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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
22


on April 16, 2014
In Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jason Brennan offers a clear, straightforward, and readable introduction to the libertarian political perspective, carefully acknowledging along the way the range of differing opinions held by libertarians on key issues (with an exception, see below). The book is written in an easily referenceable question-and-answer format, and is divided by topic. The chapters and even individual questions can be consulted in any order, independently of the rest of the book. To this end, in the course of answering a particular question, Brennan helpfully cites other places in the book that give a more in-depth look at something perhaps only briefly mentioned. The author can be commended as well for often introducing anti-libertarian perspectives or objections without providing any direct libertarian rebuttal. In this way, the book serves to familiarize the reader with both the libertarian viewpoint on various political, social, and economic topics as well as common rejoinders or alternative takes from non- or anti-libertarians. Brennan deftly wields thought experiments and examples to illustrate how otherwise abstract ideas can be practically applied. On the negative side, I would like to have seen footnotes with explicit references included throughout the book. For example, Brennan cites many studies, statistics, and ideas directly, and although he sometimes gives the reader enough information to go off of in their own search, the sheer number of such instances leaves this reader desiring the inclusion of footnotes to assist in locating these. However, Brennan provides an excellent selection of texts and articles for further reading at the end of the book, divided into specific subcategories. Additionally, a helpful glossary of terms often employed in political philosophy can be found at the back of the book. The only critique I might give content-wise has to do with the matter-of-fact way that Brennan writes of libertarians as advocates for women's abortion rights. As I understand it, libertarians are nearly as divided as the country as a whole on the issue of abortion choice. In any case, at least a passing mention of a broadly "pro-life" libertarian perspective (cf. the website "Libertarians for Life" at l4l.org) could have been included. Despite this little nitpick of mine, the book is a solid presentation of libertarianism, and one that is much needed given the typical straw-manning that occurs in both ordinary and even professional political discourse. Thus, Brennan's distinction between classical liberal, hard libertarian, and neoclassical liberal perspectives is useful in addition to his general way of dispensing with caricatures along the way. I would highly recommend this book to any non-libertarians who are interested in truly understanding the position as well as anyone who has newly identified themselves with libertarianism.
6 helpful votes
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VINE VOICEon March 16, 2013
Brennan's Q&A format, taking the reader through the history, foundational beliefs and modern application and issues of the Libertarian movement is well written and relatively easy to digest. He looks at Libertarianism in light of the 2008 and forward US political and international climate, and the contemporary and relevant cites and examples will resonate with most readers. The book covers the Libertarian positions on "What" it is, Human Nature, Ethics, Government & Democracy, Civil Rights, Economic Freedom, Social Justice and Contemporary Issues. If you are interested in understanding the basis of Liberal thought in modern America, pick up this easy to read book.
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on December 11, 2016
This is a great book for anyone trying to understand the basis of what a libertarian is. I'll agree with the other reviews and say that he did not write about the entire spectrum of views, as there are many different types of libertarians. But I'd say this is a great starting point for anyone trying to understand.

This book is written in a question and answer style. Definitely helpful. I'd fully recommend.
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on October 20, 2016
The most inspiring book on political ideas i have ever read. I have actually bought 20 copies of this book and started handing them out to my friends and family
1 helpful vote
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on December 6, 2014
Prompt delivery, nice goods. Thanks.
1 helpful vote
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on January 24, 2013
This book is an excellent overview of the subject. Clarifies the "hard" Anyn Rand versus the "classical" and "neo" versions. I was especially interested in the focus on reducing the administrative side of government versus the social welfare aspect.
1 helpful vote
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on September 10, 2014
Found out a lot about myself while reading this. Very easy to follow and explains everything you would want to know in terms and examples that make it very easy for a novice to understand! Quick, easy, and interestingly informational read! :)
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on January 14, 2013
Answers several questions on the political group, and is well written. Reccomend it to people wanting to understand this third party
1 helpful vote
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on February 16, 2013
This book is a good explanation of a difficult topic. I enjoyed very much. his analysis and examples.I look forward to other topics.
1 helpful vote
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on November 18, 2012
A great overview for anyone interested in libertarianism and what it means for the major political issues. Brennan is concise but clear and makes for an easy, fun, and informative read.
2 helpful votes
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