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The Capitalist's Book Club
The Center's 'Capitalist's Book Club' recommends some of the the best books on the case for capitalism and individual freedom. When you buy books from our bookstore at up to 40% off retail prices through our association with the Internet's leading online store, Amazon.com, you not only expand your own knowledge, you also help us expand our efforts and communicate the case for freedom to an even larger audience.

Philosophy

The Capitalist Manifesto :
The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire

By Andrew Bernstein
Paperback 500 pages
(September 2005)
Publisher: University Press of America
ISBN: 0761832211

As recently as the late 1980s, intellectuals were still discussing the supposed approaching convergence between communism and capitalism. It was claimed that the capitalist United States was suffering from an inadequacy of social services, while the Soviet Union failed to protect personal freedom. Faced with such problems, it was argued that the US and Soviet systems would eventually meet halfway, with the US becoming more socialist and the Soviet Union less totalitarian.

It wasn’t until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the absurd notion of “convergence” was finally discredited along with most remaining hopes of establishing a so-called socialist paradise. Partly as a result, there was a resurgence of interest in capitalism and the reasons for its success, and a host of books have since been published seeking to explain various aspects of the capitalist system.

What was missing, however, was a single volume that presented the historical origins, moral justification, and practical success of capitalism. Such a volume would correct the misconceptions most people still have of capitalism’s origins and early history, and answer their misgivings over the justice of laissez-faire. Andrew Bernstein’s The Capitalist Manifesto succeeds admirably as such a book. » Read the entire review. » Buy it!

 

Loving Life:
The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It

By Craig Biddle
Paperback 160 pages
(January 2002)
Publisher: Glen Allen Press
ISBN: 0971373701

The material abundance and individual freedom that is the hallmark of capitalism rests on upon the ethics of self-interest, but today perhaps no code of morality is more misunderstood and maligned. In a profound yet easily accessible text, Craig Biddle demolishes the conventional wisdom that holds sacrifice as a moral ideal and offers a compelling alternative.

Through examples drawn from today's headlines, historical analysis and the examination of leading intellectual thinkers, Loving Life clearly demonstrates that morality is a matter not of divine revelation or social convention or personal opinion—but, rather, of the factual requirements of human life and happiness. Biddle shows how a true morality is derived logically from observable facts, what in essence such a morality demands, and why it is a matter of pure self-interest.

Loving Life exposes the baseless nature of the various moralities that call for human sacrifice and lead to human suffering and shows how a true morality is derived and implies—personally, socially, and politically. With clarity and elegance, Biddle demonstrates the principles, values, and virtues that are essential to human life and happiness; and he defines and defends the social and political conditions that are required for people to live together as civilized beings.

This book is the perfect book to give to a friend or relative who needs an intellectual jumpstart in their lives. » Buy it!

 

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
By Ayn Rand
Paperback Mass Market Reissue edition
(August 1984)
New American Library
ISBN: 0451147952

This is Ayn Rand's presentation of the moral and philosophical case for capitalism. It includes theoretical essays defining the nature of capitalism and the moral foundation of individual rights, articles outlining the proper application of capitalism to such issues as patents and copyrights and public ownership of the airwaves, essays on the historical record of capitalism, and commentary on specific political events. (Of particular interest are two essays written in the 1960s by Alan Greenspan defending the gold standard and attacking antitrust.) The sum is a refutation of the myriad smears against capitalism and the presentation, for the first time, of a genuine intellectual foundation for the defense of capitalism. » Buy it!

 

Objectivism:
The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
(The Ayn Rand Library, Volume VI)

by Leonard Peikoff
Paperback Reprint edition (December 1993)
493 pages
Meridian Books;
ISBN: 0452011019;

Capitalism cannot be defended without a philosophic foundation; it is impossible to argue that the free market is moral unless we know what morality is and how it can be derived. And to know that, we have to know the fundamental nature of man and of the world in which he lives. This book provides that foundation. It is the only definitive, all-in-one-place statement of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. It presents, clearly and systematically, her revolutionary philosophic defense of objective reality, reason, and individualism. » Buy it!

 

Return of the Primitive:
The Anti-Industrial Revolution

by Peter Schwartz (Editor), Ayn Rand
Paperback New expanded edition (January 1999)
304 pages 
Meridian Books;
ISBN: 0452011841

This book was originally published in 1971 as a dissection of the then-emerging "New Left." Most notable are Ayn Rand's essays exposing the student "rebels" of the sixties as slavish conformists to the philosophic trends of the "establishment," and her ruthless indictment of environmentalism as a philosophy of human suffering. The book has recently been updated with new essays by Peter Schwartz on the New Left's contemporary manifestations: environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism. The book also provides a value beyond its analysis of these particular trends: it exposes the philosophical roots and underlying mentality behind the attacks on capitalism. » Buy it!

