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Recommended starting points

With the world at your fingertips, where do you start? I’ve often found myself contemplating what book I should read next. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve read through all my books at home. Yet sometimes what you have just isn’t what you’re in the mood for. Worse still, sometimes you don’t even know what you are in the mood for.

On this page, I will highlight some interesting topics that can point you in the direction of a captivating journey. But before we get started, a note on the default order of the topics on our main page. Books of Liberty does not categorize books within a rigid hierarchy. I designed it such that you can choose any number of topics (regardless of whether they relate to one another) and discover books where those topics intersect.

However, much like in Animal Farm, while all topics are equal, some topics are more equal than others. After analyzing the interrelationship between the topics and books, I’ve identified the top 100 that seem to correlate with the widest range of topics (surprisingly, these aren’t the 100 most popular topics). But there is not a single book in our records or a single other topic that is not connected to one of these 100 topics. So if you sort by top 100 and scroll through them you’re bound to find an interesting starting point.

Otherwise, you can sort the list of topics by popularity to find the topics that are represented in the largest number of books. Furthermore, you can sort the topics alphabetically or simply type in the search bar a topic of interest.

But if I had to narrow down the almost 800 topics to the ones that provide the best starting points, these would be it:

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Philosophy of Freedom

Within this topic you’ll find a wide variety of books, many of which we hold in the highest regard. These books are also associated with other topics, such as anarchist traditions and practical liberty. All your great libertarian manifestos, books that discuss individual liberty, the non-aggression principle, laissez faire, objectivism, etc. are found within.

Anarchist traditions would be a great shortcut to find books specifically calling out anarchist principles. The name "anarchist traditions" is purposefully broad, because in addition to anarcho-capitalism and voluntaryism, there are books on anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism or other forms of collectivist anarchism, as well as egoism and other schools of thought.

Practical liberty has a hodge-podge of awesome content, from the great anti-war and abolitionist books to theoretical treatises on private defense and private law; from whistleblowing and WikiLeaks to other forms of activism and civil disobedience; from secession to jury nullification and describing revolution and resistance. We’ve even thrown in some interesting "how to" books on affecting change to further one’s activist ends.

The topic of philosophy is closely associated, as many of the books tagged to the philosophy of freedom contain deep philosophical arguments from ethics and epistemology to political theory and religion. A wide variety of ideologies are represented and critiqued within the pages of the books linked here, covering the full political spectrum: whether it is Fascism versus Communism; Neoconservatism versus Progressivism or Liberalism; Nationalism and Nazism versus International Socialism and everything in between.

A note from the curator: You may see throughout the site banners promoting Liberty Classroom. As a very satisfied Master Member, I cannot recommend enough the courses within Liberty Classroom, all of which are imbued with the philosophy of freedom, including How Freedom Settled the West and History of Conservatism and Libertarianism. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our link.


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Personal Freedom

Since the mission of Books of Liberty is to help you find content to free your mind, you can’t go wrong with clicking on personal freedom and seeing where it takes you. Topics that are likely to be correlated with personal freedom include education and critical thinking, entrepreneurship or other means of achieving financial freedom, physical and mental wellbeing, and for the parents out there we have books on peaceful parenting and some reading ideas for your own young readers.


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Anti-individualism

Sadly, where there is light, there must be shadow and the topics you’d find in this category pertain to the darker parts of human existence. We’ve included some books that espouse such ideals, such as various communist treatises or books that advocate various forms of socialism or those that hail democracy as some crowning achievement of mankind. I, for one, feel that it is important to know the arguments of the opposing side to strengthen your understanding of your own position. But if you do buy these books and enrich the authors or their publishers, please buy through our links so that at least a liberty-loving outfit would gain a buck or two out of this deal…

Aside from a few books that support such views, the majority of the titles tagged with the above topics are there to shine light on, and provide a critique of these views. Other anti-individualist topics include: the seemingly benign bureaucracy that makes the State inefficient; the deceptive egalitarianism and the nanny state, a path paved with good intentions that we all know where it leads (hint: may include redistribution of wealth and slavery); the outright evil in ideologies such as Fascism and Marxism that lead to despotism, dictatorship, tyranny and totalitarianism; and crony capitalism (corporatism) and its predecessor mercantilism, which masquerades as capitalism in most people’s minds and leads to anti-capitalist views.


