Economics in One Lesson

By Henry Hazlitt,

Book cover of Economics in One Lesson

Book description

With over a million copies sold, Economics in One Lesson is an essential guide to the basics of economic theory. A fundamental influence on modern libertarianism, Hazlitt defends capitalism and the free market from economic myths that persist to this day.

Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the “Austrian…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Economics in One Lesson as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I think economics has a bad reputation, and it is mostly due to economists' either deliberately or inadvertently communicating poorly in class, on TV and radio, in podcasts, and in writing.

This book is none of that. It was written by a well-respected old-school journalist who could really write. I like its approach of short, punchy chapters. Hemmingway-like in its writing and style, it truly delivers what the title promises. I have a poster of this author on my office wall. 

While not explicitly from the Austrian School, Hazlitt’s book is perhaps the most popular “gateway drug” of sorts, guiding interested readers to the Austrian School.

What is the “one lesson” Hazlitt boils economics down to? All economic decisions have “opportunity costs.” In short, when we choose to use a resource for X, we forgo the opportunity to pursue Y. If you spend $5 on milk, that $5 is no longer available to buy eggs or bread. When a ton of steel is used in building a bridge, it is no longer available for use in building a skyscraper.  

What should…

From Brian's list on books to learn Austrian economics.

I read this book very early, because it was recommended to me by senior Austrian economists as the best introduction to the Austrian School, being much easier to read than Human Action.

Hazlitt´s book is a classic. It destroys many fallacies such as the broken window fallacy. Hazlitt´s book is unrivaled as an introduction into sound economic thinking.

From Philipp's list on Austrian economics.

There is no book from which you can absorb more economics with less effort. Readers new to economics should start here. Readers familiar with economics should return here often.

From Peter's list on economics and political economy.

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