Favorite Liberty Related Book

You must be logged in to create new topics.

  • Sean Sherman

    What is your favorite liberty related book?   Is it a fiction or non-fiction book?

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • Propertea

    Fiction:

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein is one of my favorite works.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    TommyK

    I was a run-of-the-mill libertarian until I read (listened to) For a New Liberty by Rothbard, which basically turned me into a full-on anarchist. It answered so many practical questions and allowed my mind to come up with my own solutions for existing problems in the same vein.

    It’s a favorite because of how influential it was to me.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      Tommy, did you listen to Jeff Riggenbach’s reading of FaNL?

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      TommyK

      If that is the recording available on mises.org, then yes I did. =)

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      I can’t tell you how much it pleases me to hear that. I recruited Jeff Riggenbach to narrate all the early audiobooks for LvMI, and I think FaNL was one of the very first ones.

      Are you an Audible.com user?

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      TommyK

      It’s a great recording. I haven’t listened to that many audiobooks all the way through, but that one set a high bar, I remember. I don’t use Audible.com; I tend to listen to podcasts much more often than books these days.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Daniel Shafrir

      Recruiting Jeff Riggenbach was a stroke of genius! What a voice! I have a feeling that I listened to all of the audiobooks on mises.org, many of which were narrated by him. His Libertarian Tradition set of podcasts is also very interesting and open up a wide variety of new topics (and new authors) to discover. Listening to the audiobooks (on commutes to work and in the gym) were what turned me on to libertarianism and anarchism.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    B.K. Marcus

    I loved The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and For a New Liberty. I also really enjoyed Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman and The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith.

    A book that I was surprised to enjoy but ended up enjoying so much it became one of my favorites is Rothbard’s The Betrayal of the American Right.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Anonymous

    Fiction: It’s a close tie between The Driver by Garet Garrett or 1984 by George Orwell. The Driver, although it focuses on Henry Galt’s struggles with the US government, isn’t necessarily focused on a wholesale critique of the totalitarian state like 1984 but I love it because of its great literary quality. As for 1984, despite it’s pessimistic ending, it’s accuracy of what the current political trends in Orwell’s time would eventual lead to make it a great and still relevant book today for liberty lovers.

    Non-Fiction: Democracy The God That Failed by Hans Hermann Hoppe. Before I read this book I read For A New Liberty by Rothbard which persuaded me to be an anarchist. However, Democracy The God That Failed really was the final blow to any statist ideology I had left. I would say I like Democracy The God That Failed more than For A New Liberty because it’s much more convincing. I admit FaNL is easier to understand but DTGTF is much more persuasive. It seems every sentence in DTGTF logically follows the previous one. It first reconstructs the 21st century showing that after WWI the entire world was essentially run by democracies and due to this a decivilizational effect was started. The rest of the book explains what is needed is the complete abandonment of statist ideology and in it’s place a private-law society (anarchy) in order to reverse the affect. It’s revisionist and logical approach will completely change, or confirm, your worldview as it did mine!

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      Oh man, yeah, The Driver!

      Another great audiobook narrated by Jeff Riggenbach, by the way.

      Here’s what I wrote right after listening to that one:

      I had the distinct privilege of being the first person outside the Riggenbach household to hear this recording. All the praise of Garet Garrett’s novels had failed to convince me to read any of them. Listening to the audiobook was something I did for work, to check for errors before we went into production. I didn’t even take up the task with any pleasure, as there was a very narrow window for quality review and it meant that I had to spend my weekend doing something other than R&R.

      I thought I’d at least get some yard work done while I listened, so the first chapters are etched into my memory with visions of my own manual labor as the book opens with crowds of unemployed workers, organizing to march on Washington.

      My first reaction was skeptical. Riggenbach’s is a great voice for nonfiction. He is clear, easy on the ears, and conveys the importance of his subject; but these virtues in the context of nonfiction don’t necessarily carry over to the quirky, emotional, character-driven realm of fiction.

      Well, I quickly forgot those reservations as I got swept up in the story. The Mises Institute and its supporters have mostly discussed the economic history of The Driver, which is much more interesting than you might fear, and much more interesting, I found, than is conveyed in all the reviews that emphasize how interesting it is. It is indeed a procapitalism novel, and Garrett manages to communicate that part of the story with passion and fascination, feelings that are contagious for the reader (or listener).

      What I was not expecting was the human story behind the economic history.

