The best books on libertarian politics and economics—with a backdrop of morality

Why am I passionate about this?

I previously had no interest in politics, but in 2020 the world became so politically charged that I wanted to better understand the landscape. That led me down a rabbit hole of questioning the basic assumptions about what government is and why we have it. Fortunately, there are many brilliant thinkers whose work I was able to study. I ultimately integrated this thinking into my own worldview. This list of books provides a starting point for thinking about our world—and the nature of reality—in an entirely new way. They certainly helped to alter my views, and they all contain excellent references if you’d like to explore them even further. 

I wrote...

An End to Upside Down Liberty: Turning Traditional Political Thinking on Its Head to Break Free from Enslavement

By Mark Gober,

Book cover of An End to Upside Down Liberty: Turning Traditional Political Thinking on Its Head to Break Free from Enslavement

What is my book about?

What exactly is government? Why do we have it? In an ideal world, how would we organize society? In Mark Gober’s An End to Upside Down Liberty, he breaks down the traditional governing philosophy used in society today—known as statismand shows its fundamental and dangerous flaws. He instead proposes a brighter vision for the future by exploring voluntaryism—a governing system that ties political theory to morality, metaphysics, and the nature of consciousness. Get ready for a wild ride that takes politics and economics into areas you probably hadn’t considered before.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

Mark Gober Why did I love this book?

For a New Liberty breaks apart traditional assumptions about politics in ways that I hadn’t considered until reading this book.

Rothbard uses common-sense reasoning to explain the problems with our governing structures today and paves the way for a whole new paradigm. Even more than that, Rothbard shows how society could look in the future if government functions were privatized.

This book is also a great primer for the “Austrian School” of economics. I had many aha moments when reading this book, and it helped change my worldview. 

By Murray N. Rothbard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For a New Liberty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Rothbard proposes a once-and-for-all escape from the two major political parties, the ideologies they embrace, and their central plans for using state power against people. Libertarianism is Rothbard's radical alternative that says state power is unworkable and immoral and ought to be curbed and finally overthrown.To make his case, Rothbard deploys his entire system of thought: natural law, natural rights, Austrian economics, American history, the theory of the state, and more.It is relentless, scientific, analytical, and morally energetic — a book that makes an overwhelming case. Indeed, it gave an entire movement…

Book cover of The Most Dangerous Superstition

Mark Gober Why did I love this book?

This book is not for the faint of heart: it challenges deeply held assumptions about government that many of us have had since childhood.

Larken Rose critiques the basic role of “authority” in society and shows its moral and philosophical flaws. I’ve heard from so many readers that this book caused a paradigm shift in the way that they view government. There are certain concepts that you can’t “unhear” after you encounter them…and you’ll find many such ideas in this book.

I can say this from personal experience! 

By Larken Rose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Most Dangerous Superstition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When someone looks out at the world and sees all manner of suffering and injustice, stretching back for thousands of years and continuing today, he invariably blames such problems on someone else's hatred, greed, or stupidity. Rarely will someone consider the possibility that his own belief system is the cause of the pain and suffering he sees around him. But in most cases, it is. The root cause of most of society's ills--the main source of man's inhumanity to man--is neither malice nor negligence, but a mere superstition--an unquestioned assumption which has been accepted on faith by nearly everyone, of…

Book cover of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters

Mark Gober Why did I love this book?

You won’t often see books about the nature of reality and consciousness alongside political and economic theory. So why do I include it? Because politics and economics are, at their core, tied to fundamental questions like “who are we?" and "why are we here?”

Larry Dossey’s One Mind is one of the books that helped me view reality in a new way (and was one of the influences behind my first book). Previously, I viewed life as random and meaningless because I thought science was moving us away from “superstitious” ideas of “spirituality.” 

The topics covered in One Mind shifted me away from that viewpoint by examining scientific evidence that I didn’t know existed.

Science points to our innate—and invisible—interconnectedness, which creates a moral framework for thinking about how to structure society in new ways.

By Larry Dossey,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked One Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 20th century, we were introduced to several subdivisions of the mind: the conscious, unconscious, subconscious, preconscious, and so on. But what we didn't know was that there was another level of consciousness, an all-encompassing, infinite dimension of shared intelligence: the One Mind. This universal consciousness connects all of us through space and time. Emerging studies have shown that the One Mind isn't just an idea; it's a reality. In this book, Larry Dossey shares compelling experiences and research that support the One Mind concept, such as: Shared thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations with a distant individual Communication between…

Book cover of After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond

Mark Gober Why did I love this book?

