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Human Action: A Treati...
Ludwig von Mises
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Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  2,105 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In the foreword to "Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, " Mises explains complex market phenomena as "the outcomes of countless conscious, purposive actions, choices, and preferences of individuals, each of whom was trying as best as he or she could under the circumstances to attain various wants and ends and to avoid undesired consequences." It is individual choices in ...more
ebook, 1128 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Liberty Fund (first published 1949)
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One of the most important books of the 20th century, not yet as influential as it deserves to be.

I was brought to this book in 2009 after a growing feeling of dissatisfaction with "expert" explanations being offered for the various financial and economic calamities that seemed to be happening worldwide. Economic commentary by journalists and pundits struck me as being opaque, partisan, and contradictory. Gradually I had become interested in the ideas of the so-called Austrian school of free-mark
Ludwig von Mises is a major contributor to what is called the Austrian School of economics. Human Reason is his magnum opus, a thorough-going look at the way that the innate human desire to decrease uneasiness is the pursuit for which capitalism is the mechanism.

The thesis is simple. Human beings take action to make things better for themselves. If we were satisfied, there would be no economy. But most of us will be cautious in what we do, avoiding as much risk as possible in our attempt to get
Robert Taylor
Dec 07, 2010 Robert Taylor rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
After having read the first 500 pages 3 times over the course of 2 years, I finally completed my reading of Human Action. Without being overly poetic, it is by far the seminal intellectual book of the 20th century, and probably the most important contribution to human knowledge so far.

It may seem audacious for me to say something like that, but given that ANY other book dealing with one of the physical sciences (like a book on Advanced Quantum Mechanics)--or any other science for that matter--ca
This was very interesting. I think the Austrian economics by itself would not have provided the economic prosperity we have experienced until 2000. Austrian economics expects people to have a long term perspective for future growth and based our recent experiences this is highly unlikely. Example you pay an above subsistence wages to your employees because they drive you top line revenue growth. Prosperity of the labor pool means you sell more products... and during times of slow demand people n ...more
Human Action is considered by many to be the definitive theoretical work for what is known as the Austrian school of economics. Reading it was 10 weeks of brain-stretching concentration, peppered liberally with moments of personal paradigm shaking, and demystification of how our actions affect each other. It enhanced my appreciation of the beautiful way in which life orders itself.

In the first section of this masterwork, Mises gets right down to laying a solid epistemological and methodological
Von Mises makes a case for laissez-faire captialism that is insightful and (I guess, I'm no logician) consistent. His main point is that economics is like logic or mathematics, an abstract law that requires discovery through careful reasoning, and that trying to live without adjusting one's behavior to this reality produces frustration and failure. The scope of the book is huge and von Mises is bold in his proclamations. Put on your thinking cap and get out your philosophy glossary if you're goi ...more
Monica Perez
The best work on economics ever written. If Mises had been an anarchist he'd have been perfect.
Notable only now for ideological and historical reasons.
To the modern reader, this is probably a three star book (if they are economics enthusiasts), but given that it was written the 1930s-40's, it gets four starts for it's importance at the time. Slogging through Von Mises magnum opus was no easy task, not because it's particularly hard (although one section was full of equations and went it one ear and out the other) but because it's fairly dry with nuggets of humor and passion. It's amazing how much we take for granted now that wasn't so obvious ...more
Kevin Cole
I used to hate economics because I thought it related to nothing in my life. Certain others then began showing me, in flashes, that I was wrong. But it was Mises who not only showed, but--to my mind--proved economics has everything to do with my life; because economics doesn't exist without people behaving as people.

Whimsical example:

If you're in the habit of buying a pound of Brazilian coffee for $1 every week, then you hear on the news that an unexpected freeze has hit Brazil, with analysts ex
Eric Sexton
I agree with the other reviewers who claimed that this is one of the most important books of the twentieth century. In fact, if Mises' approach is indeed correct, this is undoubtedly one of the most important books in the history of human civilization.

In 'Human Action' Mises describes an a priori approach to the social sciences which he terms "praxeology". Although most of the book deals with the arm of praxeology specific to economics("catallactics") Mises repeatedly reminds the reader that pr
Great book. Another must-read for anyone intrested in Austian economics. It is a bit dry at times. But, if that's a surprise to you,you probably shouldn't be reading this.

Mises is a favorite of mine, so I really had a heard time writting that last part.
Willie Red
This is and Man, Economy, and State by Murray N. Rothbard are works of genius!
Nov 19, 2008 Brian is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
my brain hurts. this book is intense.
“Nobody is in a position to decree what should make a fellow man happier.”

“The Market economy is the social system of the division of labor under private ownership of the means of production. Everybody acts on his own behalf; but everybody's actions aim at the satisfaction of other people's needs as well as at the satisfaction of his own. Everybody in acting serves his fellow citizens. Everybody, on the other hand, is served by his fellow citizens... The market directs the individual's activitie
The original virtue of the Austrian School of economics, aside from Menger's ability to coherently connect cause and effect for Austrian policymakers who never listened to him, is that it was an early adopter of the idea that economics as a school of thought must be based on what are now called "micro principles" like individual human behavior. An economy, ultimately, is the sum of individual market choices, each one made because the actor thought they would gain from it. Mises attempted to (and ...more
An absolutely BRILLIANT book, a true eye-opener that goes way beyond economics, destroying innumerable myths. It explains human action in such terms that one reaches a true understanding of society and politics.

Prof.von Mises distinguished himself by accurately predicting the outcome of various policies and ideologies.

