Would anybody be interested in collectively reading a book over a period of a month (well, you can read it at any pace you want, but discussion would take place after the end of that month; that way people can read whatever else they want to read, apart from the book chosen)? We would choose a book, give a couple of weeks for everybody to get a copy (whether for free or by buying it), and then take a month to read it individually, and then come back and discuss.
I tried this over at shelfari, but with my group of two people obviously I did not get too far, lol.
I think that is a great idea. The problem is choosing a book. If it could be narrowed down to a handful then we could use the poll feature to have the Book Club members vote on the book for the month. So do you have any ideas about how to choose a book?
Since we have an indefinite amount of time, perhaps we can go by "topic of the month"? That is, choose a specific area in which the book can be categorized into, and choose (say) five of the major books on that topic (the topics can be something like IP, banking, et cetera). I was going to throw out a topic to see how this would end up working itself out, but I want to ask whether or not we should choose from books sold exclusively by Mises.org (or exclusively in the literature area and available for free, alternatively) or are people OK with choosing books outside of Mises.org?
Well the store has 'collections' which encompass many of the works they sell in a whole collection. We could do a collection month such as:
December - Gold Standard collection
January - History of Thought collection
February - War Collection
March - Libertarian collection
From these collections we can just have a random selection of works within them and then we can vote on what to read. When we get to the end of collection we can just revert to the beginning. For books not in Mises but still 'liberty-oriented' I think someone could present the title in the forums and then we could vote or perhaps gather a collection of non-Mises titles and vote.
'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael
I'm interested in joining the discussion group. I like the idea of having the discussion group vote on the book; the books would be from within the same collection (as LM suggested).
Here are some possible/basic discussion we could consider:
To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."
I think those are excellent discussion points for each book, and a very good way to start off the conversations.
That's fine with me. I'm always up for discussion and reading. I'd personally like to keep the selections on mises.org because of financial considerations, but other than that I'm okay with just about anything.
Great idea--I'm in.
I would be in.
"Man thinks not only for the sake of thinking, but also in order to act."-Ludwig von Mises
Count me in.
I'm also in
I would say Mises' Liberalism, De Jasay's The State or Nozick's Anarchy, State, Utopia.
Hamilton's Curse by Tom DiLorenzo; The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand.
In case there are newcomers interested, why don't we consider Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson... or something geared toward an introductory readership, etc. (But then again, perhaps our discussions surrounding more advanced books would potentially help an Austrian rookie...) Any thoughts?
austinite:I would take exception of two of them: The Fair Tax Book and Common Sense Fair Tax. The is no such thing as a fair tax. Tax is theft, what could possibly be fair about theft?
Just my opinion.
That is not a good reason (imo) to not read the book. We could still read it and then go through all its flaws. : )
My two suggestions are Man, Economy & State (including Power and Market).
The Economics of Prohibition by Mark Thornton
I don't know who advises the Roy Cordato book, but it's actually a bit disappointing. It doesn't add that much to the discussion in general.
Roger Garrison's book (Time & Money) is awesome, if you want to discuss the businesscycle - and it's relation to Keynes and monetarism - in great depth.
LIberalism is most likely to be Mises his worst book; but from a modern libertarian/anarchist perspective, there is probably a lot to debate on.
De Jasay's 'the state' is awesome, and definitely a book that gets better when you are able to discuss it with other people. So is Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia.
I'm not a big fan of Hamilton's Curse, because that's basically history; and is that really something you want to discuss?
I haven't read Rand's book, so I can't commend on that one at all.
2 suggestions; "Why Perestrojka Failed" by Peter Boettke, on the problem with socialism in theory and the real existing socialism in the Soviet Union. (It's on his website in pdf.)
"The Constitution of Liberty" by F. A. von Hayek; even though a lot of us will have severe comments on certain arguments he makes, the first 'philosophical' part has some merit that is worth looking into from a Misesian/Rothbardian point of view. (You can get the PDF-version online somewhere... :))
Just my 2 cents. :)
The state is not the enemy. The idea of the state is.
I wouldn't go for something introductory per se. Take for example Economics in One Lesson; basic and introductory. The 'problem' for this book in a bookclub however is the fact that it _is_ introductory. I've had some experience with book clubs and when you take a book that everyone agrees on, the bookclub sort of fails. :) That doesn't mean it has to be difficult; just no to basic.
That's why Constitution of Liberty would be a good suggestion. I love some parts, am neutral to others and 'hate' others; so it's bound to cause discussion.
I don't know the Spencer one, nor the Nock one, so I can't commend on those.
Hazlitt - The Foundations of Morality counts as one that fits the bill, I think, If I can add another suggestion.
That, I think is very good advice. It is the main reason I suggested ASU as when I first read it, I was still fairly new to libertarianism and it would be beneficial to reread it in light of other things I have read. Also, what you said about CoL I think for me fits exactly how I feel about ASU.
Yeah, ASU would be great, but, unfortunately, it's not available online (to my knowledge). If we want to keep entrycosts low, than is choosing a book that we can get a good idea. :) (I have it, so I don't care that much. :p)
I do believe The State is available online though, which would be a nice discussion starter. Though, I must admit I was rather biased in my picks too as I looked at which books were unread on the shelf or that I had been meaning to get back to.
You are correct. :)
Human Action is, of course, a masterpiece, and I have heard great things about Man, Economy, and State (although I have not read it). However, a full-blown treatise is a bit too ambitious for our first book IMO.
My offer for Rand's/Branden's The Virtue of Selfishness still stands. It is available online for free right here:
I wholeheartedly agree that Human Action is mindshattering and that any student of human society would do well to read it and reread it. However, I think its length might be too ambitious as a previous poster stated for the initial selection. "The Law" is an excellent work that could be read in less then a day, i don't know how much discussion would be gotten from it by students who are intermediate to advanced in their studies though there is always merit in rereading a work especially a classic.