Tom Woods: Learn Austrian Economics

In this crucial time of Keynesian madness, it is essential that everyone who wishes to avoid being wiped out by central planners tries to educate themselves with true economics rather than the Golgafrincham-style insanity of the one-tool-fits-all money cranks and currency printers of the Keynesian school.

Tom Woods, of, has therefore produced an excellent comprehensive guide to learning Austrian Economics. The original guide can be found, here. Tom has given me permission to reproduce this superb guide, as below:

Learn Austrian Economics

The past several years have seen a revival of interest in the Austrian School of economics. (For some background on the Austrian School, read this essay and this essay.) I’ve assembled this resource list to help beginners embark on a program of self-education in the Austrian School. I have marked a few titles with ** to indicate their importance.

Many of the books and audiobooks, in addition to all of the articles, that appear on the list below are available to read or listen to online.

An Introduction to Economic Reasoning

These three books, all relatively short and available online or for purchase, are an excellent starting point for an education in sound economics.

**Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; online here
Essentials of Economics by Faustino Ballve; online here (.pdf)
An Introduction to Austrian Economics by Thomas C. Taylor; online here and here (.pdf)

A useful companion to Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is this series of videos, recorded in July-August 2008, in which various professors comment on each of the book’s chapters – explaining the argument, elaborating on it, and applying it to present conditions. (Need Windows Media Player.)

Video 1: The Lesson
Video 2: The Broken Window
Video 3: Public Works Mean Taxes
Video 4: Credit Diverts Production
Video 5: The Curse of Machinery
Video 6: Disbanding Troops and Bureaucrats
Video 7: Who’s Protected by Tariffs?
Video 8: “Parity” Prices
Video 9: How the Price System Works
Video 10: Minimum Wage Laws
Video 11: The Function of Profits
Video 12: The Assault on Saving

Additional Introductory Reading in Economics

The Concise Guide to Economics by Jim Cox
Making Economic Sense by Murray N. Rothbard
Free Market Economics: A Reader by Bettina Bien Greaves
Free Market Economics: A Syllabus by Bettina Bien Greaves
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy
The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury (great for homeschoolers)
The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 4


**What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar by Murray N. Rothbard; mp3 audio
**The Ethics of Money Production by Jörg Guido Hülsmann (should be read after the title above); .pdf here
Gold, Peace, and Prosperity (.pdf) by Ron Paul; mp3 audio
“Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve” (documentary, via Google Video)
The Case for Gold by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman
The Case Against the Fed by Murray N. Rothbard (.pdf here; audiobook)
End the Fed by Ron Paul
The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 6 (audiobook)
The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School, ed. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.; .pdf here
A History of Money and Banking in the United States by Murray N. Rothbard; .pdf here
“The Myth of the ‘Independent’ Fed” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Did Greenspan Deserve Support for Another Term? (.pdf) by Joseph T. Salerno (mp3 audio)
The Path to Sound Money” (mp3 audio) by George Reisman
The Economics of Inflation” (mp3 audio) by George Reisman

The Business Cycle

**The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays (online here; audiobook here).
Meltdown by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
America’s Great Depression, 5th ed. (html here, .pdf here) by Murray N. Rothbard
Business Cycle Primer” by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Sound Money and the Business Cycle” by John P. Cochran
Who Predicted the Bubble? Who Predicted the Crash?” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton
Mises vs. Fisher on Money, Method, and Prediction: The Case of the Great Depression” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton
Predicting Booms and Busts” (mp3 audio) by Mark Thornton
Banking and the Business Cycle” (mp3 audio) by Joseph T. Salerno


Articles and Monograph:

Deflation and Depression: Where’s the Link?” by Joseph T. Salerno
Apoplithorismosphobia” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton. (Thornton coined the term to refer to the fear of deflation.)
An Austrian Taxonomy of Deflation – With Applications to the U.S. by Joseph T. Salerno
Deflation and Liberty by Jörg Guido Hülsmann; audiobook

Audio (in mp3 audio):

On Deflation” by Joseph T. Salerno
The Economics of Deflation” by Jörg Guido Hülsmann
The Gold Standard in Theory and in Myth” by Joseph T. Salerno

Advanced Texts in Austrian Economics

Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles by Murray N. Rothbard

This version also contains the book Power and Market, which had originally been intended as the concluding section of Man, Economy, and State but was released in 1970 as a separate title. The entire text is also available online here. A study guide is available for purchase and online (.pdf).