In 1922, he wrote his "Gemeinwirtschaft" (Socialism), in which he predicted the fate of the recently founded USSR, including the economic collapse, the famines, the dictatorship, t
Piotr Jówko
Jun 22, 2015 Piotr Jówko rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: economist, libertarians, politicians, social activists
Recommended to Piotr Jówko by: Famous Polish "Musician"
Shelves: ase
Great economic treatise explaining the basics of the Austrian School of Economics (ASE). The work of Mises is long, but worth it to go through these 800 pages. The book is describing human action. I believe that the work of Mises should be read by anyone who is interested in economics. In addition to the explanation of the basis ASE we will also find a broad critique of interventionism, socialism and protectionism. I would recommend this work to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in economic ...more
Bobby Mckeown
This is the seminal work of one my most admired thinkers. Mises is to economics as Einstein is to physics. This was the hardest read for me only because of it's gigantic size. It isn't for the timid or early student in economics. Although the concepts are simple enough to grasp I would recommend Rothbard's "Man, Economy and State" before reading this work. As Rothbard said when asked what the book was about, he simply replied, "Everything". So true.
Connor Boyack
Heavy stuff. Powerful, and important to read and consider -- Mises is a juggernaut for liberty -- but other treatises exist which describe many of the same ideas in more understandable ways. Still, Mises is worth reading, and Human Action is an important asset, if not as material to slog through reading, then to have on hand as reference for discussion and research.
There are so many problems with this work. The fundamental is a rejection of empirical observations. He dismisses all attempts to understand Economics by looking at historical data or using mathematics as WRONG. He sees all human actions as irreducible and too complex to be understood. He then builds an entire argument ostensibly on rationality. If you look from a probabilistic world view, you see that each step he takes away from an empirical fact introduces uncertainty. Since each claim that i ...more
Charles Goodwell
This will be my holidays reading. Very interesting lessons on human cooperation, which is the way the author classifies the economic activities.
Now that the current crisis is rumoring the end of the Austrians economists is time to retake the basic principles of economic liberalism set for in Von Mises masterpiece.
After six months of intense reading have finally managed to complete Mises's magnum opus. This book is a revelation. An intense, no holds barred, unapologetic defense of capitalism and freedom, but not from a libertarian's but an economist's point of view. Starting with the first principles which are as simple as - "Humans act to move from a less satisfactory to more satisfactory state of affairs", the entire economic philosophy is built chapter by chapter. The book is well structured, however b ...more
One of these days, Ludwig, you and I will finish our little dance....
Adrián Sánchez
Es el tratado de economía más extenso que he leído hasta ahora (29-05-2015) en el que incluye un análisis espitemológico de la ciencia económica que termina proponiendo la praxeología como el método más adecuado, una ciencia social apriorística que sirve para estudiar la economía ya que parte de (lo que según Mises) la mínima expresión que compone a la economía en si, tratándose de la propia acción del ser humano como ser con la capacidad de razonar, a partir de este punto comienza un extenso an ...more
César Serradas
A obra prima de Mises sobre a ação humana, é uma leitura teórica sobre os benefícios do mercado livre. O intervencionismo e o marxismo aparecem refutados para lá de qualquer dúvida. Mises é cabal na sua teoria.

O que espanta mais na leitura é a actualidade do pensamento de Mises. Após mais de 70 anos, muitos dos exemplos parecem retratar a realidade actual. Os problemas políticos que vivemos poderiam bem ser resolvidos/abordados por este ensaio como se tivesse sido escrito com esse propósito. A
A monumental classic work from the Austrian School. Comprehensive and thorough is an understatement.

Quotes I want to remember that are central to his economic and political philosophy:

On Economics:
"Economics is not about goods and services, it is about the actions of living men."

On Felt Uneasiness:
"Strictly speaking the end, goal or aim of any action is always the relief from a felt uneasiness." - p92

"What acting man wants to know is how he must employ the available means for the best possible
...уф :( Утомила меня эта книга...

Эти 900 страниц (в ридере получилось почти 2500 страниц :)) я читал почти целый месяц. Она вызвала у меня море эмоций: от восхищения отдельными проблесками гениальности автора, до отвращения и ужаса.

Сразу хочу предупредить, что писать рецензию (в полном смысле этого слова) на данную книгу я не собираюсь. Во-первых, объём её очень велик. Мой краткий конспект книги составил более 50 стандартных страниц А4 :) И это только мысли и идеи, которые "зацепили", показал
Joshua Hruzik
Ludwig von Mises' Human Action was written as an advanced version of his work Nationalökonomie. Its intention was no other as to deliver a sound and comprehensive body that covers all core aspects of economics.
Mises understanding of economics distinguishes itself by proclaiming that intentional human action to remove uneasiness is the main source for economic behavior and that economics is a science solely based on reason and logic. The most important duty of economics ought to evaluate whether
Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quotes:

"It is a poor makeshift to dispose of a theory by referring to its historical background, to the 'spirit' of its time, to the material conditions of the country of its origin, and to any personal qualities of its authors. A theory is subject to the tribunal of reason alone. The yardstick to be applied is always the yardstick of reason."

-Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

"There is, of course, no guarantee that the voters will entrust the office to the most competent candidate. But
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Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (German pronunciation: [ˈluːtvɪç fɔn ˈmiːzəs]; September 29, 1881 – October 10, 1973) was an Austrian economist, historian, philosopher, author, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern free-market libertarian movement and the Austrian School.
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“He who only wishes and hopes does not interfere actively with the course of events and with the shaping of his own destiny.” 19 likes
“It is not the fault of the entrepreneurs that the consumers,the people, the common man,prefer liquor to Bibles and detective stories to serious books, and that governments prefer guns to butter. The entrepreneur does not make greater profits in selling bad things than in selling good things. His profits are the greater the better he succeeds in providing the consumers with those things they ask for most intensely.” 12 likes
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