      Back to Riggenbach as reader: after a few chapters, it was obvious that Jeff Riggenbach was, in fact, the perfect choice for the unnamed first-person narrator of this novel. The narrator is a journalist, and so is Riggenbach. The narration is wry and reserved, which isn’t a bad description of Riggenbach’s reading voice. But this reserved style acts as a counterpoint to the often chaotic action of the story. The man telling the story is the calm at the center of the storm of human activity that surrounds him. When we meet the hero of the story — the great railroad capitalist, Henry Galt — we find in him the only other steady presence in the swirl of confusion that was turn-of-the-20th-century Wall Street. I don’t mean to suggest similarities between the two characters beyond that central complementary calmness; Galt is irritable, impatient with people, and far from charming in any mundane sense; the narrator is patient and sociable without being quite outgoing. He is also primarily an observer, whereas Galt is The Driver: the driver of the story and the driver, it turns out, of the American economy.

      The human side of the story is everything Galt fails to see, mostly concerning his family: an elderly mother, a socialite wife, and two daughters — one attractive but aloof and the other winsome and playful. Galt’s family suffers through their waxing and waning fortunes, and continues to suffer the anti-new-money social ostracism of Galt’s ultimate success. Galt is immune to society’s subtler punishments and he doesn’t have the moral imagination to understand why his family isn’t happy. Fortunately for him, they love him devotedly.

      And love, believe it or not, is the other driver of this book. It turns out to be a love story, or two or three love stories — between the narrator and (1) Henry Galt himself, (2) the Galt family, who come to adopt him slowly and quietly as one of their own, and (3) one of Galt’s daughters, for whom his feelings become more than fraternal.

      What began as labor quickly turned to pleasure as I listened to this newly available audiobook, and I recommend it highly, whether or not you care about economics or history. It is a very human story. The fact that you might finish it with a greater respect for the social benefits of speculation and entrepreneurship is merely an added bonus.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Brian David

    One of my favorite underrated books related to liberty is George Reisman’s Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. 

     

    Although I don’t agree with every single thing he says, it is a great defence of the free-market order in general, organized in an interesting way.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Test

    Markets Not Capitalism. Without this book I would still be lost in all the Orwellian language that’s used around me. I definitely recommend reading it. It’s not a huge commitment either. You can just pick it up here and there because it’s a collection of essays.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Cameron M. Belt

    I have to say, <i>The Rise and Fall of Society</i> by Frank Chodorov is one of my all time favorite Liberty Related Books.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Ron Walter

    Fiction:
    I always love me some Heinein, and whatever science fiction is laying around. Darkness At Noon is an amazing book that more people should read, especially if you enjoyed 1984. And I’d a lot of Milan Kundera, who I would not say is liberty minded in any direct sense, but has amazing insight into the nature of Communism and the surveillance state. Everything gets summed up pretty nicely in his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which travels down the rabbit hole and explores the weird and terrifying ways a totalitarian society operates and views itself. He has a lot of ties and references in his work back to Franz Kafka, who I’d say is the best the literary critic of bureaucracy that ever lived.

    Non Fiction: Bastiat and Bastiat. You can’t go wrong.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      Ron, I’m keeping a list of books to create resource pages for. That way we can keep track of these discussions and have a place to post our reviews, etc.

      I’ve added Darkness at Noon and Unbearable Lightness of Being. Thanks!

      (Keep’m coming.)

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Brad Pfouts

    Easily:  Michael Huemer’s The Problem of Political Authority

    Although the combination of Rothbard’s For a New Liberty and David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom kicked me in the direction of anarchism; Huemer’s work cinched it.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      I haven’t read that one!

      I find the author’s homepage here: http://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/

      And he offers a TOC and sample here: http://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/Contents.pdf

      We’ll get this book listed ASAP. Thanks!

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Stephen Davis

      Purchase and read immediately. Drop everything else on your reading list. Seriously.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Dave Burns

      I concur, Huemer’s book is terrific.

      But I want to give my top mark to The Enterprise of Law, by Bruce Benson. It’s difficult for me to sum it up in a way that does it justice. I had already read Rothbard and Friedman and the Tannehills before I picked up Benson, so I had plenty of ancap theory and a tiny bit of history under my belt. Benson is all about history, but it’s not like a history book. Think of it as describing how merchants dealt with each other internationally in Medieval Europe, in spite of not being able to call on a government to enforce their contracts. That makes it sound dull, but he describes people who were forced to deal without the state, and who succeeded. This is not theory, this happened. I was fascinated.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      Hear, hear to The Enterprise of Law. An eye-opening read, even for the most already-radical libertarian reader.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Wendy McElroy

    My favorite book is Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State because it was the one that converted me to anarchism years ago.