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Critique of the State

Shedding more light where once was dark, this topic includes a wide array of critiques surrounding the function of the State, but mostly around policy critiques and warfare. As it relates to the State’s functioning, everything from central planning, coercion and government expansion through to propaganda, taxation and the act of voting are discussed.

The State apparatus and its institutions, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other alphabet soup organizations – they are all brought to account together with their counterparts in the military-industrial complex and the deep state. The Supreme Court, criminal justice system and the prisons are not immune to critique. And the filth of politics and lobbying are described in great lengths.

Policy critiques cover everything from abortion to welfare. It all starts with state intervention in the affairs of private individuals and foreign intervention (which includes the seemingly benevolent foreign aid) in the affairs of other groups of people. More specifically, US foreign policy and US military intervention are popular policies to critique.

Some of the other more common topics include: drugs, eminent domain, environmentalism, poverty, protectionism, muh roads, slavery, and other forms of public policy. Needless to say, these and other policies lead to ridiculous levels of government spending, itself a valid topic to critique.

And of course, the most destructive activity perpetrated by the State is warfare. The wars abroad and at home are discussed at length. Of the ‘traditional’ wars, World War I and II and the so-called American ‘Civil War’ (always in quotation marks) feature in the most number of books, some of which include discussions on genocide and war crimes. But then there are also the wars on amorphous, undefined entities, such as: the war on drugs, which leads to domestic violence, militarization and a police state; and the war on terror, which brought us torture, more terror and the ever-increasing drone warfare.

A note from the curator: The State is thoroughly critiqued within Liberty Classroom and the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program. In full transparency, I have no direct experience in homeschooling but I have heavily researched Ron Paul’s program and found it to be an outstanding alternative to the public school system (a system where you would never hear a critique of the State).

I am a very satisfied Master Member of Liberty Classroom and have taken the Introduction to Government course that is available through the Ron Paul Curriculum. Between this course and others available through Liberty Classroom, you can’t get a better or more thought out exposition critiquing the State and all its failures or faulty premises (and in a way that is suitable for the younger ages too). I’ll disclose that Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links.


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The Law

We find topics about the law, laws and legislation, justice, law enforcement and judicial systems fascinating, especially when combined with anarchy, as this seems to be one of the last bastions on the road to understanding an anarchist system and how legal order and property rights would be maintained.

Administrative law, regulations, and licensure as we know them today are artefacts of the State that are critiqued in our featured books, but so are dozens of other legislative issues, such as: labor laws (child labor, labor unions, minimum wage), issues relating to the US Constitution or the Articles of Confederation (e.g. the commerce clause, nullification, fugitive slave laws, gun control / second amendment), civil rights issues, Obamacare, Prohibition, and even earlier established legal concepts, such as the Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus.

A note from the curator: One of the reasons I am a very satisfied Master Member of Liberty Classroom is that I have access to courses like US Constitutional History and others featuring topics related to the law. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our link.


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Cultural Issues

Legal and political issues aside, it is often the cultural and social issues that are upstream from any legislative action. Especially in a democracy, politicians know that to get reelected they need to tread a fine line and take a stand on topics that are culturally in vogue. Books providing cultural analysis or ones that talk of the social order are numerous within our site.

These books include racism, sexism, feminism and other such social justice issues relating to discrimination, freedom of association, freedom of speech, human rights, or political correctness. The topics of popular culture, American culture and Western Civilization are also represented.

Observations from many writers on these issues are provided through commentary and opinion and often investigative journalism leads down an interesting path, shedding light on these and other topics.


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History

One of the most popular topics on this site, history, is a fascinating subject to read. Given the nature of this site it didn’t quite make sense to create a category of ‘revisionist history’ since most of the history books featured are of that nature. Sure enough, we have uncontested historical accounts of various historical events, but when you search for history and drill further down into a specific topic (such as various wars, Pearl Harbor, The New Deal or the Great Depression), you are going to get intellectually honest ‘revisionist’ accounts of these events.

While you may expand your history search by historical event or by selecting US history or the history of some other area or nation, we have classified the history texts by period as well. You can indulge your curiosity if you are an avid reader of one of or more of the following periods: Antiquity, Biblical period, Classical period, Medieval period or the Middle ages, Early modern period, the Renaissance, or specifically within the last few hundred years, as grouped by: 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, or the 20th Century.

