100 books like Radicals for Capitalism

By Brian Doherty,

Here are 100 books that Radicals for Capitalism fans have personally recommended if you like Radicals for Capitalism. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Road to Serfdom

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

The classic exposition of the idea that central governmental economic planning will inevitably be wasteful and tyrannical. Hayek today is caricatured by both right and left, but he is not the minimal state absolutist that both sides often take him to be. Hayek thinks that the way to attack poverty is not redistribution – there isn’t yet enough wealth in existence to give everyone a decent life – but the opportunities created by free markets. Another impetus for my own work was reading this book and discovering that I agreed with him much more than I had expected to. 

By F. A. Hayek, Bruce Caldwell (editor),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Road to Serfdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, "The Road to Serfdom" has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944 - when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program - "The Road to Serfdom" was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but…


Book cover of Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World

Jonathan Rothwell Author Of A Republic of Equals: A Manifesto for a Just Society

From my list on why some people tend to be richer or poorer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Inequality and fairness are basic issues in human conflict and cooperation that have long fascinated me. Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, I was confronted with the extreme racial segregation of schools and neighborhoods. My Catholic upbringing taught me to cherish the cardinal virtues of justice, wisdom, courage, and temperance, and my education in political economy taught me that markets can fairly and efficiently allocate resources, when legal power is evenly shared. My formal education culminated in a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Princeton University, which led me to my current roles: Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Principal Economist at Gallup. I care deeply about the social conditions that create cooperation and conflict.

Jonathan's book list on why some people tend to be richer or poorer

Jonathan Rothwell Why did Jonathan love this book?

Can ideas change the world? How does belief in political equality—the idea that everyone deserves basic unbridgeable liberties—affect innovation and economic development?

Dierdre McCloskey—one of the most creative and interesting economists alive—takes on these topics and much more in her characteristically witty, fast-paced style. She loves describing and refuting bad ideas—or even ideas widely regarded as brilliant—in an effort to go deeper into the forces that lifted humans out of poverty and sustain innovation to this day.

By Deirdre Nansen McCloskey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bourgeois Equality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's little doubt that most humans today are better off than their forebears. Stunningly so, the economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey argues in the concluding volume of her trilogy celebrating the oft-derided virtues of the bourgeoisie. The poorest of humanity, McCloskey shows, will soon be joining the comparative riches of Japan and Sweden and Botswana. Why? Most economists from Adam Smith and Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty say the Great Enrichment since 1800 came from accumulated capital. McCloskey disagrees, fiercely. "Our riches," she argues, "were made not by piling brick on brick, bank balance on bank balance, but by piling…


Book cover of Free Market Fairness

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

Tomasi offers a new synthesis of Rawlsian high liberalism and market-oriented libertarianism, which he calls "market democracy." It treats capitalistic economic freedoms as crucial elements of liberty, but demands that institutions be designed so that their benefits are shared by the least fortunate citizens. His central focus is the value of entrepreneurial activity as a moral ideal. I have a lot of disagreements with this book, but without its smart provocations I might not have written my own.

By John Tomasi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free Market Fairness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can libertarians care about social justice? In Free Market Fairness, John Tomasi argues that they can and should. Drawing simultaneously on moral insights from defenders of economic liberty such as F. A. Hayek and advocates of social justice such as John Rawls, Tomasi presents a new theory of liberal justice. This theory, free market fairness, is committed to both limited government and the material betterment of the poor. Unlike traditional libertarians, Tomasi argues that property rights are best defended not in terms of self-ownership or economic efficiency but as requirements of democratic legitimacy. At the same time, he encourages egalitarians…


Book cover of Principles For A Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With The Common Good

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

This is the best contemporary introduction to the way in which laws that facilitate market transactions promote peace and prosperity. When philosophy students are introduced to libertarianism, they typically read Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, but Epstein’s book is more illuminating and more carefully argued. As with Hayek, I didn’t read this in a friendly spirit, but I was persuaded by the big picture. We disagree about details – a lot of details – but the basic story is sound.

