A libertarian reading list


Rothbard, Murray: For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

An absolutely awesome book. If you are interested in liberty and how we could thrive with less or even no government, this is, in my opinion, the most important book to read. I think Lew Rockwell, who I recently had the pleasure to meet at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, says it best about this book:

Once you are exposed to the complete picture — and For a New Liberty has been the leading means of exposure for more than a quarter of a century — you cannot forget it. It becomes the indispensable lens through which we can see events in the real world with the greatest possible clarity. … Its logical and moral consistency, together with its empirical explanatory muscle, represents a threat to any intellectual vision that sets out to use the state to refashion the world according to some pre-programmed plan. And to the same extent it impresses the reader with a hopeful vision of what might be. … He never talks down to his readers but always with clarity. Rothbard speaks for himself. … The reader will discover on his or her own that every page exudes energy and passion, that the logic of his argument is impossibly compelling, and that the intellectual fire that inspired this work burns as bright now as it did all those years ago.

And finally, from Lew again:

The book is still regarded as “dangerous” precisely because, once the exposure to Rothbardianism takes place, no other book on politics, economics, or sociology can be read the same way again. What was once a commercial phenomenon has truly become a classical statement that I predict will be read for generations to come.

Learn more about this book and read it at http://www.mises.org/rothbard/newliberty.asp.

Read, Leonard: I, Pencil

I, Pencil is one of the most important and influential writings that explain the necessity for limited government. A simple object that we may not give much thought to, the story of the pencil illustrates the importance of markets, and the impossibility of centralized economic planning.

From the afterword to I, Pencil by Milton Friedman:

Leonard E. Read’s delightful story, “I, Pencil,” has become a classic, and deservedly so. I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s invisible hand — the possibility of cooperation without coercion — and Friedrich Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the price system in communicating information that “will make the individuals do the desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.”

Link to a pdf of I, Pencil: http://www.fee.org/pdf/books/I,%20Pencil%202006.pdf

Link to Leonard E. Read reading I, Pencil: http://www.fee.org/events/detail.asp?id=6239

Friedman, Milton: Capitalism and Freedom

Friedman, Milton, and Friedman, Rose: Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight Lee: Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity

See my review.

Callahan, Gene: Economics For Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School

Click to access econforrealpeople.pdf

Hazlitt, Henry: Economics in One Lesson

A very important book that has inspired several generations of thinkers. See review at http://wichitaliberty.org/economics/economics-in-one-lesson-50th-anniversary-edition.

Boaz, David: Libertarianism: A Primer

Doherty, Brian: Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement

This huge book is more about the people and the movement rather than the principles of libertarianism.

Murray, Charles: What It Means to be a Libertarian


One response to “A libertarian reading list”

  1. Jon

    This a very old posting, but for anyone searching, I’d suggest reading the Frederic Bastiat essay, The Law. A good primer.

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