And speaking of indulging yourself, with several dozen books on conspiracy theories, you may brush up on such topics as 9/11, the New World Order, False Flag operations, or on the Kennedy deaths, or various institutions and secret societies like The Illuminati, The Freemasons, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Tavistock Institute, or even Skull & Bones.

A note from the curator: The variety of history courses within Liberty Classroom, including two US History courses, two Western Civilization courses, and many (many!) more will, no doubt, make you as big of a fan of Liberty Classroom as I am. The Western Civilization courses are also available to students of the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program along with many other courses you will not find in public schools (or most private schools either).

In full transparency, I have no direct experience in homeschooling but if you want your kids to learn the real history you were never taught, you can’t get much better than providing them Ron Paul’s program. Books of Liberty is happy to promote both these programs in exchange for a small advertising fee because I cannot reiterate enough what terrific history resources these programs are.


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Economics

The economics category, as expected, is very well represented within the pages of this site. Of all the economics books, around half are explicitly Austrian Economics texts, and (with a significant overlap) around half discuss monetary theory. You may search specifically for economic treatises or books about economists; you will find historical or theoretical accounts of financial crises; you will stumble upon recent books on crypto-currencies (like bitcoin), books covering topics like income or wealth inequality, as well as more technical subjects like price theory, monopoly, division of labor, public choice theory and others. Additionally, critiques of Keynesian economics are to be found throughout the books in this category.

Of the Austrian Economics books, the largest portion discuss The Austrian Business Cycle and praxeology or human action, but you will find many covering to one degree or another topics like time preference, capital and interest, subjective value, and economic calculation, to name a few.

And for those interested in currency or money, whether sound money or fiat money, you will find books arguing the benefits of the gold standard, debates on inflation and deflation, banking, central banks and the Federal Reserve specifically.

At the heart of the free market system of unregulated, voluntary trade stands capitalism and its emphasis on private property. Unsurprisingly, a large collection of books are available on this subject, many of which outline quite clearly the fundamentals and the outcomes of capitalism, especially in contrast to other economic systems like socialism. Additional related topics, such as free trade, decentralization, risk, uncertainty, and the market process can be found in such books.

A note from the curator: Liberty Classroom provides courses like: Austrian Economics Step by Step, two courses on the History of Economic Thought, and What’s Wrong with Textbook Economics, to name a few. With courses like these, how can you not become a fan of Liberty Classroom? I know I am.

And would you like your homeschoolers to learn economics right the first time around? The Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program covers 12th grade economics from teachers you can trust. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links.


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Financial Freedom

As part of your overall personal freedom, achieving financial freedom allows you to live relatively unencumbered by the burdens of life. While difficult to realize and rare to find, this can be achieved through hard work and consistent dedication (or sheer luck, for some). Either through entrepreneurship, finance and investing or by building streams of passive income, the opportunities presented within the books tagged here form a good starting point on the path to success.

Investing and understanding the world of finance is a critical part of achieving and maintaining financial freedom. Whether you invest in precious metals (such as gold or silver), design a Permanent Portfolio, take an interest in money management or retirement planning, or whether you just want to know more about student loans, you will find that info here.

Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of capitalism and the free market system and books on this topic are well represented. You can find books that provide insight to the entrepreneurial mindset, which, in my view, can be equally applied to those who are employed, which will increase your success in that context too. But for those looking to bootstrap or start a business of their own, we would recommend the resources here discussing everything from marketing, public relations, copy writing and sales to books about competition, e-commerce or social media.

Don’t be shocked to find Austrian Economics books here, detailing the theoretical side of entrepreneurship and the place of the entrepreneur within the market process. A strong foundation will help those entrepreneurs in practice.

Within the business section you can also find books on the business organization (contrasting to bureaucracy of the State), on decision making, business growth, accounting, etc. While decision making may sometimes be covered in a book completely unrelated to business, it would be tagged to business if the benefits of such content can be applied to those entrepreneurs needing to make decisions for their venture. Likewise, entrepreneurial mindset can often be tagged to books describing characteristics that would prove valuable to an entrepreneur, even if they don’t relate directly to the entrepreneurial space.

A note from the curator: One thing I was always curious about: why is this never taught at school?! By providing your homeschoolers the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program, they will learn Personal Finance in the 8th grade, Business in grades 9 and 10 and will be exposed to topics to help their entrepreneurial mindset throughout the years. You may see throughout the site banners promoting this program and Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links. I only wish I had learned these things at a young age and got a head start in life.


