Russ Roberts says his favorite is The Fatal Conceit.
Tom Peters is also a big fan of the book: “I am not one of those people who tends to read books multiple times. But [Hayek’s] The Fatal Conceit I find I can read over. I’ve probably read it, literally cover to cover, word for word, a half dozen times. Every 18 months or so I go back and read it again just to make sure my religion has not slipped in any way, shape, or form.”
Glenn Reynolds, Stacy McCain and Dr. Helen Smith have been recommending Hayek’s The Mirage of Social Justice (Law, Legislation & Liberty, Vol. 2). McCain calls the book, “One of the finest treatises Hayek ever wrote.”
Armen Alchian and Tyler Cowen list Hayek’s Individualism and Economic Order as among the handful of books that most influenced them as economists.
The book which has done most to shape my own understanding of economics is Hayek’s The Pure Theory of Capital. Economist and blogger Don Boudreaux lists Hayek’s Rules and Order (Law, Legislation & Liberty, Vol. 1) as the book which most influenced his thinking in political economy.
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, rather famously, were influenced by Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and his The Constitution of Liberty. In a well know incident, Thatcher, in a meeting of Conservatives, threw down Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty declared, “This is what we believe.”
The Road to Serfdom was also one of Milton Friedman’s favorite books, and the book has been a profound influence on thousands of influential people, from Winston Churchill and George Orwell to Eddie Lambert and Glenn Beck.
One of my favorite Hayek books is his little classic Collectivist Economic Planning, which had such influence on Walter Lippmann in the mid-1930s that it transformed the famous journalist from a socialist-leaning progressive to a pro-market neo-liberal. Hayek’s essays from that collection are also contained in his Individualism and Economic Order.
The Hayek book which changed the course of 20th century economics — transforming the economics of John Hicks for example — is his Prices and Production, a book which forced English speaking economists to think of production and consumption as processes in time, helping to launch intertemporal equilibrium theory, modern growth theory, and macroeconomics with “micro” foundations.
Jonah Goldberg recommends The Essence of Hayek and The Fatal Conceit as “the only Hayek you’ll ever really need to read.” I’m not sure if that is true, but the Chiaki Nishiyama edited “Essence of Hayek” collection really is hard to beat as an introduction to the broad scope of Hayek’s thinking.
What’s your favorite Hayek book?