Reading List

On the most recent episode of the show, Ren challenged listeners to read a book on Economics. Below is a short list of short books freely available online that we recommend. The links are either to a PDF version of the book or an online-only version:

1) Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt – This is probably the first full-length book that anyone should read on the subject. The “One Lesson” is explained in the first chapter, and then that lesson is applied over and over again to various economic situations. The book is well-written and easy to read, and at 183 pages, short enough to hold the beginner’s interest.

2) Essentials of Economics by Faustino Ballve – At 99 pages, this book gives an incredibly concise history of economic thought as well as an introduction to a more comprehensive range of economic topics than Economics in One Lesson.

3) I, Pencil by Leonard Read – This is a very short, easy-to-read essay (less than 8 pages of the 17-page PDF) that is intended to demonstrate the beauty and intricacy of the free market. The economist Milton Friedman incorporated this book into his “Free to Choose” PBS series in the early 80s.

4) That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen by Frederic Bastiat – A 19th century French statesman and economist gives a brief (about 25 pages) refutation of common economic fallacies. Some of it is specific to the French politics of the period, but the bulk of it is universally applicable, especially considering that many of these fallacies are still repeated today, often by prominent economists! This work actually serves as the basis for Hazlitt’s “One Lesson” above.

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