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Education

It should come as no surprise that the education topic is chock-full of great material. Given the range of items it covers, you will see why it is the third most popular topic on this site. The two largest topics you’ll find within education are your "how to" books and those that bust myths and misconceptions. These two categories assist you greatly in your long path of autodidacticism (self-directed learning). Both the "how to" and the myths and misconceptions books cover a wide range of interests, helping you educate yourself (and others) in pretty much every other topic on this site. Case studies are also well represented and learning from them is a good way to help bring clarity to a subject.

However, in addition to books that educate, a large number of books discuss the education system itself, such as higher education and college alternatives, or the public school system and public school alternatives (whether it be homeschooling, Montessori, a Sudbury School approach, or other forms of unschooling).

For those homeschooling or otherwise teaching young ones, resources exist on reading (including debates between whole-word / look-say and phonics), and for the older student and certainly for the self-directed learners out there, you will find resources on the trivium method that provides a systematic approach (of grammar, logic and rhetoric) to learning any subject effectively, and you will find plenty of study guides on a variety of subjects.

A note from the curator: The Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program is promoted throughout the site and in full disclosure Books of Liberty will get an advertising fee for those purchases made through our links. While I do not have direct experience in homeschooling, I have researched Ron Paul’s program extensively and found it to be an outstanding alternative to the public school system and very recommended for those who go down the homeschooling route.


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For Parents

The "for parents" topic is a very important component of Book of Liberty. After all, for those who have kids, if you would like to affect change in the world one of the most important roles you have in this context is being a responsible steward of your children. Raising a strong, moral, peaceful individual can have tremendous positive impact.

The non-aggression principle is best displayed through its application in interpersonal relations, of which peaceful parenting is one such strategy. Like many other topics covered by books on this site, this too can be controversial and in no way are we prescribing behavior or applying judgment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but we do encourage the same rigor and logical consistency to be applied to your relationships with others in your life as we apply to the relationship between the individual and the State.

Topics such as homeschooling, Montessori, or other forms of unschooling can be found when browsing the "for parents" topic, as well as books for young readers. If you have a young reader at home, consider browsing this section for inspiration on books for them to read.

A note from the curator: If you are a parent of a 5-11 year old (or know someone who is) The Tuttle Twins series of books would make a great addition to their library. Similar to the advertising fees we get from books purchased through Amazon, the creators of The Tuttle Twins support Books of Liberty with a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links, and I would not promote these books if I didn’t highly recommend them myself.

Same goes for the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program, who support Books of Liberty through advertising fees for those who purchase through our links. I haven’t gone through a homeschool program and my daughter isn’t old enough for school yet, so I can’t speak from personal experience but I have heard nothing but tremendous positive feedback from homeschooling parents for Ron Paul’s program and I am happy to be recommending it.


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Communication Skills

If there is one thing that we’re willing to bet on, it’s that there are topics within the pages of Books of Liberty for which you are very passionate. And wouldn’t it be great if you could convince just a few more people to see things the way you do on these subjects? If there is one tool in your tool-belt that you need in order to achieve this aim, it’s improved communication skills.

With techniques such as nonviolent communication, or NVC (for which we have many books and study guides), or other means of empathic connection you can reach a meeting of the minds on almost anything. In addition to convincing an "opponent" in a debate, this may significantly improve interpersonal relations, parenting, help with conflict resolution and is an important social skill to have.

In order to strengthen your arguments, you will utilize critical thinking and problem solving techniques to help frame your ideas, apply logic consistently and remove cognitive biases, and you will learn to identify others’ use of logical fallacies or fear and manipulation.

Then, with the power of empathic connection you will use your rhetoric to its full potential, whether through writing, debating, negotiation, public speaking or other forms of communication.

A note from the curator: Regarding almost any topic found on Books of Liberty, the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program provides exemplary teaching on the subject. From my research (admittedly not through my own personal experience) I found that Ron Paul’s program comes highly recommended for those who want their kids to acquire superior written and other communication skills. From courses on English and Report Writing to Public Speaking and Using Wordpress, your homeschooler will learn how to communicate on a variety of platforms.

Liberty Classroom is another excellent resource that, as Master Member I enjoy and thoroughly recommend, if for no other reason than their Introduction to Logic course, which I’ve sat through and is terrific! This and many other great courses will help you communicate clearly and master debates.

In full disclosure, both the Ron Paul Curriculum and Liberty Classroom support Books of Liberty through advertising fees for those who purchase through our links, but I would recommend them wholeheartedly regardless.


