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The Fatal Conceit

The Errors of Socialism
Narrated by: Everett Sherman
Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hayek gives the main arguments for the free-market case and presents his manifesto on the "errors of socialism." Hayek argues that socialism has, from its origins, been mistaken on factual, and even on logical, grounds and that its repeated failures in the many different practical applications of socialist ideas that this century has witnessed were the direct outcome of these errors. He labels as the "fatal conceit" the idea that "man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes."

©1988 F.A. Hayak (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Marius Ghica
  • 11-02-2014

Compelling analysis of key humanity fundamentals

Hayek is demystifying some of socialism 's fundamental misconceptions oferring a compelling view on some of humanity's fundamental elements such as language, property, market and religion. A must read.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-10-2013

It's not all within the capacity of reason

If you could sum up The Fatal Conceit in three words, what would they be?

Reason isn't king

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The idea that humans are so adaptable and ingenious that they have developed a way to organize themselves and cooperate to improve their condition that is beyond the bounds of reason alone. It is a subtle idea, that we can actually use our reason cooperatively, and not know how things come to be in an advanced order. For instance, listening to this audiobook on an iPhone. No one person has the knowledge to do this all by himself. It takes thousands of people co-operating in their little spheres of knowledge to make the whole.

Any additional comments?

I think this is the case against rationalism, meaning that our reason and rationality guide every single that we do. We can only know so much, and things like culture, tradition, morality, and unspoken rules of behavior for which we may not have the understanding of why they are there, are very important economizers that allow us to do greater and greater things within a complicated society. It makes the case that we have to make the most important decision in our lives as well, and it also makes the case that liberty is not the atomistic individualism and permissiveness of an extreme libertarian, but that which is based in property, and respect for property. Those were the 3 things that dominated the book, and were explained exceptionally well--the limits of rationalism, the case for culture, and liberty being based in property being very important.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Doug
  • 12-11-2012

If more had these insights we'd be better off

If you could sum up The Fatal Conceit in three words, what would they be?

Those who seek big government socialism are fooling themselves and those who they wish to take with them to these ends, It doesn't work, can't work and still here we go in an attempt to get there!

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

How straight forward the truth is and how solid the facts are that socialism fails and why our current President's agenda is so devoid of legitimacy.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My reaction was one of frustration over why our country's voters can't understand that our President's agenda to force us into socialism is so wrong and yet over half voted for more of the same...

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Pablo
  • 19-04-2015

A classic work of seroous philosophy

A powerful work of philosophy and anthropology. If what you are looking for is an antisocialist rant, don't: this is serious, hardcore philosophy

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 04-12-2015

The case for free markets and against socialism

Hayek is a Nobel laureate in economics. I have previously written a review here of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom which was first released in 1943/1944. The Fatal Conceit was released 45 years later in 1988, 4 years before the death of Fredrich A Hayek. As the full title of The Fatal Conceit indicates, Hayek takes on the foolishness of socialism in much greater detail than he did in The Road to Serfdom. Of course he had 45 more years of additional real world failures of socialism in 1988 than he had in 1943.

In my review of The Road to Serfdom I discuss more about Hayek's philosophy and life which I will not repeat here. But on the topic of political and economic philosophy it is important to properly classify Hayek as a classical liberal rather than a conservative. There is a wonderful essay Hayek wrote in 1960 titled "Why I am not a conservative" that is not copyrighted and is readily available on the web.

I'm unimpressed by the narration of the audiobook. The subject matter deserves better.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Theo
  • 29-03-2018

Try to keep up!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. The Fatal Conceit is a significant work by a significant author - and is relevant in so many ways today still. It will definitely improve anyone's understanding of important economic concepts that has a fundamental impact on most of society today.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not applicable.

What does Everett Sherman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I struggled to get used to the narrator's way of speaking. The intonation of his voice appears to fade towards the end of sentences which is common for conversation but made it difficult for me to listen to in anything less than ideal (quiet) surroundings. I either got used to it after a while or it improved as the reading progresses.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. This book is something you should give yourself nothing more than about 30 mins of listening at a time. There are some seriously complex topics and one's attention span could easily slip if you listen for too long.

Any additional comments?

Even as a capitalist, Hayek challenges many of my ideas of politics, society and even religion. He exposes many concepts that are neither intuitive nor immediately obvious. I also had to admit defeat to understanding many concepts which I held in high regard for many years related to society and the nature of man.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • No to Statism
  • 10-07-2018

A Humanist Book

In as much as I am a Christian, this books overarching, and underlying content was to promulgate F.A. Hayek's existential, and humanist philosophy. Though I most certainly cannot change this; these proved to be sources of annoyance as the book unfolded.

Everett Sherman's reading of "The Fatal Conceit" had the subtle undertones of a young man who "warmly" agreed with its content. As stated above, the obvious intent of Mr. Hayek (in my view), was to present his humanistic predilections. And as I also stated above, as a Christian, I cannot share in this predisposition. I am a "humane" person, but not a humanist.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • cris
  • 19-08-2019

True then and now

A great book, but every once in a while it's a bit hard to follow, mostly due to sentence structure. As for content, you would think it was written yesterday. I see a rehash of "modern liberal" ideas that are merely repeats or rehashes of those across the past couple of centuries. when he talks of "social justice" I had to laugh at how little that idea has evolved. Hayek, in true fashion, delivers a biting critique of socialism, if you're smart enough to pick up on it.

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  • Nathan H
  • 10-07-2019

A case for morality and freedom

Hayek applies his analytical techniques of markets to the question of the origin of morals.

While an obvious atheist his views of the role of religion in our advancement as a people are quite refreshing and convincing

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-07-2019

market and morals as self organizing systems.

Great book shows how the trade money, property are evolved ideas and between reason and instinct. human reason is not powerful enough to plan economies. evolution has created abstract ideas to allow large groups to live and create prosperity. criticism democracy may be a evolution self organizing system that may counter act the dehumanizing aspects of market systems without the unforeseen consequences of direct planning.

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  • Ras
  • 03-01-2018

A very lucid account of Hayekian views

I have been reading both socialist and liberalist scholars as a part of my PhD. This book is written in a very lucid and enjoyable style. The narration is also perfect. I can easily argue that this book is the best book to understand Hayekian views as it also summarises many of his earlier texts. Hayek is a real genius. Whether you agree him or not, he has powerful arguments which deserve every bit of intellectual efforts. Hayek mainly advocates for letting people connect together freely in a spontaneous order within traditions to create something magnificent, which cannot be matched by any rational and coercive design dictated by pretence reason. This is not a simple refutation of socialism as the argument has many other merits.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Tommy
  • 31-10-2017

Enjoyable, Insightful, Accessible Economics

Hayek examines how inherited social customs and traditions shape economic and social order and how artificially contrived systems such as socialism are doomed to fail.

I had feared that this book might be too dry and theoretical, but instead found it enjoyable, insightful and highly accessible.

I look forward to listening to more of Hayek's works on Audible.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Guilherme Duarte Carvalho
  • 19-03-2019

a Bible for the great thinker

an incredible book that will surprise you in breath and depth, one of the best books I have read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • beard
  • 08-06-2018

excellent

really enjoyed this book. wouldn't mind listening to some of hayek's other works as well.

thoroughly recommend for anyone interested in criticism of socialism.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-07-2019

Boring

Returned this as it was just alot of babbling and not really getting nowhere fast

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  • Ariel
  • 14-09-2016

Excellent treaty on socialist's pseudo rationality

This book provides excellent ammunition for fighting socialists supposedly rational arguments and defending property and individual freedom

4 of 10 people found this review helpful