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Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  3,764 ratings  ·  247 reviews
The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and economic controls. New Foreword by the Authors; Index.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 26th 1990 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1980)
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The Wealth of Nations by Adam SmithThe General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard KeynesThe Road to Serfdom by Friedrich HayekDebt by David GraeberEconomics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Best Economics Books
13th out of 208 books — 221 voters
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Best Libertarian Books
19th out of 213 books — 179 voters

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David Dort
Written in 1979, one of the libertarian economist(s) Friedmans' most accessible works, the clear-written and thought-provoking work does not require the reader to agree with Mr. Friedman's assertions to enjoy it. Rather, it requires the reader to ferociously wrack their brain for a counter argument or alternative solution to their assertions that governmental controls over economic freedoms (by regulation, price and wage controls, nationalization of industries, printing money, adding programs, b ...more
It's very frustrating to read a decades old book on socioeconomic problems and realize that those problems have only gotten worse in the interim. Especially when that book predicted the consequences of continuing along the current path and presented solutions to dig ourselves out of the worst of the results.

Milton Friedman is a giant in economics and it is our great tragedy that we have ignored his advice. Just as a man who denies law of gravity demonstrates it when he jumps off a cliff, the wes
I really enjoyed this book, and it confirmed some of my fears that I am really a libertarian at heart.

The basic premise is that people should be free to make their own choices whenever possible, and that government's role is to protect us from each other, and not to protect us from ourselves.

The Friedmans argue from a pragmatic standpoint more than from a philosophical standpoint. Generally, government does a poor job with what it touches. We have this idea in our head that government is a sort
Free to Choose posits the efficacy of subduing government intervention in a free enterprise market economy by rendering theoretical remedies that would alleviate government failures through more competition and personal freedom; ultimately, it would eliminate gratuitous taxes.
Freidman addresses some of the most problematic issues facing our nation that are unfortunately still prevalent today such as inflation, bad school systems, Social Security, economic equity, and consumer and worker protecti
Even though I am not completely convinced that Mr. Friedman is correct in all of his assertions, I must give this book four stars as work of literature.

First the positives: Milton Friedman once again proves his skill with words and logic in this brilliantly articulated book. It is hard to read through his arguments and not become all but convinced that he is correct in almost every subject. He carefully lays out the often unforeseen chains of events that follow from particular actions of individ
While some of his arguments could be stronger, this book is important because there aren't enough books that make those arguments—that free markets and capitalism have value.

Many people look at equality and fairness as one of two things: as an outcome, or as a process. Both equality of outcome and equality of process cannot be simultaneously achieved. That is an unrealizable and utopian vision. Equality of outcome and equality of process are in fact mutually exclusive—something few people reali
Wow! It took me a month to read this book!!! I suppose it does take longer to read a book for learning and (not) enjoyment reasons. Funny thing is, I actually enjoyed reading this book too! There are even occasional bits of humor that sneak up on you. (This is illustrated by a reference to Cognac during an explanation on historical forms of currency). Literally, every page of this book had a quote you’d want to slap on Facebook. It was that good. There were things I’d thought about for a long ti ...more
Alex Timberman
I love the way Milton Friedman argues. He stakes his position and charmingly disposes of opposing views. You can get a sense of his intellect and charm by watching some of his debates on YouTube. This book goes over several issues like welfare, minimum wage, and education where he prescribes the correct policy based on free-market fundamentals – hence the title of the book “Free to Choose.” Some of the issues seem outdated and I would not be surprised to know that even many main stream economist ...more
Erik Graff
Dec 03, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Erik by: David Schweickart
This book was assigned for Capitalism, Democracy, Socialism taught at Loyola University Chicago during the first semester of 1981/82 by David Schweickart. It infuriated me at the time, appearing to be an intellectually dishonest apologetic for the existing class divisions in the United States. I was more impressed by the author during a subsequent reading of his Capitalism and Freedom.
Tom Stamper
This is such a seminal work on free market economics that you will be surprised to hear examples and stories that you already know in other literature. Friedman's example of how many strangers it takes to make a pencil and how no one person can make it on his own is a classic. His proposal of the negative income tax is also the basis of much later study and theory. If the only thing you took from this book is the government's role in inflation it would be worth your time too. If you had to put a ...more
I bought this book back in the "good old days" when you could purchase a hardcover book for less than ten dollars. Due to the inflationary policies that Milton Friedman warns about, and that he provides a cure for, a comparable book today carries a price tag more than double the price of the book I purchased. It was a good investment.
In the book, Milton Friedman and his wife discuss the principles of the Free Market. It is this discussion, based on the foundation laid earlier in Capitalism and
A very effective conveyance of the meaning of free market economics and its value to the consumer. The opening quote is from Justice Louis Brandeis' opinion in Olmstead v. United States: "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but wi ...more
It can be disconcerting to find that you have finished a book but can't really explain what it was about much. That is how I feel about Free to Choose. Yes, this is an economics book, so I can say that it is about economics. I can tell you that the main point here seemed to be that the free market is good, but America is (was, it was written in 1980) at a turning point and will soon have to make a decision about which economic policy it should adopt. I actually read the whole book, cover to cove ...more
Common sense. This book makes a clear, rational case for the free market. Friedman dedicates a chapter to each of the major issues facing our country, including education, energy, taxes, and the environmental movement (the book was written in 1979 but the arguments on both sides of the issues still resonate today). Similar to Thomas Sowell, Ayn Rand, or Thomas Dilorenzo, Friedman champions the individual over the group, arguing that when people have the opportunity to choose for themselves, soci ...more
Alvaro Berrios
Although this book was written in 1979, it is still one of the best books anyone can read and the information is still completely relevant to what is going on today in our country. If you hate big government you will love it as it will support many of your beliefs. If you love big government you should read it regardless because many of your pre-held ideas can be dispelled as what is often blamed on the free market is, in reality, the fault of misleading big government policies.