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (read online) by Ludwig von Mises

Mises’ magnum opus. A study guide is available for purchase and online (.pdf). I recommend reading Man, Economy, and State first, though some disagree with me.

Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles (.pdf) by Jesús Huerta de Soto

A sweeping and historic contribution to the literature of the Austrian School, showing how monetary freedom avoids the disadvantages of fiat money, including inflation, business cycles, and financial bubbles.

Foreign Aid and Development Economics

Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion by Peter Bauer
From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays by Peter Bauer
The Marshall Plan: Myths and Realities” (.pdf) by Tyler Cowen
The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics by William Easterly
The History of Foreign Aid Programs” (mp3) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

(These critiques of development aid are not specifically Austrian, but may be of use to those interested in Austrian economics.)

Additional Readings in Austrian Economics

The Economics and Ethics of Private Property by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (read online) by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Economic Science and the Austrian Method (read online) by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Praxeology and Understanding: An Analysis of the Controversy in Austrian Economics (read online) by George Selgin

Introduction to Austrian Economic Analysis: A Ten-Lecture Course

This course with Professor Joseph Salerno of Pace University, courtesy of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, is available in both video and mp3 audio at the links below. Recommended supplemental reading follows each lecture.

Lecture 1: Scarcity, Choice, and Value – Audio and Video

Percy L. Greaves, Jr., Understanding the Dollar Crisis, pp. 1-20, 27-54
Milton M. Shapiro, Foundations of the Market-Price System, pp. 81-113
Thomas C. Taylor, An Introduction to Austrian Economics, pp. 40-51 (ch. 4)

Lecture 2: Exchange and Demand – Audio and Video

Shapiro, pp. 31-58, 115-78
Taylor, pp. 12-39 (chs. 2-3)
Leonard Read, “I, Pencil”

Lecture 3: The Determination of Prices – Audio and Video

Greaves, pp. 65-91
Shapiro, pp. 179-233
Taylor, pp. 52-62 (ch. 5)

Murray N. Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking, pp. 15-27 (online pp. 14-23)

Lecture 4: Price Controls: Case Studies – Audio and Video

Lecture 5: Profit, Loss, and the Entrepreneur – Audio and Video
Taylor, pp. 74-89 (ch. 7)

Ludwig von Mises, “Profit and Loss,” in Mises, Planning for Freedom and Sixteen Other Essays and Addresses, pp. 108-30

Lecture 6: Pricing of the Factors of Production and the Labor Market – Audio and Video

Henry N. Sanborn, What, How, For Whom: The Decisions of Economic Organization, pp. 112-85

Taylor, pp. 63-73 (ch. 6)
Greaves, pp. 105-32
Murray N. Rothbard, “Restrictionist Pricing of Labor,” in Rothbard, The Logic of Action Two

Lecture 7: Capital, Interest and the Structure of Production – Audio and Video

Shapiro, pp. 235-60
Mark Skousen, The Structure of Production, pp. 133-49
Richard Fink, “Economic Growth and Market Processes,” in Fink, ed., Supply-Side Economics: A Critical Appraisal, pp. 372-94

Lecture 8: Competition and Monopoly – Audio and Video

Shapiro, pp. 319-72
Sanborn, pp. 62-65
Hans Sennholz, “The Phantom Called ‘Monopoly,’” in Bettina B. Greaves, ed., Free Market Economics: A Basic Reader, pp. 162-69
Sudha R. Shenoy, “The Sources of Monopoly,” in New Individualist Review, pp. 793-96