    Interesting discussion about Garet Garrett’s The Driver, BTW. Years ago I was asked to write an introduction to a reprint of the novel which would focus on the parallels between it and Rand’s subsequent Atlas Shrugged. The clear intention of the fellow commissioning the intro was to point to possible points of plagiarism by Rand. I couldn’t find enough evidence to do so and I passed on the writing gig. I did enjoy the read, however. Like another member of this group commented…I was familiar with Garet only through his non-fiction and had not been lured into reading his novels by friends who praised them. I was wrong, and I’m pleased to say it.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Justin Pearson

    There are so many from which to choose that I will limit my subject to libertarian books on the U.S. Constitution.  My personal favorite is Terms of Engagement by Clark Neily.  Full disclosure – Clark is my colleague at IJ, but it truly is a remarkable book and written in a manner to make it enjoyable for lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Daniel Shafrir

    I think one that wasn’t mentioned here is Morris and Linda Tannehill’s “The Market for Liberty“. It is a great piece of work that I think complements “For a New Liberty” quite well. It gets to some of the practical matters well and clearly. I would say, though, that they seem harsh in their tone and the audio version (which I think you can find on iTunes – to my knowledge it’s not on mises.org) has the narrator really sounding condescending and mean at times (so I recommend reading the book rather than listening to this one).

    The Rise and Fall of Society is also a great book and probably not as well known. I hadn’t considered reading it until I read a very good review of it that Jeffrey Tucker gave (I believe it must have been on LFB.org).

    I would put in a special mention for Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block. This hit me right between the eyes because I came across it before I was a full-out anarchist. Using the term ‘hero’ to describe all these ‘low-lives’ made me think I’m getting myself into the wrong place and I should run in the other direction, never to think about libertarianism again. But if you keep an open mind, this book really makes you think and by the end of it, I was only one short step from the point of no return.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      Thanks, Daniel. As you know, both The Rise and Fall of Society and The Market for Liberty are available in the Liberty.me Library.

      We also have a book page for Block’s Defending the Undefendable, where we’ll be gathering links to relevant resources and from which you go to the Liberty.me discussions about that book. Sounds like you’re a good person to get that ball rolling!

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Jake Jones

    For fiction I would recommend Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. It is a fun and easy read showing how political power is based on illusion and propaganda. Growing state power depends on citizens believing this propaganda in order to willingly surrender their liberty.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Roger Browne

    My current favorite is Ken Krawchuk’s “Atlas Snubbed”, a parody of and follow-up to “Atlas Shrugged”, in which we meet our old friends again. We get to compare and contrast Galt’s objectivist enclave and Eddie Willers’ voluntaryist society that arises in Los Angeles.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Daniel Morris

    Malcolm X’s autobiography is wonderful. He writes how he changed his mind from the idea that races can’t live side by side, but then goes on to accept the unification of the races after visiting Mecca and seeing how everyone, black, white, or Asian, got along. His book needs to be read more by liberty minded folks.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Mike Reid

      Loved that book!

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Roger Browne

    (In my post above about Atlas Snubbed, it should say Las Vegas not Los Angeles. Sorry for any confusion.)

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Stephen Davis

    It’s hard to pick a favorite.

    Frank Chodorov’s _The Income Tax: Root of All Evil_ was the first book I read that struck me like a bolt of lightning.

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s _A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism_ is brilliant and an absolute must-read.

    Michael Huemer’s _The Problem of Political Authority_ is a must-read and is the book I would give to an intelligent friend to systematically demolish every prejudice they have in favor of the state.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    B.K. Marcus

    We’ve got The Income Tax: Root of All Evil and A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism in the Library.

    We need to set up a resource/discussion page for Michael Huemer’s The Problem of Political Authority. You’re the second person to mention it in this thread. (@bradpfouts was the first.)

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Ron Walter

    Neal Stephenson usually shows up in any conversation about Cyberpunk writings, and today I came across one of his books, called Snow Crash. Essentially, it’s fiction describing an anarcho-capitalist breakdown of the US, particularly in Los Angles. It even touches on hyper-inflation. I’m hoping to read it soon. Has anyone already read it? And if so, yea or nay?

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      Hey, Ron. I haven’t read Snow Crash in over 20 years, but I remember it very fondly.

      Two things you should know:
      (1) the author is no libertarian;
      (2) he has phenomenal ideas and then doesn’t know how to end his novels.

      Either of those may have changed since I was last paying attention, but it applies to at least his first two novels, Snow Crash and The Diamond Age.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Ron Walter

      Hah, I find that Cyberpunk lit usually has problems with structure vs. theme. So…that doesn’t totally surprise me. I’ll still probably read through it for some fun. Thank you though! Appreciate it.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    Mike Reid

    Human Action absolutely rocked my world. Those first few hundred pages, where Mises demolishes collectivist social science and then lays the foundation of praxeology, put the stake through the heart of the collectivist vampire in my mind.

    I listen to the Blackstone audiobook version (especially those early chapters) frequently.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.