Milton Friedman, R.I.P.
Free To Choose was a major transformative experience for me. It made economics matter, and it made economics fun. Milton Friedman was such a clear thinker that it was nearly impossible to disagree with him - whenever he ventured an opinion on a topic, it was clear he'd wrestled with the strongest contrary views he could find and adjusted his own position to take them into account. He could cut straight to the heart of almost any contentious issue and locate the exact point of disagreement, often understanding both sides of an argument better than those with whom he argued.
His key concern was always to distinguish what policy was most likely to bring about a positive change in the world. Good intentions could usually be assumed, but good outcomes were what really mattered.
Before I read Friedman, I was a liberal. Immediately after, I was a libertarian.
He will be missed.
UPDATE - here is the Parable of the Pencil:
And (very low quality video, but a classic) The Four Ways To Spend Money: