Goodkind and Mises

Two books I have been reading lately, Soul of the Fire and Human Action.

Soul of the Fire is the 5th book the fantasy series by Terry Goodkind. Terry describes himself as an Objectivist, which you can catch glimpses of in his writing. My wife, who has completed the series, informs me that some of later books in the series are far more obviously written by an Objectivist mind. Overall, I really like the series. His first two books kept me riveted throughout. And my wife spent a little of 2 months reading all 11 books (I bought her the first three for Christmas and she purchased the other 7 almost immediately). However, books 4 and 5 have become bogged down in minutiae of the story at points and bored me into speed reading over a couple of chapters (not a usual occurrence for me).

Human Action I picked up again after reading portions of it 2 years ago. Mises is a man I either cheer for or scream at, depending on the chapter I'm reading. One of the lone economists who was critical of communism, socialism, Keynesism, and a starch supporter of Capitalism, Mises is often dismissed from academy because he seemed reject empirical evidence in his methodology of praxeology. This leads to Mises to some rationalistic explanations of economics. For example, he claims it was only the advent of birth control that leads to higher standards of living (p. 667-672). This is only a partial truth because an increasing population also, over the long run, allows for greater division of labor, resulting higher standards of living as well. If it weren't for this striking resemblance to naked rationalism, I would definitely sing the praises of Mises. I'm sure fans of his won't like to hear me say he's rationalistic, but how else can you explain praxeology? But given this fault, the book is loaded with excellent discussion of economics and a throughly effective critic of the failures in planned economies and all socialistic endeavors. When he does start with the correct assumptions, his analysis is dead on.

Human Action is a weighty book, just shy of 1000 pages, but I'd like to study it in more detail along with George Reisman's book on economics. I am sure between the two of them, they could provide a foundation in economics unlike any class I could receive in school.


  1. Book 6 of the Sword of Truth series is by far the best and by far the most rational - at least up to ten (I have not yet read Confessor).

    Pillars of Creation was a little disappointing, but still a very good read, especially given the Wizard's Rule in it. In fact all the Rules from Book 6 to 10 are better than the previous ones.

    Rules 6, 9, and 10 are the best of the Rules in books 6 to 10, with Rule 6 being the best.

    I won't go into detail so as to avoid a spoiler, but book 8 even fixes a serious error in Richard's thinking.

    In short, you really should finish book 5 and read books 6+. They really do improve on the previous books, though I don't feel the same way about books 4 and 5 as you do. Book 7 is the one I felt that way about at first, but by the time I eventually gave it a real chance I quickly changed my mind.

    Now, as to the two economists, I wouldn't know about them, but I've read they are mixed bags.

  2. Thanks Kane. It sounds like your impressions of books 6-10 matches my wifes. I'm sure I will finish the series, probably this summer. My only plans for the summer is to move and to do lots of reading. Should be a good one.