Hayek Book Prize

The Manhattan Institute is taking nominations for its “F.A. Hayek Book Prize,” the author(s) of which will receive $50,000. From the website,

The Manhattan Institute is currently gathering nominations for our Hayek Prize, which will honor the book published within the past two years that best reflects F.A. Hayek’s vision of economic and individual liberty.

Admittedly, I haven’t really kept up to date with recent libertarian books. I have so much other stuff going on it’s difficult to keep track of new literature. For this reason, I’d be interested in what others think: I’d be interested in reading a libertarian book that I’ve overlooked and a lot of people appreciate.

On Twitter, a book I thought of is Daron Acemoglu’s and James A. Robinson’s Why Nations Fail. I don’t agree with all the details and nuances in the book, although I misplaced the notes I took so it’s hard for me to quickly look back and see precise examples, but the general thesis is an important one. As far as what I disagree with goes, that will have to wait for a book review (which I’ll hopefully get to once winter break begins). But, the general thesis is powerful: global inequality between nations comes down to inclusive versus exclusive governments (some may prefer relatively less exclusive versus relatively more exclusive governments). The argument is not really that unique, but Acemoglu and Robinson are two renown economists in their field and it’s this type of arguments that needs repeating.

Another book that immediately comes to mind is Peter Boettke’s Living Economics. This is one of those books that you recommend when someone asks you for an interesting, persuasive, not-too-academic, yet informative book to read for them or a friend. One of the most commendable features is that Boettke’s expansive knowledge of the literature is represented in the book, providing the reader open-minded and inclusive insight into various topics, all of which synthesize into the common thread of the market process.

Other than these books, nothing else comes to mind, undoubtedly because of my limited interaction with what’s out there. What do you think?


6 thoughts on “Hayek Book Prize

  1. JosephFetz

    It’s been a few years since I’ve read anything dealing with economics or political theory, and I can’t really identify anything that would be described as particularly Hayekian, other than books from Hayek himself.

    I’m a pretty unfocused person in the respect that I cannot stick to one subject for too long, but I am very focused in that when I am on a particular subject, I get completely immersed for a few months or so. It goes in waves, so I always do come back to familiar subjects, but I am almost always just a little behind the curve when it comes to brand new material. Sadly, the newest libertarian book that I’ve read is probably Chaos Theory, and that was about 4 years ago (the book was written 10 years ago). For some reason, I tend to read a lot of older material.

    So, yeah. I probably won’t be participating in the whole ‘F.A. Hayek Book Prize’ thing-a-ma-jiggy.

      1. JosephFetz

        I liked it a lot, but that might be due to the fact that I had become an anarchist shortly before I read it.

        It’s a pretty simple read and relatively short (two or three chapters, I think), but obviously you must already be familiar with free market economics in order to really follow what Murphy is saying, which is why I don’t often recommend it as an introduction to libertarianism (though, I do often recommend it to knowledgeable minarchists, which is the audience that I believe Bob had in mind when he wrote it).

        If you’ve ever seen some of Bob’s speeches dealing with stateless law and security, then you’re basically getting the same thing that’s in Chaos Theory. However, since I think that Bob is far more clear as a writer than a speaker, the book would be my preferable medium on the topic. This is not to say that Bob is a bad speaker, but certainly he has a “different” delivery, such that some people can get a little confused.

  2. J D

    Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Kraus’ “Engineering the Financial Crisis”.

    Jim Manzi’s “Uncontrolled”

    1. JCatalan

      I haven’t seen Manzi’s book. Friedman’s and Klaus’ book is great — one of the best books on the crisis —, but I didn’t mention it because the scope is understandably narrow.


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