This entire list is available free of charge online. All three of these writers are in the public domain. I keep the files as word documents so that they are easily searchable.
- Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations…” — Smith is a lot of work, but necessary and worth it.
2) David Ricardo, “The Principles of Political Economy…” — Ricardo can be safely replaced with some research about Ricardo’s economics. He is a horrendously bad writer, but his ideas are essential. His primary contribution is the original exposition of monopolistic, rent-seeking behavior.
3) Henry George, “Progress and Poverty” — You could read just Henry George, but it is very important to understand conventional capitalist theory to realize how mainstream his ideas are.