Best Adam Smith books

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

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The Wealth of Nations was published 9 March 1776, during the Scottish Enlightenment and the Scottish Agricultural Revolution. It influenced a number of authors and economists, as well as governments and organizations. For example, Alexander Hamilton was influenced in part by The Wealth of Nations to write his Report on Manufactures, in which he argued against many of Smith's policies. Interestingly, Hamilton based much of this report on the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and it was, in part, Colbert's ideas that Smith responded to with The Wealth of Nations. Many other authors were influenced by the book and used it as a starting point in their own work, including Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and, later, Ludwig von Mises. The Russian national poet Aleksandr Pushkin refers to The Wealth of Nations in his 1833 verse-novel Eugene Onegin.

The Wealth of Nations (Bantam Classics)

Adam Smith

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The Wealth of Nations
by Adam Smith

It is symbolic that Adam Smith’s masterpiece of economic analysis, The Wealth of Nations, was first published in 1776, the same year as the Declaration of Independence.

In his book, Smith fervently extolled the simple yet enlightened notion that individuals are fully capable of setting and regulating prices for their own goods and services. He argued passionately in favor of free trade, yet stood up for the little guy. The Wealth of Nations provided the first--and still the most eloquent--integrated description of the workings of a market economy.

The result of Smith’s efforts is a witty, highly readable work of genius filled with prescient theories that form the basis of a thriving capitalist system. This unabridged edition offers the modern reader a fresh look at a timeless and seminal work that revolutionized the way governments and individuals view the creation and dispersion of wealth--and that continues to influence our economy right up to the present day.

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness

Russ Roberts

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A forgotten book by one of history's greatest thinkers reveals the surprising connections between happiness, virtue, fame, and fortune.

Adam Smith may have become the patron saint of capitalism after he penned his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations. But few people know that when it came to the behavior of individuals—the way we perceive ourselves, the way we treat others, and the decisions we make in pursuit of happiness—the Scottish philosopher had just as much to say. He developed his ideas on human nature in an epic, sprawling work titled The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Most economists have never read it, and for most of his life, Russ Roberts was no exception. But when he finally picked up the book by the founder of his field, he realized he’d stumbled upon what might be the greatest self-help book that almost no one has read.

In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Roberts examines Smith’s forgotten masterpiece, and finds a treasure trove of timeless, practical wisdom. Smith’s insights into human nature are just as relevant today as they were three hundred years ago. What does it take to be truly happy? Should we pursue fame and fortune or the respect of our friends and family? How can we make the world a better place? Smith’s unexpected answers, framed within the rich context of current events, literature, history, and pop culture, are at once profound, counterintuitive, and highly entertaining.

The Wealth of Nations (Modern Library)

Adam Smith

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First published in 1776, The Wealth of Nations is generally regarded as the foundation of contemporary economic thought. Adam Smith, a Scottish professor of moral philosophy, expounded the then-revolutionary doctrine of economic liberalism. The book’s importance was immediately recognized by Smith’s peers, and later economists have shown an unusual consensus in their admiration for his ideas. 

Combining economics, political theory, history, philosophy, and practical programs, Smith assumes that human self-interest is the basic psychological drive behind economics and that a natural order in the universe makes all the individual, self-interested strivings add up to the social good. His conclusion, that the best program is to leave the economic process alone and that government is useful only as an agent to preserve order and to perform routine functions, is now known as laissez-faire economics or noninterventionism. 

In noting for the first time the significance of the division of labor and by stating the hypothesis that a commodity’s value correlates to its labor input, Smith anticipated the writings of Karl Marx. Like Marx’s Das Capital and Machiavelli’s The Prince, his great book marked the dawning of a new historical epoch. 
 

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith

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In his first major work, economist Adam Smith concentrates on ethics and charity. The Theory of Moral Sentiments divides moral philosophy into four parts: Ethics and Virtue; Private rights and Natural liberty; Familial rights (called Economics); and State and Individual rights (called Politics). Smith establishes the intellectual framework for all of his later work, including The Wealth of Nations.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Penguin Classics)

Adam Smith

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Best known for his revolutionary free-market economics treatise The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith was first and foremost a moral philosopher. In his first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he investigated the flip side of economic self-interest: the interest of the greater good. Smith's classic work advances ideas about conscience, moral judgement and virtue that have taken on renewed importance in business and politics. 

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith

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Written in 1759 by Scottish philosopher and political economist Adam Smith, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" provides much of the foundation for the ideas in his later works, most notably in "The Wealth of Nations." Through this initial text, Smith expresses his general system of morals, exploring the propriety of action, reward and punishment, sense of duty, and the effect of numerous factors on moral sentiment. In so doing, Smith devised innovative theories on virtues, conscience, and moral judgment that are still relevant and accessible today. Though somewhat surprising to find a philosopher of Smith's abilities discussing aspects such as luck and sympathy and how they affect self-image or relationships, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" never loses its critical excellence in its good-natured understanding of the human exploration for the meaning of being good.

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

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The Wealth of Nations By Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations: The Economics Classic - A Selected Edition for the Contemporary Reader

Adam Smith

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Published in 1778, The Wealth of Nations was the first book on economics to catch the public's attention. It provides a recipe for national prosperity that has not been bettered since, based on small government and the freedom of citizens to act in their best interests. It reassuringly assumes no knowledge of its subject, and over 200 years on still provides valuable lessons on the fundamentals of economics. This deluxe, selected edition is a stylish keepsake from the Capstone Classics series.

This edition includes:

  • An abridged selection of all 5 books for the contemporary reader
  • An original commentary offering new research and analysis by classic literature guru Tom Butler-Bowdon 
  • A biography and chronology of Adam Smith's life and the events surrounding the original publication of the work

Today, The Wealth of Nations is still essential reading for any business or self-development library, reminding us that it is the ingenuity and drive of people, not governments, that remains the source of personal, national and global prosperity.

The Essential Adam Smith

Adam Smith

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Few writings are more often cited as a cornerstone of modern economic thought than those of Adam Smith. Few are less read.

The sheer strength of his great work, The Wealth of Nations, discourages many from attempting to explore its rich and lucid arguments. In this brilliantly crafted volume, one of the most eminent economists of our day provides a generous selection from the entire body of Smith's work, ranging from his fascinating psychological observations on human nature to his famous treatise on what Smith called a "society of natural liberty," The Wealth of Nations.

Among the works represented in this volume in addition to The Wealth of Nations are The History of Astronomy,Lectures on Jurisprudence, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and Smith's correspondence with David Hume.

Before each of Smith's writings Robert Heilbroner presents a clear and lively discussion that will interest the scholar as much as it will clarify the work for the non-specialist. Adam Smith emerges from this collection of his writings, as he does from his portrait in Professor Heilbroner's well-known book, as the first economist to deserve the title of "worldly philosopher."