A reader recently asked me about books that have affected my outlook on life. I’m sure I can’t remember them all, but here are a few that have had a real impact on the way I view certain topics:
- Thomas Sowell: Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy. This book made me realize that capitalism isn’t just the best economic system; it’s the only one compatible with freedom. Government controls on the free market are nothing more than an attempt to take away your freedom to make choices for yourself.
- James Baldwin: The Fire Next Time. Everyone knows that racism has had a huge effect on black people in this country. But I think that while white folks know this intellectually, it’s not always easy for us to feel it in our bones. No book can change that entirely, but this book helped me truly internalize how our history of racism has affected black people.
- Pete Earley: Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. I read this last week and will have a full review coming out in a few days. It changed the way I look at how the system deals with the mentally ill.
- Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. I spent hours and hours and hours with this book as a kid. I internalized the wisdom of the ancient philosophers at a young age — all in pithy little quotes.
- Frank Snepp: Irreparable Harm: A Firsthand Account of How One Agent Took on the CIA in an Epic Battle Over Free Speech. This book made me understand that sometimes government agents sometimes classify information just to keep themselves from being embarrassed.
There are many others, but these came to me off the top of my head. Feel free to list yours in the comments.