I must have been forty years old before reading Frederic Bastiat’s classic
The Law. An anonymous person, to whom I shall eternally be in debt, mailed me an unsolicited copy. After reading the book I was convinced that a liberal-arts education without an encounter with Bastiat is incomplete. Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life.
The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct. [From the Introduction by Walter E. Williams.]