Ahead of the holidays some of you will be looking for great reading material. Tom Woods – historian, author and creator of Liberty Classroom – provides the following suggestions in his newsletter:
If you’re like me, you are annoyed by books that teach you three new things. My time is limited. I like books that are full of things I didn’t know, or ideas I’d never thought of.
The books I recommend below belong in that category. They teach you something new and unexpected on every page. And they are a perfect antidote to the propaganda fed to us in the ideological prison camps where most of us spent our formative years. I list them in no particular order.
Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. Important for beginners. You can read it online. Also useful for beginners is Peter Schiff’s book How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.
The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul. This is another good one for beginners. It has a good track record as a proselytizing device.
Democracy: The God that Failed, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Just read it. Trust me on this. [clb note: Amazing book. Absolute MUST read.]
The Quest for Community, by Robert Nisbet. Here is a graduate course in political philosophy. Except in this one, the state is not the glorious summit of civilization and the indispensable source of human flourishing. As the new edition explains, “Nisbet argued that the rise of the powerful modern state had eroded the sources of community — the family, the neighborhood, the church, the guild. Alienation and loneliness inevitably resulted. But as the traditional ties that bind fell away, the human impulse toward community led people to turn even more to the government itself, allowing statism — even totalitarianism — to flourish.”
The Left, the Right, and the State, by Lew Rockwell. Lew (who of course runs the indispensable LewRockwell.com) did the world an incalculable service with the founding of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, but he is grossly underrated as a thinker in his own right. He has extended Rothbardian thought in numerous ways, and has influenced my own thinking more than almost anyone in the world.
The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays. Features essays by Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Gottfried Haberler, and Murray N. Rothbard. An effective introduction to the Austrian theory of the business cycle. You can read or listen to it online.
What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard. An excellent little overview of the origin of money and its fate at the hands of government. You can listen to this book (along with The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar) for free.
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, by Murray N. Rothbard. The quality of the essays in this book is astounding. You will not think the same way ever again after reading “Anatomy of the State” and “War, Peace, and the State,” to name just two. You can read it online.
After you read these, I recommend the following: