Looking for something to read on your next vacation? Curious about economics and classical liberal philosophy? Here's a brief list of reading materials which have shaped my view of the world and which, more importantly, simply make for good reading. With few exceptions, these books are easily accessible to the average reader, requiring little more than an interest in the topic. Even better, the readings below are guaranteed to lift your spirits (well, maybe not 1984) and make you more optimistic about life and the world, so dig in and cheer up.
I've hyperlinked those titles which are available for free online; the rest are readily available via Amazon or at any decent bookstore. This list is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to send me your recommendations if you have other articles or books that ought to be added below.
Articles/Essays/Stories: Because sometimes a book is just too damn long.
- "The Use of Knowledge in Society," by F.A. Hayek
- "The Pretence of Knowledge," by F.A. Hayek (Nobel Prize lecture, 1974)
- "I, Pencil," by Leonard Read (and be sure to watch the short film version here)
- "What is Seen and What is Not Seen," by Frederic Bastiat
- "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth," by Ludwig von Mises
- "Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut
- "Against Intellectual Property," by Stephan Kinsella
- "Politics and the English Language," by George Orwell
Books: In no particular order, so read them all first.
- Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt
- The Problem of Political Authority, by Michael Huemer
- The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass
- The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith
- Capitalism & Freedom, by Milton Friedman
- A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell
- National Economic Planning: What is Left?, by Don Lavoie
- Libertarianism: A Primer, by David Boaz
- The Ultimate Resource, by Julian Simon
- The Bourgeois Virtues, by Deirdre McCloskey
- Markets Not Capitalism, Gary Chartier & Charles W. Johnson, ed.
- The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley
- The Calculus of Consent, by Gordon Tullock and James Buchanan
- The Logic of Collective Action and The Rise and Decline of Nations, by Mancur Olson
- Eat the Rich, by P.J. O'Rourke
- Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72, by Hunter S. Thompson
- The Fatal Conceit, by F.A. Hayek
- 1984, by George Orwell
- Defending the Undefendable, by Walter Block
- Not a Zero-Sum Game, by Manuel Ayau
- At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson
- Bourbon for Breakfast and It's a Jetson's World, by Jeffrey Tucker
- Globalization, by Donald Boudreaux
- Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises (and here's a study guide for this masterpiece)