 

Atlas Shrugged
35th Anniversary Edition

by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff (Introduction)
Hardcover (March 1992)
35th anniversary edition
1168 pages
E P Dutton;
ISBN: 0525934189 ; 
Dimensions (in inches): 2.25 x 9.33 x 6.41
Mass Market Paperback (August 1996)
35th anniversary edition
1075 pages
Signet;
ISBN: 0451191145;
Dimensions (in inches): 1.68 x 6.87 x 4.20

Ayn Rand's gripping novel is also a brilliant dramatization of the moral issues behind the battle between capitalism and statism. The story follows a railroad executive, Dagny Taggart, as she investigates the gradual disappearance of the country's great industrialists, while fighting to keep her railroad alive in the face of strangling government controls. The answers to her search, and the results of her battle, dramatize the crucial role of the world's thinkers and producers, and the conditions necessary to allow them to continue thinking and producing. » Buy it!

 

Why Businessmen Need Philosophy
by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff
Paperback (January 21, 1999)
203 pages 
The Ayn Rand Institute Press;
ISBN: 0962533629

This recent anthology from the Ayn Rand Institute provides essays on the moral and philosophic meaning of a variety of current political issues, from immigration to the FDA. Of particular interest are two essays that are crucial to understanding the case against the antitrust laws: "The Dollar and the Gun," by Harry Binswanger, and "The Philosophical Origins of Antitrust," by John Ridpath. But the most important message is contained in the title essay: the crucial importance to businessmen of understanding philosophy, as the basis and defense of their productive efforts. » Buy it!


Economics

Economics in One Lesson : 50th Anniversary Edition
by Henry Hazlitt
Hardcover (July 1996)
50th anniversary edition 
Fox & Wilkes;
ISBN: 0930073207
Paperback
50th anniversary edition (July 1996)
Fox & Wilkes;
ISBN: 0930073193

This classic, easy-to-read primer on free-market economics explores the disastrous consequences of a variety of government controls, from minimum wage laws to rent control to protectionism. But more important, it exposes a crucial, erroneous method used to justify all of these measures: the focus on immediate, short-term consequences without regard for long-term consequences. » Buy it!

 

Antitrust: The Case for Repeal
by Dominick T. Armentano
Paperback (April 15, 1999)
112 pages 
Ludwig Von Mises Institute;
ISBN: 0945466250

Armentano presents a devastating critique of the antitrust laws, efficiently revealing the intellectual bankruptcy that drives today's antitrust activism. Armentano makes the key identification regarding the nature of antitrust laws: they are employed against innovative businesses that have increased production and lowered prices, i.e. that they are a direct assault on success. Filled with horrific examples taken from today's headlines, the author deciphers the major economic arguments in favor of antitrust and demolishes them all. » Buy it!

 

Breaking the Banks
by Richard Salsman
Paperback (June 1990)
American Institute for Economic Research;
ISBN: 9995129043

Socialists used to boast that their goal was to take over the "commanding heights" of the economy—that is, the crucial industries on which the rest of the economy depends. One of these "heights" is the banking system, which was taken over by the government with the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913. This book examines the system of free banking and the gold standard which operated for the 75 years prior to 1913, versus the subsequent 75 years of central banking and fiat paper money (ending in the late 1980s, when the book was written—and the country's banking system was in shambles). Salsman shows how free banking delivered sound and reliable money, safe banks, and unprecedented industrial growth. By contrast, he argues, central banking has caused inflation and deflation, a severe deterioration in the soundness of banks, and sub-par growth. This book makes a comprehensive case for a free market in money and banking, and its closing chapter provides a clear program for dismantling the central banks and allowing free banks to flourish. » Buy it!


History

Empire Builders : How Michigan Entrepreneurs Helped Make America Great
by Burton W. Folsom, Jr.
Hardcover (February 1998)
224 pages
Rhodes & Easton;
ISBN: 1890394068

This book tells the incredible story of Michigan's rise to economic greatness by examining the lives of its industrial geniuses. Folsom includes several erroneous evaluations, especially his attempt to link business success to "biblical precepts." But evaluations aside, the book provides ample evidence, simply by reporting on the lives of Michigan's greatest producers, of the heroic efforts of these great achievers—and of the producer's need to be left free of state control. » Buy it!


Management

The Prime MoversThe Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators
by Edwin A. Locke
Hardcover 240 pages (April 2000)
AMACOM
ISBN: 0814405703

Although many factors set the stage for wealth creation (especially economic freedom), in the end, the wealth has to be created by specific individuals—and some are much better at it than others. Dr. Locke calls those who are very good at wealth creation 'Prime Movers'. By identifying the traits that move the movers, Locke shows that these men and women are both productive and moral. » Buy it!


Contemporary Events

The Microsoft Way : The Real Story of How the Company Outsmarts Its Competition
by Randall E. Stross
Paperback (September 1997)
318 pages 
Perseus Press;
ISBN: 020132797X

A myth-shattering portrayal of how Bill Gates and Microsoft have earned their success. Stross, a business reporter given unlimited access to Microsoft's internal records, shows how the company thrives by seeking out, nurturing, and rewarding intelligence. This book helps provide the facts to show why Microsoft deserves a moral defense against the antitrust laws—but it also provides a timeless depiction of the moral virtues required to build a successful company.
» Buy it!

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