The essay I, Pencil, written by Leonard E. Read is a story from a pencil's perspective of all the workmanship that has gone into its creation.

I am a lead pencil— the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.

Leonard Read (1958)

Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.

Leonard Read (1958)

The story follows the global supply chain, the source of the timber, the graphite, clay rapeseed oil, sulfur chloride, pumice and calcium sulfide and all the other materials that go into the pencil, the lead and the eraser.

The essay is an exploration of the economic concept of Free Market Capitalism and the message of it is that even the simplest object is, in fact, a product so complicated that no single man would be able to reproduce it.

Simple? Yet not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.

Leonard Read (1958)

Leonard Read (1958) I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read. Foundation for Economic Education.