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The Wealth of Nations

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  14,747 ratings  ·  452 reviews
It was Adam Smith (1723?90) who first established economics as a separate branch of knowledge, and many would say his work has never been surpassed. The Wealth of Nations, which appeared in 1776, is the definitive text for all who believe that economic decisions are best left to markets, not governments. At the heart of Smith's doctrine is an optimistic view of the effects ...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 6 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Naxos Audiobooks (first published 1776)
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Dec 16, 2013 Szplug marked it as intermittently-reading  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I feel so very goddamned embarrassed by my lack of higher education. There are just too many of the foundational works of Western civilization that I am only getting around to now, in my early forties—and even with the padding of years, I feel depressingly unprepared heading into them. So much fucking time wasted doing shit, when I could have been reading...

Smith is smooth, like a nice rye whisky. Right off the bat, this artful Adam opens with a remark about the productive powers of la
For a truth, about 3/4 of this book is 18th century blabber about corn prices. Of the remaining 1/4, about 1/2 is criticism of mercantilsm, which is mostly obvious and definitely boring.

The remaining 1/8 of the book, however, is worth fighting through the rest for. Even if you've heard the explanation of the "invisible hand" a thousand times, there is something magical about reading the actual words by the father himself:

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker
Erik Graff
Jan 14, 2015 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Evelyn Wood
A prideful and ambitious boy, hearing that President Kennedy had been a speed reader, I cut lawns and shovelled walks to pay for an Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program. We met in the spare basement of the hideous modern structure that passed for Park Ridge's "Inn"--a residence primarily for attendants and pilots from the airlines utilizing nearby O'Hare International Airport. I was a sophomore, the youngest in class, quite serious and full of myself.

The Wood method consisted, basically, of two
Richard Fulgham
Apr 19, 2009 Richard Fulgham rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: swine, hyenas and robber barons
"The Wealth of Nations" is the book that changed greed to a virtue instead of a sin.

In fact, greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christian theology. Greed is a sin in ALL the great religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Buddhism, American Indian Spiritualism, Wiccan nature love, Bahá'í Faith, Gnosticism · · Rastafari,Samaritanism, Indian Ayyavazhi, Jainism, Sikhism Iranian Ahl-e Haqq, Manichaeism, Mazdak, Yazidi,Zoroastrianism, East Asian Confucianism, Taoism,Recent C
Apr 24, 2008 Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Recommended to Anne by: I'm not going lie, I was forced to read it in American Nat'l Gov
Shelves: ethnographical
How can one go through life without reading the Wealth of Nations?

Adam Smith had the idea of modern economics before the United States was even sovereign (I go not so much for good writers, as I do for innovative and groundbreaking thinkers). Imagine coming up with your own idea of an economic system long before the world was ready. And unlike Marx, may I mention, Smith's ideals are not only flourishing and still seen today, but they are the foundation of the many, many economies and nations.
Always a great classic on economics. His one fatal flaw was opening the door for Marx. By placing value based on labor, laborers feel they are the ones that deserve all the reward. Labor means nothing if no one wants the item being produced. The free market drives price, not the amount of labor put into a product.

Great chance to see and understand how economics developed.
Adam Smith’s “An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations” (often called simply “The Wealth Of Nations”) is one of two great works from the Scottish economist and philosopher, the other being the lesser known “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”. “The Wealth Of Nations” was published on March 9th, of 1776, but there were additional editions in 1778, 1784, 1786, and 1789. I read the free Kindle version of “The Wealth Of Nations”, and while I do not recommend that version I do recom ...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
“Money, says the proverb, makes money. When you have got a little, it is often easy to get more. The great difficulty is to get that little.”

This book was absolutely a pain to get through. Maybe the biggest difference between 2012 and 1776 is that people have less patience. This economic book, seems to have made a huge influence on future economists and capitalists, but reading over 1000 pages on extremely dry economics was really difficult for me. There are some good ideas in the book, but read
A long time to read, but providing interesting perspective. Adam Smith is called the Father of Modern Economics. After reading his book, considered his magnum opus (great work), I have the following thought to share.

Smith discusses three types of people; those who make money by rent, by labor, and by employment of stock. With respect to the various laws each of these group tends to propose, he considers the likely merits. Those who make money by rent can only make money if the people who supply
Aug 27, 2014 Manny marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, the American Right tend to be as vehemently in favor of the Invisible Hand of the market as they are vehemently against the Invisible Hand of Darwinian selection. And the old USSR was exactly the same, except that they reversed the two positions.

