When selecting books for a best libertarian title list, a few narrowing questions come to mind. Do you qualify the list based on the ideas? How well it’s written? The most popular Austrian Economic books?
Well, this list of the best Austrian Economics books is a bit different than most. Rather than focusing solely on my discretion, I have compiled a list of the best libertarian book titles selected by the most important people in the world: customers of Laissez Faire Books.
Now there are many lists containing the likes of Atlas Shrugged (which made it on this list too), Human Action and Man, Economy and State. These are must-reads for any self-respecting free-market guy or gal. What I like about our list is that we have some outliers that give the list a bit more…flavor.
Other sites cater very strictly to the party line. We like to range a bit more widely…entertain opinions that other liberty-minded folks may not deem orthodox.
Our selection includes top economics books by the giants like Ludwig von Mises, Frederic Hayek, Henry Hazlitt and Murray Rothbard, along with the works of Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, Judge Napolitano, Thomas Sowell and P.J. O’Rourke.
You probably would not have left Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard in the same room together. But they stand side by side here.
There are also books by various other lesser-known authors that take a detailed look at the results of various forms of government intervention—in the housing market, in stocks…and at all the disastrous economic and social effects of prohibitions and subsidies.
The case is made in top books on liberty and economics like Henry Hazlitt’s classic “Economics in One Lesson”, or Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy, and State”.
Then there are other essential books on liberty like Ayn Rand’s canonic “Atlas Shrugged,” a paean to capitalism dressed as fiction.
From the Austrian school of economics with books by Mises to Hayek’s warnings about socialism to Milton Friedman’s essays, and hundreds of other authors writing about every economics, liberty, history and the state and its effects on our lives.
Liberty is inseperable from economics so our library covers it all: the effect of every tax, every good and service the government provides with the money they take from their citizens.
Below is a list of our Essential Books on Liberty
1. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt – Probably the very first book everyone with any interest in economic thought should read. Hazlitt challenges the reader to think beyond the immediate benefits of any economic policy.
2. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek – This is Hayek’s masterwork, a passionate warning about the dangers of state control of production.
3. The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism by Nathaniel Branden – Collection of lectures by Nathaniel Branden providing a detailed exposition of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.
4. The Law by Frederic Bastiat – The 1850 classic about government intervention in the economy causing the subversion of life and liberty.
5. End the Fed by Ron Paul – Congressman Ron Paul’s explanation of the unconstitutionality and danger of the Federal Reserve.
6. Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition by Milton Friedman – an explanation of why competitive capitalism is the necessary framework for economic and political freedom.
7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – The towering work of fiction that has changed so many lives. With her narrative and dialogue Ayn Rand makes the unassailable case for capitalism and liberty.
8. The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill – This underappreciated classic persuasively argues for a stateless world where private enterprise provides everything better than government ever could.
9. The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible by Ken Schooland – A very accessible allegorical tale of all the ills of government intervention.
10. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One by Thomas Sowell – Sowell goes beyond the first stage of a wide range of policies and examines their disastrous effects further down the line. From socialized health care schemes to rent control to government backed mortgages.
Gary GibsonWhiskey & Gunpowder
P.S. Since 1972 Laissez Faire Books has provided essential books on liberty and freedom in one place. Visit us at www.lfb.org.
Gary Gibson is the managing editor for Whiskey and Gunpowder. He joins the Whiskey staff as a long-time fan and reader of both Whiskey and Gunpowder and the Daily Reckoning. A graduate of Fordham University, Gary now spends his days reading about and writing on limited government, sound money, personal responsibility and resource investing.
Economics in One Lesson is great although it draws a lot from Bastiat’s That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen. I also like RP’s Revolution and The Case for Gold. I like a lot of Rothbards books. The Creature from Jekyll Island had a lot of info, although it puts a very conspiratorial spin on America’s descent.
“The Market for Liberty” by Morris and Linda Tannehill and “The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible” by Ken Schooland are now on my wishlist.
I have several Thomas Sowell books, along with the Ayn Rand novels. Hazlitt, Hayek, and Bastiat are great introductions into economics.
Miton Friedman? Always a joy.
I like the list, and would agree with just about all of them except perhaps number 3. I would probably substitute in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal or The Virtue of Selfishness; both great reads and eye opening.
Also, if you wanted to go more the fiction route, I’d have to recommend Noble Vision by Gen LaGreca, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Heinlein.
The first is about a doctor fighting against an ObamaCare type system in NYC, and the second is about a libertarian revolution on a moon colony.
When you've got a room full of 200 oil insiders scratching their heads at current high prices, something's gotta give.
For most investors, it’s weird to think of stocks as their go-to investing option.
The petropoly has bills to pay and setting the price of oil was a simple way to balance their budgets.
Investors don’t seem to care that what's propping up their investments is what will ultimately destroy them: government monetary policy.
For the next decade the energy revolution will be likely confined to the US, displaying the robustness of American entrepreneurship.
Why the Sage of Baltimore’s commentary persists through America’s changing times.
After attending Platt’s oil conference in London I want to relay two important themes you need to know.