By Richard A. Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Principles For A Free Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The countrys leading libertarian scholar sets forth the essential principles for a legal order that, in an age of limited government, balances individual liberty against the common good.. Richard Epstein, one of our countrys most distinguished legal scholars, sets out an authoritative set of principles that explains both the uses and the limits of government power. Drawing on the work of multiple disciplines, this book offers a thoroughly realized blueprint to guide us through political conflict in the troubled times ahead. }As government budgets come under political fire and free-market ideals spread, the legal and social principles of libertarian thought…


Book cover of Capitalism and Freedom

Jeffrey A. Miron Author Of Libertarianism, from A to Z

From my list on Libertarianism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jeffrey Miron has taught a popular course on libertarian principles at Harvard for 17 years, explaining how to apply libertarianism to economic and social affairs. Miron also serves as the Vice President for Research at the libertarian Cato Institute. Miron has a consistent track record of defending libertarian policies, such as the legalization of all drugs, vastly expanded legal immigration (perhaps to the point of open borders), drastically reduced government expenditure, and substantial deregulation.

Jeffrey's book list on Libertarianism

Jeffrey A. Miron Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Capitalism and Freedom is the greatest exposition of the consequential case for libertarianism. In other words, Milton Friedman’s case for libertarian policies rests not on moral assumptions or “natural” rights but on showing that capitalism is important because it has positive consequences – it enables human prosperity and flourishment.

Perhaps as importantly, Capitalism and Freedom shows that economic freedom is a necessary condition not just for economic prosperity but for personal and political freedom. Thus, free markets are not only compatible with democracy (contra what many people claim), but a necessary condition for protecting democracy and personal freedoms.

This book’s outlook is probably the closest to the one articulated in my book. It is also the most recent one on the list, making it an easy read.

By Milton Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Capitalism and Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of TIME magazine's All-TIME 100 Best Nonfiction Books
One of Times Literary Supplement's Hundred Most Influential Books Since the War
One of National Review's 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Century
One of Intercollegiate Studies Institute's 50 Best Books of the 20th Century How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, Milton Friedman provides the definitive statement of an immensely influential economic philosophy--one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.

First published…


Book cover of The Most Dangerous Superstition

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

From my list on libertarian politics and economics.

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. 

Mark's book list on libertarian politics and economics

Mark Gober Why did Mark 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 For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

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

From my list on libertarian politics and economics.

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. 

Mark's book list on libertarian politics and economics

Mark Gober Why did Mark 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 People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization

Alex Krieger Author Of City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present

From my list on aspirations and unfulfilled promises in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the topic of these books has grown across four decades of teaching about cities and urban planning at Harvard, and in active practice as an architect and urban designer. At any moment a city’s very physicality reflects both a culture’s aspirations and the limitations of that culture to achieve those aspirations. Cities are, in a way, compromises in time: among efforts to preserve a past, overcome the challenges of the present, and pursuit of plans for the future. My book focuses on the role of American ideals especially in city and community building, while the five I recommend offer crucial counterpoints about the difficulties and setbacks encountered in reaching for national ideals.  

Alex's book list on aspirations and unfulfilled promises in America

Alex Krieger Why did Alex love this book?

For starters an absolutely brilliant book title: beautifully capturing the complexities of American culture, at once compelled by soaring social aspirations while tending to act out of pure individualism often with disdain for social impact. The narrative abounds in identifying seemingly contradictory national impulses – imported vs. Indigenous traditions, socialism vs. libertarianism, utopian vs. prosaic undertakings, the welcoming of and resisting of others – with the author arguing that through the interaction of such opposite impulses over time the particular genius of American society evolved. Kammen delights in reminding Americans of our “unstable pluralism,” and supports William James’ conclusion that “Americanism” continues to be a “volatile mixture of hopeful good and curable bad.”  Overall impressive scholarship and a delightful read.   

By Michael Kammen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked People of Paradox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the beginning, what has given our culture its distinctive texture, pattern, and thrust, according to Michael Kammen, is the dynamic interaction of the imported and the indigenous. He shows how, during the years of colonization, some ideas and institutions were transferred virtually intact from Britain, while, simultaneously, others were being transformed in the New World. As he unravels the tangled origins of our culture, he makes us see that unresolved contradictions in the American experience have created our national style. Puritanical and hedonistic, idealistic and materialistic, peace-loving and war-mongering: these opposing strands go back to the genesis of our…


Book cover of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Economics

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

From my list on libertarian politics and economics.

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. 

Mark's book list on libertarian politics and economics

Mark Gober Why did Mark 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,…


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

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

From my list on libertarian politics and economics.

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. 

Mark's book list on libertarian politics and economics

Mark Gober Why did Mark 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…

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…


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