The Bitcoin Survivor’s Book List

Required Reading

The Bitcoin Standard

When a pseudonymous programmer introduced “a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party” to a small online mailing list in 2008, very few paid attention… The Bitcoin Standard analyzes the historical context to the rise of Bitcoin, the economic properties that have allowed it to grow quickly, and its likely economic, political, and social implications.

The Sovereign Individual

In The Sovereign Individual, Davidson and Rees-Mogg explore the greatest economic and political transition in centuries — the shift from an industrial to an information-based society. This transition, which they have termed “the fourth stage of human society,” will liberate individuals as never before, irrevocably altering the power of government. This outstanding book will replace false hopes and fictions with new understanding and clarified values.

The Internet of Money

While many books explain the how of bitcoin, The Internet of Money delves into the why of bitcoin. Acclaimed information-security expert and author of Mastering Bitcoin, Andreas M. Antonopoulos examines and contextualizes the significance of bitcoin through a series of essays spanning the exhilarating maturation of this technology.

Economics in One Lesson

An essential guide to the basics of economic theory. A fundamental influence on modern libertarianism, Hazlitt defends capitalism and the free market from economic myths that persist to this day.

Shelling Out: The Origins of Money

One of the most thought provoking works on the topic of money and its origins by the original cypherpunk, Nick Szabo. Exploring the principles that make or break a monetary tool and how money may be at the very core of what makes us human.

This Machine Kills Secrets

This is the story of the code and the characters—idealists, anarchists, extremists—who are transforming the next generation’s notion of what activism can be.

The Ethics of Money Production

Hülsmann has provided not only a primer in understanding our times, but a dramatic extension of the work of Menger, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and others to map out an economically radical and ethically challenging case for the complete separation of money and state, and a case for the privatization of money production. It is a sweeping and learned treatise that is rigorous, scholarly, and radical.

Download for Free at Mises.org

The Selfish Gene

This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as relevant today as on the day it was published. 

Bitcoin, Cypherpunks, & Code

Exploding the Phone

Starting with Alexander Graham Bell’s revolutionary “harmonic telegraph,” by the middle of the twentieth century the phone system had grown into something extraordinary, a web of cutting-edge switching machines and human operators that linked together millions of people like never before. But the network had a billion-dollar flaw, and once people discovered it, things would never be the same.

The Code Book

From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy.

How the Internet Happened

The internet was never intended for you, opines Brian McCullough in this lively narrative of an era that utterly transformed everything we thought we knew about technology. In How the Internet Happened, he chronicles the whole fascinating story for the first time, beginning in a dusty Illinois basement in 1993, when a group of college kids set off a once-in-an-epoch revolution with what would become the first “dotcom.”

AC/DC - The First Standards War

AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity… [but] soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear.

CODE

cleverly illustrated and eminently comprehensible story—and along the way, you’ll discover you’ve gained a real context for understanding today’s world of PCs, digital media, and the Internet. No matter what your level of technical savvy, CODE will charm you—and perhaps even awaken the technophile within.

Mastering Bitcoin

Join the technological revolution that’s taking the financial world by storm. Mastering Bitcoin is your guide through the seemingly complex world of bitcoin, providing the knowledge you need to participate in the internet of money. Whether you’re building the next killer app, investing in a startup, or simply curious about the technology, this revised and expanded second edition provides essential detail to get you started.

Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias

Peter Ludlow extends the approach he used so successfully in High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, offering a collection of writings that reflects the eclectic nature of the online world, as well as its tremendous energy and creativity. This time the subject is the emergence of governance structures within online communities and the visions of political sovereignty shaping some of those communities.

Digital Gold

An unusual tale of group invention, Digital Gold charts the rise of the Bitcoin technology through the eyes of the movement’s colorful central characters, including an Argentinian millionaire, a Chinese entrepreneur, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Bitcoin’s elusive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Already, Bitcoin has led to untold riches for some, and prison terms for others.

Game Theory & Economics

The Drunkard's Walk

By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow’s intriguing and illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire.

Basic Economics

 In readable language, Thomas Sowell shows how to critique economic policies in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the goals they proclaim. With clear explanations of the entire field, from rent control and the rise and fall of businesses to the international balance of payments, this is the first book for anyone who wishes to understand how the economy functions.

AntiFragile

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.  

Knowledge and Power

How do we navigate between government spending that’s too big to sustain and financial institutions that are “too big to fail?” In Knowledge and Power, George Gilder proposes a bold new theory on how capitalism produces wealth and how our economy can regain its vitality and its growth.

Never Split the Difference

Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

What Has Government Done to Our Money

The legendary Murray M. Rothbard boils down the Austrian theory to its essentials. A thrilling story that seeks to prove that the government, and only the government, can destroy money on a mass scale, and showing exactly how they go about this dirty deed. Beautifully written and groundbreaking in its advances of economic theory.

Download for Free at Mises.org

The Firm, The Market, and The Law

“These essays bear rereading. Coase’s careful attention to actual institutions not only offers deep insight into economics but also provides the best argument for Coase’s methodological position. The clarity of the exposition and the elegance of the style also make them a pleasure to read and a model worthy of emulation.”—Lewis A. Kornhauser, Journal of Economic Literature

The Fatal Conceit

Hayek argues that socialism has, from its origins, been mistaken on factual, and even on logical, grounds and that its repeated failures in the many different practical applications of socialist ideas that this century has witnessed were the direct outcome of these errors. He labels as the “fatal conceit” the idea that “man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes.”

Insight & Perspective

12 Rules For Life

Humorous, surprising, and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street… Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure, and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life. 12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith, and human nature while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its listeners.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Personal finance author and lecturer Robert T. Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective from two very different influences – his two fathers. One father (Robert’s real father) was a highly educated man but fiscally poor. The other father was the father of Robert’s best friend – that Dad was an eighth-grade drop-out who became a self-made multi-millionaire.

The Rational Optimist

Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

A groundbreaking tour of the mind that explains the two systems driving the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior… He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

Sapiens

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. 
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? 

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power … and our future.

Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid

According to Hofstadter, the formal system that underlies all mental activity transcends the system that supports it. If life can grow out of the formal chemical substrate of the cell, if consciousness can emerge out of a formal system of firing neurons, then so too will computers attain human intelligence. Gödel, Escher, Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.

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