Capitalism vs. Big Government
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what
never was and never will be.”
— Thomas Jefferson
How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, Peter Schiff and Andrew Schiff
The single best and most readable introduction to economics. No obtuse charts, graphs, or equations. An allegory, the book derives economic principles from observable facts.
Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
Clear and engaging, the second-best introduction to economics.
Markets Don’t Fail!, Brian Simpson
A good refutation of the common arguments for market failure.
Myths of Rich & Poor: Why We're Better Off Than We Think, W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm
Provides a wide range of data refuting the charge that capitalism harms the poor.
Gold & Liberty, Richard Salsman
Explains the monetary and economic role of gold and its historical connection to liberty.
Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions, Richard Salsman
A compelling case, grounded in history, for the superiority of free banking over central banking.
The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers, Mark Skousen
A lively history of economic ideas, from Adam Smith to the present.
The Structure of Production, Mark Skousen
A good integration of micro and macroeconomics.
Capitalism, George Reisman
An enormous, comprehensive treatise on free-market economics. I learned more about economics from this book than from any other book.
This is a list of the best books I have read on economics,
government, history, philosophy, and investing.
Law, Government, and Public Finance
What Has Government Done to Our Money? Murray Rothbard
An engaging, lucid introduction to monetary economics.
Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown, Detlev S. Schlichter
Makes a compelling case against fiat money and argues that the current world monetary system will ultimately collapse.
Antitrust & Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure, Dominick Armentano
Analyzes dozens of the most high profile antitrust cases, showing the irrationality of antitrust law.
The Abolition of Antitrust, Gary Hull et al.
A collection of essays that argue antitrust law is immoral and impractical.
Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution, Michael D. Tanner
Exposes the big-government policies of the Bush administration.
The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society, Michael D. Tanner
A compelling case that the welfare state should be repealed.
Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax, Sheldon Richman
A compelling case that the income tax should be abolished.
Better Government at Half the Price: Private Production of Public Services, James T. Bennett & Manuel H. Johnson
Shows that the private sector provides goods and services far cheaper and more efficiently than government does.
Regulation, the Constitution, and the Economy: The Regulatory Road to Serfdom, James Rolph Edwards
Shows the impracticality of government regulation.
Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, Richard K. Vedder & Lowell E. Gallaway
Shows how government policies have exacerbated unemployment.
Death by Government, R. J. Rummel
A survey of the worst political mass murderers, and how many people they have killed.
The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Decisions Radically Expanded
Government and Eroded Freedom, Robert A. Levy & William Mellor
An excellent survey of the worst Supreme Court rulings.
Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty, Randy E. Barnett
Shows how the Supreme Court has perversely interpreted the Constitution.
Financial Fiasco: How America's Infatuation with Home Ownership and Easy Money
Created the Economic Crisis, Johan Norberg
Tells the real story of how government caused the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis.
Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, Society, Marvin Perry et al.
An excellent college-level textbook on the history of the West.
The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our Worldview, Richard Tarnas
An engaging intellectual history of Western Civilization.
The Making of the Modern Mind, John Herman Randall, Jr.
Another good intellectual history of the West.
The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages, Tom Bethell
Shows how private property is a necessary precondition of economic progress.
How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World, Nathan Rosenberg & L. E. Birdzell, Jr.
A good survey of the factors that led the Industrial Revolution.
The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created, William J. Bernstein
Relies on historical evidence to show that four key factors are necessary for economic development: property rights, science, capital markets, and transportation/communication networks.
The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America, Leonard Peikoff
The best, most fascinating (and frightening) history book I have ever read. Shows that the fundamental trends in American culture are virtually identical to those of pre-Hitler Germany.
The Flight From Reality, Clarence B. Carson
An intellectual history showing how the Left has undermined the principles and ideals on which America was founded.
Communism: A History, Richard Pipes
Good, concise introduction to the history of Soviet communism.
Capitalism & the Historians, F. A Hayek
Shows how anti-capitalist historians have distorted the actual history of capitalism.
The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire, Andrew Bernstein
Defends capitalism on moral grounds and has great material on the history of capitalism.
How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Nation, From the Pilgrims to the Present, Thomas J. DiLorenzo
A good, concise economic history of the United States.
Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution—and What It Means for Americans Today, Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Shows how Alexander Hamilton was the father of big government in America.
The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America, Burton W. Folsom, Jr.
Shows that the most prominent industrialists of the 19th century were not robber barons, but shrewd, productive businessmen.
Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, Robert Higgs
Shows how the American government has exploited crises to expand its power.
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
A great novel and a must read for anyone looking to truly understand and defend freedom and oppose big government.
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand
An excellent collection of essays on the theory and practice of capitalism.
The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand
Argues that morality is not arbitrary or subjective, but derived from observable facts. And the facts lead to a morality of rational self-interest.
Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff
A clear, systematic presentation of Ayn Rand’s entire philosophy, from metaphysics and epistemology to ethics, politics, and esthetics.
Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts That Support It, Craig Biddle
A lucid, excellent introduction to Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy.
Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism From Rousseau to Foucault, Stephen R. C. Hicks
A fascinating intellectual history of the ideas and thinkers that have led to the far-Left, anti-reason, anti-West movement known as postmodernism.
The Great Super Cycle: Profit From the Coming Inflation Tidal Wave and Dollar Devaluation, David Skaria
Excellent book on how to invest by looking at long-term asset cycles.
Crashproof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse, Peter Schiff
Discusses our current and future economic problems and how to position your investments.
Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown, David Wiedemer et al.
Similar to Crashproof, predicts another economic crisis is coming and offers advice on how to profit from it.
Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver: Protect Your Financial Future, Michael Maloney
Part of the “Rich Dad” series. Good material on the history of precious metal cycles and how to invest in them.
Investing in One Lesson, Mark Skousen
Good advice on long-term investing.