17 Dec 2008

Commercial for My New Study Guide

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…is here. Excerpts:

Once you realize that Mises has a definite plan for the book — it is certainly not a Joycean stream-of-consciousness riff — then its 881 pages are not as daunting. You realize with each chapter, “Yes, now I see why Mises couldn’t really get on to Important Topic X until he first dealt with the material he just covered.”

Since I discovered it in high school, I have now read Human Action at least three times cover to cover, and each time it was different. I am confident that it is one of the most important books (let alone economics books) written in the 20th century. For those who have dabbled with it, I strongly encourage you — with the help of the study guide — to pick it back up and start reading from the beginning. If you would just decide to suck it up and start reading from page 1, you may find that “the boring part where I get stuck” never comes.

Human Action is so much more than an economics book. If for no other reason, modern Austrians should read the book just to appreciate the sheer might of Mises’s intellect. I can’t think of another writer who shows such competence in discussions of issues as diverse as the fall of Rome, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, German military strategy in the First World War, the Weber-Fechner physiological law, the foundations of probability theory, and Kantian philosophy.

In closing, I would once again stress to modern Misesians who have yet to read Human Action that it really is well worth the effort. In it you’ll find that even stronger than his belief in free markets was Mises’s faith in the power of reason. The fact that we’re still talking about his ideas — and that we created a study guide to help newcomers understand them — shows that Mises hit the bull’s-eye once again.

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