Favorite book advocating liberty and free markets?

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    So recently, I’ve been trying to find a good introduction to Austrian Economic principles book that I could recommend to family and friends, that wouldn’t be too long or difficult to read and understand. So far, I’ve come up with Lessons for the Young Economist by Robert P. Murphy, and Economics for Real People, by Gene Callahan, Of course, can’t forget Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, even though it’s more applied economics instead of being a economic principles book.

    I also began to wonder what some of the best books are that advocate liberty. It couldn’t be too long, but it needs to make good moral and economic case for individual & property rights, liberty, and the free market economy.

    The only book that I can think of so far is Revolution by Ron Paul, Whether or not most people would be willing to read any of his books is another matter…

    I was hoping to get some input from the other members and faculty here. So, if there was one favorite you have, or perhaps a book that changed your mind about freedom and free markets, and if there was one book that you wish you could get your big government, liberal, authoritarian friend, family member, ect to read, what would it be?



    Sorry for leaving more than one book. Good introductory books to Austrian Economics would be: Lessons for the Young Economist, by Robert P. Murphy, Economics for Real People, by Gene Callahan, Economic Science and the Austrian Method, by Hoppe. On liberty, I would read, For a New Liberty, by Rothbard, Conceived in Liberty, by Rothbard, A Beautiful Anarchy, by Tucker, The Great Fiction, by Hoppe, The Market for Liberty, by the Tannehill’s, and I’ll stop there.


    I still like Hayek’s “The Constitution of Liberty,” flaws and all (his flaw starts with an imprecise definition of “coercion,” and thus he allows for more interventionism than a good Rothbardian would), but in part because he seems “less extreme” and “more reasonable,” it would be a good way to get the typical person’s feet wet.

    Then, once they see that, yes, initiation of force is inappropriate and there is no magical quality about the state (or about “all of us doing it together”), you can point out that while Hayek was on the right track, if you refine the principle to be more consistent than he did, and follow through with its logic, then…

    To Blake’s list I’d add: Democracy, the God that Failed (by Hoppe) and The Ethics of Liberty (by Rothbard), and perhaps The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (by Hoppe).

    I wish David Gordon had come out with a book compiling his philosophical defense of liberty, but he seems to have been too intellectually humble to ever undertake such a project, which I find to be too bad. Well there’s still hope; he’s still around after all. But if he ever does, I’d almost certainly recommend it.


    No novel suggestions from me, but I just want to say that the book you mentioned, Ron Paul’s The Revolution: A Manifesto is fantastic for just that. It is the book that led me to libertarianism as well as a book my family (brother, father, mother, and grandparents) enjoyed when I recommended it to them. I wouldn’t call them libertarians now, but they’re much more open minded to the positions than before and found merit in his arguments whether they fully agreed with them or not.


    Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government by DiLorenzo, Thomas J.

    You can download this book for free at mises.org. So you can take a look at and decide for yourself.
    I think this fits for someone with little or no idea of the libertarian or austrian perspective. The book is not overly complicated and while fairly short at about 200 pages it reads like a book half that long. The chapters are short, engaging and don’t really need to be read in order, so this book will work well in the bathroom (where people are most open to new ideas). It has a few typos but they turn out to be hilarious.

    You probably wont reference your dissertation with this book but it covers a lot of ground in a manner accessible to almost anyone.


    Blake. Yes, Lessons for the Young Economist, by Robert P. Murphy and Economics for Real People, by Gene Callahan are the two introductory books that I also found to be good intro to Austrian Economics. I wonder if an Introduction to Economic Reasoning by David Gordon would also be a good book to serve as an introductory book?

    I haven’t read Conceived in Liberty, A Beautiful Anarchy by Tucker, or The Great Fiction by Hoppe yet. Conceived in liberty doesn’t really fit my criteria, and the scary ‘A’ word is going to scare most people off from reading A Beautiful Anarchy by Tucker.

    The Economics and Ethics of Private Property by Hoppe, while an excellent book, is a bit technical and is very heavy reading. I also enjoyed A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, and Democracy: the God that failed. I would probably recommend A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism to someone before the other two books, but it would depend on the individual, as the other books might not be suitable to recommend to the average person on the street.


    osgood401, You’re right, that is an excellent book. I’ll have to consider that one as well for my list.


    I quite like the Friedmans’ FREE TO CHOOSE, which is an adaptation of their extremely successful TV series of the same title. I’m also a huge admirer of Charles Murray, particularly his classic LOSING GROUND and his follow-up, IN PURSUIT: OF HAPPINESS AND GOOD GOVERNMENT. In the former, he demonstrates conclusively that the Great Society was/is counterproductive, which he explains using classical economics, and in the latter, he takes his experience in the Third World as showing why some societies have been both free and prosperous while others….


    Sorry for resurrecting an old thread. (Okay, I’m lying I’m not sorry.)

    I would love to bring up some of Charles Murray’s stuff in Losing Ground and Coming Apart. The problem is that I will immediately be referred to articles like these, and I do not have enough background to refute them.


    Do you know of any resources for debunking the debunkers?

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