Near-death experiences on the surface sound like they have no relationship to politics and economics. However, they allow us to make inferences about a “moral imperative” embedded within the structure of reality itself.

Near-death experiences are instances in which a person’s consciousness has remarkable perceptions—even though the person is sometimes clinically dead. In fact, the experiences are often reported to be “realer” than real. This perplexing phenomenon has been studied extensively by the University of Virginia’s Bruce Greyson, MD, and he explains in his book why many of these profound cases are likely not hallucinations. (And he further explained these concepts to me when I interviewed him for my podcast, Where Is My Mind?).

The life-changing messages from near-death experiences teach us that we are all interconnected at a deep and fundamental level. Many near-death-experience survivors even report that they relived their whole life, and they become each person that they impacted and felt the positive and negative ways they made others feel (known as a life review).

These moral insights can be used to rethink assumptions about how “government” should (and shouldn’t) be structured.  

By Bruce Greyson, MD,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world's leading expert on near-death experiences reveals his journey toward rethinking the nature of death, life, and the continuity of consciousness.

Cases of remarkable experiences on the threshold of death have been reported since ancient times, and are described today by 10% of people whose hearts stop. The medical world has generally ignored these “near-death experiences,” dismissing them as “tricks of the brain” or wishful thinking. But after his patients started describing events that he could not just sweep under the rug, Dr. Bruce Greyson began to investigate.

As a physician without a religious belief system, he approached near-death…

Book cover of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Economics

Mark Gober Why did I love this book?

DiLorenzo analyzes fundamental economic topics in a clear and understandable way.

This book helped me develop better counterarguments to many of the mainstream views on how the economy “should” work. For instance, he explains that although the government is supposed to try to help the economy, its policies are often driven by special interests that steer the economy in their own desired direction.

And he explains that although government central planning is supposed to help the environment, it often results in great environmental damage (such as the severe environmental harm done under the former Soviet Union).

DiLorenzo gives example after example of the ways in which governments damage the very economies that they are allegedly tasked with managing for the “greater good.” 

By Thomas J. DiLorenzo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Politically Incorrect Guide to Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Another entry in the best-selling, irreverent, hard-hitting Politically Incorrect Guide series! Economics from a rational, conservative viewpoint—that is, a refreshing look at how money actually works from an author who knows the score, and how the law of economics are frequently broken and derailed by pernicious leftists and virtue signaling progressives.

Markets Rule. Socialism Sucks.

Time to wise up. Think economics is the Dismal Science? No more! Here is the lowdown on the biases, superstitions, and outright falsehoods that permeate and corrupt economics and economic policy. Here's the skinny on the poisonous effects of socialism and crony capitalism. Even better,…

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Book cover of Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink

Ethan Chorin Author Of Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Story-lover Middle East expert Curious Iconoclast Optimist

Ethan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Benghazi: A New History is a look back at the enigmatic 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, its long-tail causes, and devastating (and largely unexamined) consequences for US domestic politics and foreign policy. It contains information not found elsewhere, and is backed up by 40 pages of citations and interviews with more than 250 key protagonists, experts, and witnesses.

So far, the book is the main -- and only -- antidote to a slew of early partisan “Benghazi” polemics, and the first to put the attack in its longer term historical, political, and social context. If you want to understand some of the events that have shaped present-day America, from political polarization and the election of Donald Trump, to January 6, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russian expansionism, and the current Israel-Hamas war, I argue, you need to understand some of the twists and turns of America's most infamous "non-scandal, scandal.”

I was in Benghazi well before, during, and after the attack as a US diplomat and co-director of a medical NGO. I have written three books, and have been a contributor to The NYT, Foreign Affairs, Forbes, Salon, The Financial Times, Newsweek, and others.

By Ethan Chorin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On September 11, 2012, Al Qaeda proxies attacked and set fire to the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing a US Ambassador and three other Americans.  The attack launched one of the longest and most consequential 'scandals' in US history, only to disappear from public view once its political value was spent. 

Written in a highly engaging narrative style by one of a few Western experts on Libya, and decidely non-partisan, Benghazi!: A New History is the first to provide the full context for an event that divided, incited, and baffled most of America for more than three years, while silently reshaping…

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