The inefficiencie
Jonathan S
Really a good book, which gives the insight of economy, free market, trade unions, education, bureaucracy, policies etc.,

Also gives us the idea why we require above subjects into consideration.
Greg Powers
I learned that Milton Friedman was a genius! Yet I also learned that he's not infallible, his focus on monetarism and seeming disregard for fiscal policy didn't work out. Also he likes the Fed and just thinks they're not being used properly (eg. the great depression would have been prevented if only we would have used the correct type of government interference...) The most interesting and compelling part was his argument for free trade. This is a pretty easy-to-understand book that nearly anyon ...more
Krishna Kumar
This book is one of the most well-written and impassioned argument for laissez faire. The Friedmans demonstrate how government interference can create inefficiencies in the market that can be exploited by special interest groups. They discuss how government spending, however well-meaning, can degenerate into huge bureaucracies that fail to achieve their objectives, but keep requiring huge budgets.

The basic problem with a book like “Free to Choose” is that it turns into a propaganda book which ex
Tyler Hooper
Amazing how timeless many of the economic and social issues of the last decade are. This book has been around a while, but it touches on nearly every poignant topic we face as a nation today. I admit that I subscribe to his (in my opinion) common sense, economically motivated, and sometimes socially unpopular ideas, on how to right the course of our country and maintain the world power status we have come to take for granted.
A Nobel Prize dose of reality! If time is a true test, then 32 years has proven that the Friedman's perspective of the effect of freedom (or lack thereof) on our nation and it's economy, was not a theory. Sadly, many of the potential pitfalls mentioned in 1979, are 2011 realities. The only bright spot is that almost all states now have some form of balance budget amendments, where only 8 states had them in 1979!

Stanley Arthur
This is arguably viewed as the best work of the two legendary free market economists from the University of Chicago "Chicago School" of economic theory, Milton and Rose Friedman. The so called "freshwater" approach to economics has been contrasted with the "saltwater" views of Stanford, Harvard and MIT.
Ok, so it was written and published in 1980. But the free market approach to managing the economy is even more relevant today as we watch the failed Keynesian experiment being carried out in both
Patrick Peterson
Very good book, but not great. Excellent companion to the TV series of the same name that exposed Milton and free market ideas (mostly) to many, many people.