Am I the only person who thinks this is just plain weird?
4.0 stars. I read this on my own in law school. I know, I know, who does that right? Well I obtained this as part of my Easton Press colleciton of "Books That Changed the World." I remember being really intrigued by the book and it made me more interested in the history of economics.
We know from experience that Smith's system is not complete unto itself. In fact, Smith himself would probably have admitted this. His references to ancient history and political philosophy would seem to show not only that he accepted that the territory of "statecraft" is not entirely contained within the borders of classical economics but also that he accepted the State's place alongside the Market as a fundamental, primordial feature of social existence.

That much being said, Smith deserves cre
Emre Poyraz
I would say that this is the most overrated book in economics. That does not mean that this book is without its merits, but I was definitely frustrated. Let me tell you why:

1. Smith, in various places in the book, criticizes merchantilists and others. However, since the average reader (even the average economist) has no knowledge of merchantilists and physiocrats, all his comments SEEM correct, whereas in fact they are just simplistic and unfair (merchantilists never confused wealth and money, a
Anna Esq.
Keeping in mind this book was published in 1776, the same year the US was founded, and that it is written in the language of the time, this is a thorough examination of how patterns of trade, currency, and growth occur. The foundation upon which all other economics books are written.

Stick this book in your bathroom and read one of the short little 12-page chapters every time you pay an extended visit. At over 1000 pages, it will take a while, but if you want to teach yourself how to debunk the f
Up there with the Bible as one of the most misquoted books of all time? I strongly suspect that most people who believe themselves to be disciples of Adam Smith have never actually read this book. Adam had no time for theoretical economic models and doctrinaire dog-eat-dog free market dogma. He was an empiricist and a moralist who believed people should be given the opportunity to make the best of themselves, but that the most vulnerable members of society should be taken care of by the group. H ...more
Dolor Nocturno
Recuerdo una columna del diario La Nación que consistía en protestar de forma acérrima contra el intervencionismo del Estado, poniendo como ejemplo “La Riqueza de las Naciones”, de Adam Smith. Más allá de las ideologías, aquella directamente refunfuñaba contra cualquier tipo de impuestos. Directamente pedían abolir los impuestos. TODOS. Era el egoísmo en estado puro. Esto va de la mano de algo que escuché hace poco: “En toda sociedad DEBE haber gente pobre porque sólo así aparece el don de la ge ...more
Несомненно то, что данная книга намного опередила своё время.

Адам Смит чётко и ясно обобщил и систематизировал столь сложные явления в экономике государства, а также нашёл множество взаимозависимых тенденций.

Книга поможет понять много сложных вещей и, возможно, вы сами научитесь им, и будете применять данные знания для умножения собственных материальных ценностей, и ценностей нашего общества.
The Wealth of Nations is an overview of economics by the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith around the time of the American Revolution. At the time of the writing, the popular ideology of economics was mercantilism - that is, countries should export as much products and import as much gold as possible. Hence, the somewhat strange title of the book. (The fact that "capitalism" and "economics" were not common phrases at the times doesn't help either)

Much of what the book says confirms what any Econom
My Summary:
The natural processes of a successful economy are found in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Although two hundred plus years old, Smith focuses on significantly profound and pertinent principles for any age. Stressing that regulations tend to limit prosperity and production, his extensive research of history and economics proves that a free market is an effective system in producing a wealthy nation. “The object of political economy of every country is to increase the riches and power o
Ahmad Sharabiani
با نگارش کتاب «ثروت ملل» بود، که «آدام اسمیت» مرزهای اقتصاد را گسترش داد، تا حوزه های دیگر، همانند: «علوم سیاسی»، و حتی «انسان شناسی» را نیز دربربگیرد. کتاب «ثروت ملل»، پنج جلد است، و تنها دو جلد نخستین است، که الهام بخش است. در این دو جلد است، که ایشان علت بنیادین «ثروت ملل»، یعنی تمایز بین «قیمت طبیعی» و «قیمت بازار» کالاها را، توضیح میدهد. جلدهای سوم تا پنجم اما، مباحثی را شامل میشود، که خوانشگر انتظار ندارد، آنها را در یک کتاب اقتصادی بیابد. اگرچه «آدام اسمیت»، هماره بدگمانی ژرفی در باره رفت ...more
Ibrahim Mahmoud
رأى سميث أن الوصول إلى الثروة هوالغاية الأساسية للاقتصاد، وكان للمواضيع التي تطرق إليها (العمل، القيمة، الريع، السعر، التوزيع..) أثر بالغ في تنظيم علم الاقتصاد السياسي.

