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A New, More Accessible “Human Action” Book for the Layperson

Economist Robert Murphy has a new book titled, Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action. The Independent Institute’s notes on the book informs readers,

The most ambitious, and arguably greatest, treatise on economics ever written was published in 1949—Human Action by Ludwig von Mises. In that masterpiece, the learned scholar, who had fled war-torn Europe in 1940 and landed a visiting professorship at New York University five years later, summarized the state of economic science, especially as it related to the flourishing of a free and prosperous society. Mises valued the importance of educating the public about the basic teachings of economics, because public opinion ultimately shapes government policies that either support or sabotage the workings of the market economy. Human Action was Mises’s most painstaking effort to instill in the thinking public the profound notion that civilization rests on the basic fact that human society is vastly more productive when individuals work in cooperation with one another.

Mises was uncompromising in his commitment to teaching the deepest truths about economic science and to enlisting the public in the defense of the free society. But as brilliant as Human Action is, its length and depth can intimidate many potential readers. Hence the present book. In Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action, economist Robert P. Murphy distills the essence of Mises’s treatise into a more reader-friendly package. But Murphy’s book is not a mere study guide to the great treatise; it is a stand-alone work that elucidates Mises’s most important teachings in a style designed to engage the reader but without sacrificing the rigor of the master’s arguments.

In some of the reviews, Ron Paul wrote, “Robert Murphy’s Choice is the perfect book for those new to the Misesian paradigm and those in need of a ‘refresher course’ in Austrian School economics. All those who share my belief that increasing understanding of sound economics is vital to the triumph of liberty owe him a special debt of gratitude.”

And Tom Woods wrote, “If there is an economist out there who combines scholarly rigor with accessibility to the layman the way Robert Murphy does, I have not met him. If you are looking for an excellent, intermediate book between Henry Hazlitt and Ludwig von Mises, you will find it in Choice.”

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