America - http://www.amazon.com/Dismantling-America-other-controversial-essays/dp/B004NSVE4G/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300975239&sr=1-4
Economics Facts and Fallacies - http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Facts-Fallacies-Thomas-Sowell/dp/0465022030/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300975239&sr=1-6
Applied Economics - http://www.amazon.com/Applied-Economics-Thinking-Beyond-Stage/dp/B002FL5HF0/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300975239&sr=1-12
The Housing Boom and Bust - http://www.amazon.com/Housing-Boom-Bust-Revised/dp/B004I1JQ98/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300975239&sr=1-7