Koch Bros’ Summer Reading List for Donors Promotes Freedom, Fossil Fuels, and Matt Ridley

Koch Bros’ Summer Reading List for Donors Promotes Freedom, Fossil Fuels, and Matt Ridley
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Students won’t be the only ones working through a stack of summer reading this August.  

Billionaires Charles and David Koch at their top secret bi-annual donors meeting last weekend gave attendees a ‘library request card’ with 48 recommended books to read on politics, business, freedom, and fossil fuels.

Among these books are free-market classics by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy by Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White which makes “an unapologetic case for fossil fuels”, and The Evolution of Everything, the latest publication by British climate science denier and coal mine owner Matt Ridley.

You can see the full list tweeted out by CNN’s Teddy Schleifer here.

It seems the Kochs – well known for supporting organisations in the Web of Denial to block climate action – are big fans of Ridley’s work. They join climate science denying media tycoon Rupert Murdoch in his praise for the Times columnist.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post’s Jim Tankersley, Charles Koch discussed his past work and said: “So out of this and my fascination with these scientific principles, I developed a real passion for understanding the philosophy of science, the scientific method.

And then I came across this idea of the Republic of Science. And if you’ve read any of Matt Ridley’s stuff on evolution of technology – see, that’s why I enjoyed that book, because that was very similar to the thought process I went through. Scientific discoveries and innovation come from combining different existing technologies and different perspectives in a unique way.”

Ridley’s book, however, received lacklustre reviews in the Guardian and New York Times.

And as the Independent wrote: “at some point the reader starts to wonder if Ridley has lost sight of his theme. The book morphs into a sustained polemic on behalf of libertarian anti-State ideas not a million miles from those of the US Republican Tea Party.”

DeSmog UK contacted Ridley for comment but he did not respond in time for publication.

Other items on the Kochs’ recommended reading list include:

The Tyranny of Experts, by William Easterly (2014). In this book, Easterly argues there is no one ‘silver bullet’ solution to promoting economic development, instead political, economic and personal freedom must be supported.

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler (2012). Diamandis and Kotler discuss their optimism about a future ‘era of abundance’ where all people will have their basic needs met.

Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, by Ian Bremmer (2015). This book criticises current American political strategy and proposes three other options for the country’s future role in the world.

My Bondage and My Freedom, by Frederick Douglass (1855). This is the second volume of abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s autobiography condemning slavery and recounting his journey to freedom.

And of course, Good Profit, by Charles Koch. Because what’s a summer reading list without a little self-promotion?

Photo: Charles Koch by Fortune Brainstorm TECH via Flickr

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Koch Bros’ Summer Reading List for Donors Promotes Freedom, Fossil Fuels, and Matt Ridley
Kyla is a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

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