Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ten most influential books

This list is going around for some Economics/Politics/Libertarian types in the blogosphere. (For example, you can see the list of Prof. Jacob Levy, a political theorist based at McGill, here) These lists almost always have a Rand or Hayek requirement in them so maybe it has something to do with the field. So it made me wonder what kind of "influential" books have formed legal scholars/academics. Of course, as with all kinds of lists, its very subjective but do give it a shot!


  1. Interesting. Looking around my library behind me, I see the following books (I'll limit myself to five) that I wouldn't be surprised to find on a list of influential books on or about law:

    1. Alexander Bickel, The Least Dangerous Branch
    2. Guido Calabresi, The Costs of Accidents
    3. A.V. Dicey, The Law of the Constitution
    4. H.L.A. Hart, The Concept of Law
    5. Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic

  2. Here's my best of the best (of course, the list is partially a result of my specific interests), in no particular order and pretty eclectic

    1. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism
    2. Dworkin, Law's Empire and Taking Rights Seriously
    3. Hart, The Concept of Law
    4. Ackerman, We the People
    5. Ely, Democracy and Distrust
    6. Plato, Republic
    7. Rousseau, The Social Contract
    8. Locke, Second Treatise of Government
    9. Kelsen, Pure Theory of Law

  3. I see Hart is a favorite. Unfortunately, I haven't read the whole thing - but I wholeheartedly recommend Hart's biography "The Nightmare and the Noble Dream" by Nicola Lacey, if you haven't read this already.

    My "formative" list I think is still unraveling but so far, I have five.

    1. John Rawls, Political Liberalism
    2. Karl Marx, Essay on the Jewish Question
    3. Gordon Wood, Creation of the American Republic
    4. Aristotle, Politics
    5. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

  4. This exercise is great!
    Here's my list of five more influential ones, not in order of importance or degree of influence:

    1. John Rawls, Political Liberalism.
    2. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    3. Richard Posner, Economic Analysys of Law
    4. Ronald Dworkin, Law's Empire and Taking Rights Seriously
    5. Hans Kelsen,Pure Theory of Law


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