Read Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard to compare and contrast the Chicagoan/monetarist/positivist methodology vs. the Austrian/free market ideas.
Rex Fuller
Absolutely a must read to consider oneself educated. I have read it at least twice and will read it several more, I'm sure.
This book is takes the principles espoused in Atlas Shrugged and backs them up with data and real life examples. Where Ayn Rand offers compelling fictional stories to demonstrate the virtue of free market capitalism and the vice of Marxist central planning, Milton and Rose Friedman share compelling true stories and easy to understand analogies to add strength to these arguments.

Written at the end of Jimmy Carter's presidency, it is easy to see why Reagan was such a successful president and why R
Great book. Lays out a dozen basic macroeconomic truths with data and examples and reasoning so that even the non-economist can understand. Although written in 1980, the chapters on minimum wage, growth of government, and bureaucracy remain dead on.

The book covers much of the same material as Capitalism and Freedom, but here it is better written, more sharply defined, and brought down a notch or two in terms of technical detail, making it easier for the non-economist to enjoy.

My only criticism o
Don Weidinger
motive for individual or public good intentions, value of voluntary exchange in free societies, gas lines with price control, every society dissatisfaction with distribution of goods, when everyone owns no one owns, language develops freely, activities of government subject to great abuse, Hong Kong low taxes free markets, when state controls low standard of living examples in Germany, house divided cannot stand collectivist leaning, leaning away from freedom of speech by IRS, support us or more ...more
A theorem asserting that voluntary free trade in our society will work best. He gives some examples of successes due to Capitalism that happened in the past. Friedman, likewise discussed Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nation" invisible a simple exchange between two individuals (the buyer, and sellers)could coordinate the activity of millions of people seeking each its own interest to make everybody having an advantageous position in our institution.

According to Mr. Friedman our freedom ha
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 12, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone Who Doesn't Foam at the Mouth at Free-market Thinking
This book published in 1979 by a Nobel-Prize-winning economist and his wife is still relevant (and in print) over 30 years later. The Preface tells us the book had "two parents;" Friedman's 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom where he argued free markets make for free societies, and the ten-part 1980 PBS TV series Free to Choose. (The ten episodes of the series are mirrored in the ten chapters of the book.) The book based on the series is "less abstract and more concrete." Having read the first boo ...more
Mark D.
This was a re-read; it's been nearly 20 years since I first read this book. It's interesting to look back over the 30 years since the book was originally written and see where Friedman's guesses about how certain things might happen came true and where they didn't. By and large, Friedman was eerily prophetic about the dangers of improper meddling in the economy.

Some of Friedman's critics like to claim that he believed that the free market could do no wrong. This is a horrid mischaracterization o
A prototype of the current crop of approachable books on economics

12.5 hours
10 CDs
Read by James Adams

Free To Choose: A Personal Statement is the manifesto on the power of capitalism and freedom (and how they go hand in hand) that was designed to be read, digested and discussed by the common man, not the economist. In fact, this is the book that was designed as a follow-up companion to a 10 part PBS mini-series that fleshed out the ideas in the series and addressed issues and further questions
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Milton Friedman was an American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual. He made major contributions to the fields of economics and statistics. In 1976, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy. He was an advocate of economic freed ...more
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Capitalism and Freedom Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960 Why Government Is the Problem Price Theory

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“When unions get higher wages for their members by restricting entry into an occupation, those higher wages are at the expense of other workers who find their opportunities reduced. When government pays its employees higher wages, those higher wages are at the expense of the taxpayer. But when workers get higher wages and better working conditions through the free market, when they get raises by firm competing with one another for the best workers, by workers competing with one another for the best jobs, those higher wages are at nobody's expense. They can only come from higher productivity, greater capital investment, more widely diffused skills. The whole pie is bigger - there's more for the worker, but there's also more for the employer, the investor, the consumer, and even the tax collector.

That's the way the free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people. That's the secret of the enormous improvements in the conditions of the working person over the past two centuries.”
“For example, the supporters of tariffs treat it as self-evident that the creation of jobs is a desirable end, in and of itself, regardless of what the persons employed do. That is clearly wrong. If all we want are jobs, we can create any number--for example, have people dig holes and then fill them up again, or perform other useless tasks. Work is sometimes its own reward. Mostly, however, it is the price we pay to get the things we want. Our real objective is not just jobs but productive jobs--jobs that will mean more goods and services to consume.” 24 likes
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