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The Wealth of Nations, Books 1-3

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  856 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Originally delivered in the form of lectures at Glasgow, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations Books I-III laid the foundations of economic theory in general and 'classical' economics in particular, and this Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Andrew Skinner.

The publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776 coincided with America's Declaration
Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 25th 1982 by Penguin Classics (first published 1776)
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Sandra Simmons
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults 25+
Shelves: biz-books
The Wealth of Nations is not an easy read, but it is the best, most truthful look at industrial and geopolitical finance, capitalism and free-market functionality ever written.

If you have ever wondered why something that occurs in some far off land can have an economic impact felt round the world, then the answer can be found in this book.

Brandon Colligan
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith is a collection of three books on different subjects in economic theory, marketing philosophy and economics. All of these books contain numerous subjects. The first book is titled "Of the Causes of Improvement in the productive Powers of Labour". This book talks about the division of labor and how certain professions buy and sell more and have a greater output in a market. This book also talks about the importance of stock and wages in a company. The second ...more
Bob Nichols
Smith's "unseen hand" was, apparently, mentioned only once in The Wealth of Nations, but the essential notion is implicit throughout the book. We are self-interested beings at our core, Smith argues. In an economic exchange, benefit comes not from benefice - good-hearted concern for others - but, rather, from the desire for mutual gain. Spontaneous order results from each seeking their own value. Self-interest, promoted this way and magnified to a nation-scale, promotes the interest of the whole ...more
Griffin Wilson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
A historic and classic work, of course. However, quite boring in parts.

Would recommend reading the first 6 or 7 chapters in book 1 along with books 2 and 3 to glean what you may from the most famous, well-known, and practical sections. The last half of book 1 (about 100 pages) merely concerns the historical value/ price of silver, rent of land, and various types of produce; books 4 and 5 detail many aspects of the mercantile system; interesting, I suppose, if you are the right type of person.
Niall Fitzpatrick
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very challenging but rewarding read. I did start it before but found this edition much easier to stick with. I read a lot about economic history already but the genius of Adam Smith is his passive explications of every day trade in its influencing conditions. The book can be numbingly in-depth, porridge for the mind but there in lies its goodness, its intellectual nourishment. So many economics books are just reactions to the zietgeist of the times in which they're published but Smiths work is ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the work, published in 1776, that transformed the economy of the Western world from mercantilism to capitalism, setting the stage for the global economy today. Adam Smith, a Scottish economist, purposely coincided the publishing of his book with the founding of the United States of America, which he determined would be the principal laboratory for his grand economic experiment. Smart guy...
David Miller
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Some might read Adam Smith for guidance on the economics of today, and that would be a poor idea. It's more interesting, especially in this condensed form, as a record of an eighteenth century worldview, and an opportunity to reflect upon the way old worldviews insinuate themselves into the baseline assumptions of later perspectives.

Smith's economics are primarily concerned with the production and consumption of stuff, which is as good a place to begin as any, since we humans do require certain
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle schoolers and above
Read it to vet the deception in rhetoric:-
The Wealth of Nations almost sparked a revolution in its time 1776. Adam Smith is considered the father of modern economics. I read this book for researching economics which started merely as an art, and is now a cryptic science ,the very foundation of "business". Book is artfully written. it is a weaving of words to cast a spell .
This book was supposed to be an intellectual attempt to appeal people's sense of morality , communal harmony etc to get the
Lindsey Buck
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating read for an economist. It is the basis for many pieces of theory and models that are standard in neoclassical teachings. However, reading it gives you a better insight into Adam Smith than many modern economists do. Although he was a free market capitalist, he recognized some very important things that standard theory doesn't: the rent of land being an unproductive gain (I do believe he'd agree with Henry on a rent tax) and the great inequality caused by "entails" (he'd cer ...more
David Mytton
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting thing for me was how much of what Adam Smith said just seemed like common sense. Of course, that is only the case because of Admin Smith! This work is really the canonical text on how the economy works and has defined what common sense (in the realm of economics) has become.

