I’m told time travel is not possible. That’s a shame… boy did I have plans!
One of those plans would have been to give my younger self a whole bunch of books to read. I might even bribe my younger self with the following week’s lottery numbers as an incentive to read these books (I can be quite generous with my younger self).
The question of what book do you recommend someone read becomes a lot harder when that ‘someone’ is a younger person. In my experience, at least, I have become far more tolerant to far denser material as time goes by. It takes an especially good author to convey difficult and (dare I say) important material in a way that would be attractive to the younger audience. I honestly don’t know of anyone better than Bob Murphy who can present the materials within Economics (Austrian or otherwise) and Praxeology clearly and compellingly.
Bob Murphy has written study guides to Human Action, Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market, and the Theory of Money & Credit opening up these texts to a whole new audience of younger readers, homeschoolers, and other autodidacts. Speaking of younger readers, he even wrote a children’s fantasy book, The Three Lads and the Lizard King.
If he wrote nothing else, his study guides would be a significant enough contribution to the world, in my eyes. There are, of course, many more books to his name, including:
- Chaos Theory – a short booklet and one of my all-time favorites; two volumes in The Politically Incorrect Guide series – one on capitalism and one on the Great Depression and the New Deal;
- Choice – a phenomenal introductory book to the concepts in Human Action;
- How Privatized Banking Really Works – a very interesting book, written with Carlos Lara about the intersection of Austrian Economics and the Infinite Banking Concept (watch out for a blog post on this topic once I figure it out myself); and
- Primal Prescription – at once the harshest critique of the modern American “healthcare” system and a great book to help you find your way out of it.
However, the first book I would ask my younger self-read is Bob Murphy’s Lesson for the Young Economist. It’s such a well-written economics text book I don’t know how one would write a book that surpasses it as an economics introduction for the young or inexperienced. I read it in my 20’s, but I vividly recall the feeling that this would have been exactly the book I could have used in my high-school years. For those homeschooling their kids a teacher’s manual exists to accompany this fabulous book.
Most of Bob Murphy’s books are available for free online and Books of Liberty has links to the free versions on the site (as we do for many hundreds of other books). If you’d like physical copies of the books, I would normally encourage Books of Liberty readers to buy the books on Amazon through our affiliate links to generate a small commission that helps keep the lights on, however this month (June 2017) the Mises Institute’s bookstore is running a special offer, discounting Lessons for the Young Economist and the Teacher’s Manual by $10 each – cheaper than you can ever get on Amazon (use coupon code: “LESSONS”).
If you are a young economist, if you know one, or – better yet – if you homeschool a young economist, this book and the accompanying manual are for you and the Mises special offer is unbeatable. In the absence of a time machine, the best I can do is encourage others to do at a young age what I hadn’t until much later. And as always, thank you for reading!