Lecture 9: Money and Prices – Audio and Video

Greaves, pp. 141-67
Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money? pp. 1-96 (online, chs. I-III; online .pdf, pp. 7-48).
Rothbard, The Case Against the Fed, pp. 29-69 (or Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking, pp. 77-177; online, pp. 52-108)

Lecture 10: Banking and the Business Cycle – Audio and Video

Ludwig von Mises, et al., The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays, Read: Garrison, Introduction and Summary; Mises’s essay and Rothbard’s essay.
Taylor, pp. 90-95 (ch. 8)

Additional Introductory Lectures in Austrian Economics
The Mises University, the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s week-long summer instructional program in Austrian economics, amounts to a crash course on the subject. Consult the Mises University audio archive for many additional lectures.

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9 replies on “Tom Woods: Learn Austrian Economics”
  1. says: Lee Kelly

    The name “Rothbard” appears 13 times in the text quoted above, but the name “Hayek” doesn’t appear once. I like Woods, but I do not like his particular brand of Austrian economics.

  2. says: Andy Duncan

    Hi Lee,

    What Hayek books would you recommend to help people learn Austrian economics? If you can, can you provide HTML links, especially to online free versions of Hayek texts. Can you also provide us with some short descriptive text to outline which aspect of Austrian economics is particularly outlined by the particular Hayek essay/book?

    I’m a Rothbardian myself, so I love Tom Woods’ particular brand of Austrian economics, but we’re a broad church at the Cobden Centre, and speaking just for myself, I’m more than happy to hear Hayek book recommendations, especially if they help people learn Austrian economics for themselves.

    I’m particularly a fan of Prices and Production, which IMHO is Hayek’s best ‘straight’ economic book.


    1. says: Andy Duncan

      PS> Lee, you’ll also find at the front of the free online (and published) version of ‘Prices and Production’ linked to above, the LvMI have printed the following message:

      The Ludwig von Mises Institute thanks
      Toby Baxendale
      for his magnificent sponsorship of the publication of this book.

      But that’s enough crawling from me, for one day.

  3. says: Lee Kelly


    No — that’s my answer to most of your questions, because I have little desire to. But so what? It is not as though the validity of my comments depends on it.

    In any case, admittedly, Rothbard wrote to a more general audience than Hayek, and his style is much simpler to follow. I wouldn’t expect to see too many instances of “Hayek”, but none at all? (Though presumably Hayek is frequently mentioned in some of the texts).

    Clearly one can be a Rothbardian and like Hayek or a Hayekian and like Rothbard (did I say otherwise?). That said, Hayek and Rothbard’s views differed considerably on some matters, and on those matters I believe Hayek was right and Rothbard was wrong. So in my view, Woods’s guide, while good, is baised toward the bad side of Austrian economics. In other words, I like woods, but not his particular brand of Austrian economics.

    As for Toby Baxendlale’s sponsorship of Prices and Production — I am pleased. (I bought the book from the Mises Institute itself in Auburn!) That said, from reading some of Toby’s comments on money and banking, I believe many of his views are in opposition to many of Hayek’s (and in accord with Rothbard).

    1. says: Andy Duncan

      Perhaps you ought to go to Tom Woods own site and speak to Tom yourself. In the meantime, as Professor Hoppe might say, auf wieder horen.

      1. Just for the record, Hayek and his economics have had the most impact on my study in economics. Aristotle / David Conway & Mises for theology & philosophy in general. Kirzner and Huerta De Soto for entrepreneurship and the understanding of the dynamic economy. Rothbard for politics.

  4. says: M Edwards

    Lee Kelly

    What a rediculous argument – “I don’t like that fact that you have not included my favourite author, but I am not prepared to give some examples of the works that I like, or the reson for my liking them”

    Why on earth bother to comment in the first place?

Comments are closed.