As I started to read the ~85 "Analytical Introduction", I realised that it was actually analysing what was to come, so I think it is better to read the main books first and then come back to the introduct
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I read a condensed-86 pages-version with notes of this important book. First, I must say Economics and I are not real friends. The rating is dictated by the fact that I had a really difficult time reading and understnading this book- though the notes on the version said any layman could understand it. I found the references and notes a great help to understanding Smith's ideas. After finishing it- it ended with an explantion of his view on Morality and Government and our actions, I really though ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Don't. Read excerpts.
It's a dull book – not a criticisms of its ideas, what it's led to, or anything like that, but to read it today, without a direct interest, is tedious. Good start, nice bit about banking in book 2, some interesting history in book 3, but overall it's longwinded. Areas where it comes to point in a succinct manner are the exception and the style is nothing remarkable.
A difficult read with long examples. If you’ve taken economic courses before this is nothing new and hearing it from the horse’s mouth felt like more of a formality. For someone who doesn’t know anything about modern economic theory, this will either be enlightening or too difficult to work through.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Many of the ideas have become fairly mainstream in introductory economics courses. I think most people have been exposed to most of the ideas in this book in high school, which is a testament to the influence this book has.
Chandrasen Rajashekar
How to get rich without getting lucky from Naval.

This is a foundational book, by that it means its a original book in a given field that are very scientific in their nature.

Instead of reading a business book pick up this book.
Jun 30, 2020 added it
I did not finish this because it is about economics in a different time era. I feel the important points of this book will mentioned by the writers who followed this time era. Just the way I found out about this book through another book I read.
Nandini Goel
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Wealth of Nations - Book 1 to 3" by "Adam Smith" is one of the most popular treatise on economics,I have read and maybe that I ever will read. Adam Smith has been considered as the father of Modern Economics. Well, in the first 3 books which I have read now, there is a myriad knowledge on Economics which is quite relatable to the present day world. Although, this book has been written around 1770's but still much of it's principles are applicable even today. The reason I conclude for this is ma ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a tough read but I finished it.
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good introduction to thinking about The Wealth of Nations. By the way, I love the Baroque keyboarding that separates chapters, very 1980's.
Michael Corley
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you haven't read the original and it's not on your shelf you don't understand much about economics.
Nick McLachlan
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was written when and is still referenced now? Read it
Kevin Wilkins
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly easy to read and understand. It’s worth it given it’s huge impact on modern economic theories
Michael Leoppky
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Glad I read it but it was largely over my head. Unless this is required reading for a class I wouldn't recommend it.
Abhusani Shakya
A dedicated interpretation of a giant in modern exonomics. The explanations narrator privides aided in underatanding the makings of modern economy.
Emil Lechev
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Took me some time. But some interesting historical data on financial markets and policies.
Nothing Heretosee
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
told me to read this to understand economics, its a history book but a cool one.
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
As a layman in economics, I have to stand in awe of this book. This is mainly for two reasons:

First and foremost, the book is extremely accessible and simple to read. By this I do not mean that to understand what the author preaches one just has to read it all the way, like the average fantasy story; some questions, if not all, deserve and require the reader to think for himself so that he can form a correct picture of the dynamics of Smith's economics as a whole, and not just "listen" to his ar
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Note: this is a combined review for 2 sets of books

Wow, what can I say, let me first tell you am writing this review based on reading all his books 1-5, so Ive copied this review in to the other book set, but seriously, I wanna congratulate anybody who has read this book and has had the will power and patience to finish them off, because mines was certainly tested, luckily for me, I got the audiobook versions of all 1-5 books of adam smith, but even then, it must have taken 20hours+ to listen th
Aaron Hutmacher
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading books from many of our countries founders. Adam Smith is essential to America's History. I enjoyed the first part of the book the most as it discussed the origins of money. I also like the fact that Adam Smith gives several examples. There are many notable quotes within the book. "The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange."
"A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labor as lit
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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

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“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages” 146 likes
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