What to Read First
In order to truly understand Austrian Economics, there are two books that are absolutely essential. These are Human Action by Ludwig von Mises, and Man, Economy, and State by Murray N. Rothbard. However, these two books are quite long, 900 pages each, and can be difficult to fully grasp without the proper foundation. Consequently, it is best to start with other books and work up to those over time.*
*Disclaimer: There is no definitive reading list for Austrian Economics, and you will get a wide array of opinions from different people on the "best" books to read first. However, below is out recommendation for what you should read in order to gain a thorough knowledge of the Austrian School of Economics.
Where to Start
The best place to start is going to depend mostly on your previous knowledge of economics in general and Austrian Economics in particular. Decide which of these three describes your level of knowledge the most, and move down the list as you complete your reading of each book. For example, if you believe that 2 is the best place to start, after finishing 2, you would move on to 3, and then down to the books in the "Where to Go Now" section.
1. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt - This is a fantastic introduction book to the field of economics as a whole. If you have little to no background in economics, we recommend that you start here.
2. An Introduction to Economic Reasoning by David Gordon - If you have knowledge or background in economics, this book is a great primer and introduction to the Austrian School of Economics. If you have some economic knowledge, we recommend that you start here.
3. Choice by Robert Murphy - This book is a great encapsulation of many of the themes and insights from Mises' Human Action. If you have some background in economics and Austrian Economics, this is a great place to start.
Where to Go Next
Now that you have gone through the list above, the should have the foundations necessary to understand and intellectually digest the list of books below. There isn't any specific order these need to be read in, so feel free to jump around the list:
1. Profit and Loss by Ludwig von Mises
2. Critique of Interventionism by Ludwig von Mises
3. What Has Government Done to Our Money by Murray Rothbard
4. Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth by Ludwig von Mises
5. Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure by Murray Rothbard
6. A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism by Hans Hermann-Hoppe
After finishing the above books, you should be equipped to handle Man, Economy, and State, as well as Human Action. We recommend that you read Man, Economy, and State first, as the prose and organization of the book makes it a much easier read than its counterpart.