Taking Children Seriously

On this page we list a few more books which, we believe, anyone interested in the ideas or practice of TCS would benefit from reading.

Many TCS people see TCS as part of a broader project of constructing consent-based institutions for every aspect of human life. In politics, this leads in the general direction of libertarian ideas. The books recommended below do not necessarily teach us anything about education; but they are, like TCS, about the theory and practice of consent, and the rejection of authority.

Incidentally, if you buy any of these books online using one of the “Buy the book!” buttons (or “Buy it...” links) below, TCS will get a commission. More generally, if you want to assist TCS financially at no cost to yourself, you could bookmark this page and buy all your books via this link (Amazon.co.uk) or this link (Amazon.com).

If there are other books you think we should include on these pages, please write to me at the following address:
s l  (at)  t c s  (dot)  a c

The Machinery of Freedom

David Friedman

A clear and compelling explanation David Friedman calls “anarcho capitalism” – politics without government but with human rights. Excellent.

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How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World

Harry Browne

This is an inspiring book about how to improve your life in the world as it is. If you are in the grip of the idea that your problems are external and therefore cannot be solved, read this book. It might change your life. Every family should own a copy.

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The Road to Serfdom

F. A. von Hayek

A very good explanation of why socialist policies can only be pursued using extremely coercive measures. Hayek argues that economic freedom, i.e., the free market, is an important part of overall freedomand that government interference in economics should be minimal. A must for anyone who thinks socialism, or socialist policies, are compatible with freedom.

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The Virtue of Sefishness

Ayn Rand

Anyone who is worried that their children are “selfish”, or might grow up selfish unless inculcated with selflessness, ought to read this devastating critique of the prevailing idea that morality equates to self-sacrifice.

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Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

A philosophical novel expressing Ayn Rand's style of libertarianism. That fact that she was rather wrongheaded about epistemology does not detract from its value, nor from the fact that she is right on many issues (e.g. realism) where the professional philosophers went wildly wrong for a century. Many people owe their introduction to libertarian ideas to Ayn Rand, through this book. Iconoclastic, perceptive and (if you skim-read the first 50 pages and some of the monologues) a truly gripping read.

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The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

If, instead of getting irritated by the melodramatic angst in this book, you get into the spirit of it, this is a very exciting read. But it is controversial (it was this book which got Ayn Rand branded “a traitor to her own sex” – by Susan Brownmiller in Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape), and it sometimes takes more than one reading to enjoy. Most Objectivists agree that it is better than Atlas Shrugged, and advise that of the two, one should read this one first. It is not such a political book as Atlas Shrugged, it is more a book about the importance of integrity. If you are a TCS parent trying to do what you think right, in the face of pressure from friends and relatives to act differently, or if you are attacked for your ideas, you might gain strength and inspiration from this book.

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The Ethical Slut

Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt

When people find TCS, they often begin to question unexamined assumptions about relationships more generally. This book is about the daily practical and psychological issues connected with living in non-traditional relationships. It is a warm and at times amusing book, and one of the few books in existence about love and relationship which does not assume that coercion is right. Well worth making available to young people.

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David Brin

A book of thought-provoking science-fiction short stories, interspersed with non-fiction essays. One of them contains a marvellous argument against the currently popular relativistic dogma that other cultures are just as right, 'valid' or true as our own. Yet the fact remains that our ('Western') culture is the only one that takes it for granted that we have much to learn from others! Brin points out that it is the very fact that Western culture takes this determinedly open stance towards others that makes it objectively superior to them.

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Voyage From Yesteryear

James P Hogan

The Earth was doomed, so as a last desperate act to preserve the human race, they sent a spaceship to another star, carrying only human embryos, and semi-sentient robots to rear and educate them. Five generations later, the descendants of these settlers are thriving. But Earth has survived its crisis after all, and now sends a military force to re-take control of its errant colony. But the ‘colony’ has meanwhile formed a society based on reason...

This gripping book is a masterpiece of science fiction. It circulated secretly in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. As Hogan puts it, only half-jokingly: “What they liked there, apparently, was the updated ‘Ghandiesque’ formula on how bring down an oppressive regime when it's got all the guns. And a couple of years later, they were all doing it! So I claim the credit.”

It investigates many issues, but from a directly TCS point of view it's nice to see a depiction of a society that trusts its children.

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Moral Matters

Jan Narveson

This is a reader-friendly, anti-authoritarian book about moral questions, addressing such issues as suicide, abortion, war, sexual relationships, and sexual harassment.

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