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 300 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. By reinvigorating Smith’s neglected classic, Roberts provides us with an invaluable look at human behavior through the lens of one of history’s greatest minds.
©2014 Russ Roberts (P)2014 Gildan Media LLC
"A great book. Makes you feel better about life, humanity, and yourself. Like having a conversation and a scotch with Adam Smith, or even better, Russ Roberts." (Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan)
"Russ Roberts has taken a brilliant but difficult classic - Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments - and written an engaging and inspiring meditation on virtue, friendship, and happiness. The result is a wonderful guide to living a good life." (Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind)
Thank you, Menocu®
The book is very good, but the otherwise solid performance has a near fatal flaw in that it's practically impossible to tell where Russ Roberts' text stops and the Adams passages begin (and vice versa.)
That said, the relevance of Smith's writings to the modern condition is incredible and this book provides a great condensation of Theory of Moral Sentiments.
This book gives great insight into Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Smith's views on achieving happiness. Many associate Smith with economics and greed so this book shows a completely different side of the man.
Because I'm so used to hearing Russ Roberts' EconTalk podcasts I think this book's performance would have been improved had Roberts narrated it himself (not that Hagen did a bad job).
I would have a different narrator. Don Hagen is good but he also did the "You Are Not So Smart" books and his voice is too dooms-dayish and monotonous. It's like he's trying to tell you that the circle you are looking at is a square, but you're an idiot for thinking it's a circle.
I really cannot recall the stories at all.This is one of the only books on Audible that I listened to mostly and then deleted close to the finish bc I had no desire to continue. And I didn't even recall what I had heard in the first place.
Someone more enthusiastic. Maybe a female?
I like Russ Roberts and think he should have done this performance since he does a podcast and does audio recordings all the time.
Computer & Mac Guy
If Adam Smith's book is as difficult to read as others suggest, this is easily the next best thing.
This was a fantastic book to listen too. It focuses on Adam Smith's thoughts on moral philosophy rather then just straight economics. I particularly enjoyed the last chapter looking at the different roles different economic systems play in different roles - ie in family compared to the broader market - and how they compliment each other to make everyone better off in long run. Well worth a listen to.
Russ Roberts did an excellent job with this primer on the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and I feel prepared to tackle this work on my own now. It is insightful yet poignant, and is a wonderful example of how economics can be rigorous without being needlessly dry. On a personal note, this book has made a nudge on my worldview and personal life. In my book, it's done it's job.
Thought-provoking. Very good listen from the host of Econtalk. Loved the distinction between why Smith wrote this book and his other more popular work. Here's to living my life with more focus on justice, prudence, and beneficence.
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