اعتبر سميث أن ثروة كل أمة تقاس بقدرتها الإنتاجية، وتناول الإنتاجية كمقياس للثروة التي يمكن مضاعفتها بتقسيم العمل. واهتم بطرق توزيع الثروة في المجتمع ووسائل تنظيم التجارة وتقسيم العمل، إضافة إلى أطروحاته المتعلقة بحرية السوق واليد الخفية التي تساهم في دفع الحركة الاقتصادية وتشجيع الاستثمار، ودعوته إلى الحد من تدخل الدولة المباشر في
Anthony D Buckley
It is so easy, in the wake of Reaganesque and Thatcheresque economics to see The Wealth of Nations as a conservative tome. In fact, it has the whiff of radical thought about it, for it helped overturn an old world, and sought to liberate not only the businessman, but also the worker.
Adam Smith you asshole.
Productivity and progress are the heart and lungs of Smith’s body economic. In pragmatic detail, he dissects the inner workings of 18th century mercantilism and makes his diagnosis. Then, in Frankensteinien fashion, he animates a new life of free market economics.

His ideas have become ingrained for the American modern reader. The notion of enlightened self-interest developing a dynamic economy is the ideological cornerstone for fiscally conservative Republicans. We also see corruptions of his ot
Jan 07, 2009 Scott rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians
Recommended to Scott by: Douglas Fowler
~Incredibly~ relevant for its impact and views on the time. Smith was incredibly insightful, and had much to say which applied to his application to the state-church influence on commerce, where individual economic freedom applied and how individual decisions weighed into meta-systemic concepts.

What I find baffling is the way many treat it as universal scripture instead of ideas to test and a view on a slice of time. Smith did not venture to produce a tome for all times nor a treatise on how thi
I skimmed this rather than reading it really carefully, and was mostly surprised by how little it matches up with the contemporary view of Smith's work. A lot of things that people say about this book nowadays are wildly inaccurate, and a lot of people who use Smith to support their economic arguments have not, I suspect, actually read him. Many of the ideas set out here seem obvious, but I suspect that is only because they have been so widely used since he first introduced them. It is difficult ...more
Three things happened in 1776.

1. The Revolutionary war started (Declaration of Independence).

2. Watt's first steam engine powered Wilkinson's
iron foundry blowers.

3. Adam Smith published "The Wealth of Nations".
Benoit Blanchard
Adam Smith's classic is an excellent introduction to the world of economics. He starts at the beginning for the uninitiated, describing the division of labor and describing the relationship between labor, stock, and land use. Throughout his discussion he describes, taking real-life examples, what happens when the State meddles with either of those. Now to understand Smith's examples, one has to put himself in an 18th-Century context, but the underlying principles are just as valid in the 21st Ce ...more
Smith's redundancy became too much for me. I stopped after about 75% of the total work. I acknowledge the familiar economic doctrines that undergirded the development of free markets and capitalistic thinking which permeate Smith's dialog. I accept the purported value and influence of his work in the science of economics. But, the 250 year-old language is, at best, confusing and tedious. I shall leave it to scholars of economics to digest and argue over Smith's meaning.

I was grateful enough for
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Goodreads Librari...: Typo 2 13 Oct 24, 2014 09:40PM  
  • The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money
  • Capitalism and Freedom
  • The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation
  • The Young Man's Guide
  • An Essay on the Principle of Population
  • Human Action: A Treatise on Economics
  • Capital, Vol 3: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole
  • The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry
  • Seek: Reports from the Edges of America and Beyond
  • Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why
  • The Road to Serfdom
  • What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar
  • The Crisis
  • Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
  • The Rough Riders
  • Principles of Political Economy: And Chapters on Socialism
  • The Frontier in American History
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
Although the exact date of Smith's birth is unknown, his baptism was recorded on 16 June 1723 at Kirkcaldy.

A Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nat
More about Adam Smith...
The Theory of Moral Sentiments  The Wealth of Nations, Books 1-3 The Invisible Hand An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol 1 The Essential Adam Smith

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“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.” 137 likes
“The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. ” 44 likes
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