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Peter Boettke's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Peter Boettke recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Peter Boettke's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Why does liberal democracy take hold in some countries but not in others? Why do we observe such different outcomes in military interventions, from Germany and Japan to Afghanistan and Iraq? Do efforts to export democracy help as much as they hurt? These are some of the most enduring questions of our time.

Historically, the United States has attempted to generate change in foreign countries by exporting liberal democratic institutions through military occupation and reconstruction. Despite these efforts, the record of U.S.-led reconstructions has been mixed, at best. For every West...
Recommended by Peter Boettke, and 1 others.

Peter BoettkeThis book is amazing. Coyne took on the topic of how successful the US can be at exporting democracy and the free market in after-war situations. This became a big venture in the 20th century, when the US became much more aggressive about this idea that we could intervene to try to help make other countries better off. Part of it was for geopolitical reasons – after 9/11 we believed that one of... (Source)

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Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss--it's time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates' notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & Bones? Why did they create a pirate code? Were pirates really ferocious madmen? And what made them so successful? The Invisible Hook uses economics to examine these and other infamous aspects... more
Recommended by Peter Boettke, Adrian Tinniswood, and 2 others.

Peter BoettkeI gave you these two books because I think economics is both a deadly serious subject – ultimately it’s about life and death, whether people are living on $2 a day or if they can have longer and healthier lives – but it’s also this fascinating subject that you should read with a great smile on your face. As I tell my students, economics is the sexiest subject you will ever study. (Source)

Adrian TinniswoodIt’s great fun. Peter Leeson bandies clichés around in a delightful way. He talks about the briny deep and walking the plank. But, essentially, it’s a book about economics in the world of the 17th-century pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a very good example of the way that pirates have been co-opted to different people’s needs. With Leeson, he sees them as proto-capitalists in a free market. Others... (Source)

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This collection of essays from one of the major Austrian economists working in the world today brings together in one place some of his key writings on a variety of economic issues. less
Recommended by Peter Boettke, and 1 others.

Peter BoettkeThe Elgar Companion is a big book with a lot of short essays about Austrian economics. My other books are much more about specific things, so, for example, I’ve written three books on the history and practice and collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union, and the transition from it. My book Calculation and Coordination is the last one on that, all essays in post-socialist transition. The easiest... (Source)

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Human Action

A Treatise on Economics

In the foreword to Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Mises explains complex market phenomena as "the outcomes of countless conscious, purposive actions, choices, and preferences of individuals, each of whom was trying as best as he or she could under the circumstances to attain various wants and ends and to avoid undesired consequences." It is individual choices in response to personal subjective value judgments that ultimately determine market phenomena—supply and demand, prices, the pattern of production, and even profits and losses. Although governments may presume... more
Recommended by Charles Koch, Peter Boettke, and 2 others.

Peter BoettkeDo you believe that Michele Bachmann reads this book at the beach? (Source)

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In this collection of writings, Nobel laureate Friedrich A. Hayek discusses topics from moral philosophy and the methods of the social sciences to economic theory as different aspects of the same central issue: free markets versus socialist planned economies. First published in the 1930s and 40s, these essays continue to illuminate the problems faced by developing and formerly socialist countries.

F. A. Hayek, recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, taught at the University of Chicago, the University of London, and the...
Recommended by Tyler Cowen, Peter Boettke, and 2 others.

Tyler CowenHayek puts forward a general theory of how decentralised processes work, why they are so powerful and can use and mobilise and distribute information so well. (Source)

Peter BoettkeHe argues that the price system systematically communicates dispersed information that you and I hold. (Source)

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