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 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 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 Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

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The Wealth of Nations By Adam Smith

Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

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Adam Smith (1723–90) is perhaps best known as one of the first champions of the free market and is widely regarded as the founding father of capitalism. From his ideas about the promise and pitfalls of globalization to his steadfast belief in the preservation of human dignity, his work is as relevant today as it was in the eighteenth century. Here, Ryan Hanley brings together some of the world's finest scholars from across a variety of disciplines to offer new perspectives on Smith’s life, thought, and enduring legacy.

Contributors provide succinct and accessible discussions of Smith’s landmark works and the historical context in which he wrote them, the core concepts of Smith’s social vision, and the lasting impact of Smith’s ideas in both academia and the broader world. They reveal other sides of Smith beyond the familiar portrayal of him as the author of the invisible hand, emphasizing his deep interests in such fields as rhetoric, ethics, and jurisprudence. Smith emerges not just as a champion of free markets but also as a thinker whose unique perspective encompasses broader commitments to virtue, justice, equality, and freedom.

An essential introduction to Adam Smith’s life and work, this incisive and thought-provoking book features contributions from leading figures such as Nicholas Phillipson, Amartya Sen, and John C. Bogle. It demonstrates how Smith’s timeless insights speak to contemporary concerns such as growth in the developing world and the future of free trade, and how his influence extends to fields ranging from literature and philosophy to religion and law.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, vol.1)

Adam Smith

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The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith's first and in his own mind most important work, outlines his view of proper conduct and the institutions and sentiments that make men virtuous. Here he develops his doctrine of the impartial spectator, whose hypothetical disinterested judgment we must use to distinguish right from wrong in any given situation. We by nature pursue our self-interest, according to Smith. This makes independence or self-command an instinctive good and neutral rules as difficult to craft as they are necessary. But society is not held together merely by neutral rules; it is held together by sympathy. Smith argues that we naturally share the emotions and to a certain extent the physical sensations we witness in others. Sharing the sensations of our fellows, we seek to maximize their pleasures and minimize their pains so that we may share in their joys and enjoy their expressions of affection and approval.

The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

Dennis C. Rasmussen

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The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships―and how it influenced modern thought

David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as “the Great Infidel” for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor is the first book to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers―and how it influenced their world-changing ideas.

The book follows Hume and Smith’s relationship from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume’s death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other’s writings, supported each other’s careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume’s quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics―from psychology and history to politics and Britain’s conflict with the American colonies. The book reveals that Smith’s private religious views were considerably closer to Hume’s public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics―and Smith contributed more to philosophy―than is generally recognized.

Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.

The Money Game

Adam Smith

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"This is a modern classic." —Paul A. Samuelson, First American Nobel Prize Winner in Economics

"The best book there is about the stock market and all that goes with it." —The New York Times Book Review

"Anyone whose orientation is toward where the action is, where the happenings happen, should buy a copy of The Money Game and read it with due diligence." —Book World

" 'Adam Smith' is a veteran observer and commentator on the events and people of Wall Street.... His thorough knowledge of financial affairs gives his observations a great degree of authenticity. But the joy of reading this book comes from his delightful sense of humor. He is a lively and ingeniously witty writer who never stoops to acerbity. None of the solemn, sacred cows of Wall Street escapes debunking." —Library Journal