Read a book

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Read a book

With the legislative session behind us, we political and news junkies are feeling a bit of a void in our lives. (And if you think like I do, you’re probably also feeling a little nauseous over the results.)

But fear not, for I have the perfect solution: Find a good book. Books are engaging, they’re easily portable and, unlike the stuff you peruse online, the government hasn’t yet figured out how to spy on you while you read them … I don’t think.

Now, my suggestion would be that you pick up something on the lighter side — a good action thriller, perhaps — and take a break from the political and policy debates that so often consume your mind. But if you find yourself still needing that political/policy fix, there’s no shortage of superb choices for you to turn to this summer.

With that, here are my top five summer-reading recommendations for bookworms of a conservative/libertarian persuasion.

The Law by Frédéric Bastiat. Short, sweet and easy to digest, The Law makes a concise yet powerful case for limited government and individual liberty. If you know a burgeoning conservative who’s ready to start grounding his political instincts in a deeper and more coherent philosophical argument, this is the place to point him. And it’s also available for free online. Click here to read The Law.

The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek. One of the greatest free-market economic thinkers in history, Hayek makes a convincing argument that big and intrusive government, particularly in economic affairs, leads inevitably to tyranny. He also dismantles the myth that socialism and fascism exist at opposite ends of the political spectrum, arguing instead that because of their shared roots in collectivism, they are, in reality, only slightly different variants of state control over the actions of individuals.

The Myth of the Robber Barons by Burton W. Folsom. Remember those stories you used to hear in grade school about the greedy capitalists who got rich at the expense of everyone else? Turns out the truth looks a lot different. Folsom offers a fresh look at the men who built the American business world, and distinguishes the rent seekers (who really are deserving of scorn) from the genuine market entrepreneurs (who ought instead to be appreciated, lauded and emulated).

The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk. Credited by many as the book that kick-started the modern conservative movement in America, this Kirk classic serves as not only a brilliant articulation of conservative principles, but also an illuminating exploration of the giants of intellectual conservatism’s history, most notably Edmund Burke.

The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure by John A. Allison. All right, this one may be a little self-serving, since the author will be the keynote speaker at NPRI’s Spring Celebration in Reno next Wednesday. (Not registered yet? It’s not too late!) But hey, there’s a reason we chose him. Allison offers an incisive analysis of the real reasons behind America’s financial woes and, more importantly, shows how a return to sound, free-market principles is the remedy we need.

It goes without saying that this list overlooks a whole lot of very worthy selections. And you no doubt have your own favorite to recommend. So here’s what I’d like you to do: Email me with the one book you think no right-leaning reader can do without, and I’ll share the most popular selections next week.

As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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