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Personal Development

Between education, entrepreneurship, communication skills and other such important topics, personal development forms a key component of one’s path to personal freedom. No human is perfect and while we ought to balance the recognition of this fact with self-esteem and acceptance of our nature, there is room for improvement in us all (and if nothing else, there is room for us to at least maintain our level of awesomeness).

I've included books covering important components of personal development and tools to increase your efficiency. These include productivity and time management methodologies (such as the highly recommended Getting Things Done or GTD), leadership skills, creativity, resilience, organizational skills and many more, all of which require the formation of great habits, self-discipline and willpower. Other intriguing topics like stoicism and minimalism are covered too.

Topics related with personal development include physical and mental wellbeing as well as psychology.


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Physical and Mental Wellbeing

The main aspects of your physical wellbeing that help prevent disease and ill-health are diet and fitness. Each body is unique and we have insufficient information to assess the efficacy of the ideas represented in the diet and fitness books linked within our pages. Healthcare is another important component and the books within this topic may include not just a "how to" on healthcare but also theoretical expositions, commentary and opinion and other economic analyses or policy critiques.

One’s mental wellbeing is influenced by a large number of factors, over which we are even less qualified to talk about than we are on diet and fitness. However we have compiled books on a variety of topics that will help educate you on matters of self-esteem, stress management, the effects of trauma or punishment and reward on mental health and happiness, as well as help you gain more self-awareness through mindfulness and a focus on authenticity.

Related topics within the psychology area will bring you more insight into a variety of factors affecting our minds and our emotional intelligence. These include our inclination to obedience, authority and conformity and, with some, this includes outright psychopathy and narcissism, as represented by most who seek political office. These are very important topics to grasp for all who seek to understand the root cause of our lack of freedom in the world today.

Real world experiments on behaviorism, including controversial experiments (such as the Milgram experiment or the Stanford prison experiment) shine light on topics like the Lucifer Effect where otherwise good people end up doing evil.


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Technology

As a tool devised by our ingenuity, technology is what has propelled us to becoming the dominant species on Earth despite comparative physical disadvantages. But technology continues to empower those in whose hands it should not be used. From outright war to the underappreciated abuses of mass surveillance, the State has been using technology to strip us of life, liberty and property since the dawn of its existence.

In the age of The American Panopticon, breaches of privacy and security through domestic spying are pervasive. The ability to retaliate through the use of bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies and blockchain solutions, or with tools like Tor, the Dark Net, and further ingenious hacking techniques were brought to us by cypherpunks and other such heroes. Learning the technical skills to disrupt and contribute is best done online. The technology world moves fast and traditional publishers can't keep up. But we have amassed a significant collections of books, nonetheless, on these topics within the pages of Books of Liberty, whether they be "how to", novels or non-fiction books.

A note from the curator: Combining "how to" with technology will also yield some great resources on learning coding or other technical skills. For a full Computer Science course aimed at the homeschooling 11th grader, I would recommend the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program. Learning to code would not be the sole reason to homeschool, since it can be done by any interested or entrepreneurial-minded person, but the program’s emphasis on such matters (including how to create and run a blog with Wordpress) shows how comprehensive this course is. I found only great feedback about the full curriculum and openly recommend it. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty gets advertising fees for those who purchase through our links.


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Literature

While all books technically fall under this topic, we’ve reserved this mostly as a way to easily filter through the many hundred titles to find works of fiction (whether it be science fiction or dystopian novels), humor, poetry or quotes. The great manifestos are clearly labeled, as are Festschrifts, which are collections of writings published in honor of a scholar. Finally, we've included a range of biographies and autobiographies that shed light on some key individuals.

A note from the curator: With a variety of literature homeschool courses the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program does not disappoint. Western Literature, American Literature and Classic Autobiographies are covered in the high school years. My experience of literature in public school was horrendous and I wish I had the curriculum and approach provided by Ron Paul’s program instead. Books of Liberty gets advertising fees for those who purchase through our links.


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Other classifications

To make things easier to find, we created a few groupings that allow you to narrow down certain topics that include a large number of named individuals, geographical locations, or geopolitical entities. We created the topics: people and groups; areas and nations; economists; and politicians (who, within it, include also nation state leaders and US presidents).

And if you want a book that seems to have a wide variety of topics, you may just want to filter with the word smorgasbord and see what books come up.