Recognized almost instantly on its publication in 1776 as the fundamental work of economics, The Wealth of Nations was also recognized as really long. The original edition totaled over 900 pages in two volumes, including the blockbuster 67-page "digression concerning the variations in the value of silver during the course of the last four centuries", which, O'Rourke says, "to those uninterested in the historiography of currency supply, is like reading Modern Maturity in Urdu".
Although daunting, Smith's tome is still essential to understanding such currently hot topics as outsourcing, trade imbalances, and Angelina Jolie. In this hilarious, approachable, and insightful examination of Smith and his groundbreaking work, P.J. puts his trademark wit to good use and shows us why Smith is still relevant, why what seems obvious now was once revolutionary, and why the pursuit of self-interest is so important.
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©2006 P.J. O'Rourke; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"In a highly accessible, often hilarious tone, O'Rourke parses Smith's notions of political and economic freedom." (Booklist)
I've listened to other O'Rourke, some he read, and some (like this) read by others. His humor and points come through with this reader, but his work deserves his voice
“On the Wealth of Nations”
As a result of the hype about deregulating everything in the U.S., especially since Reagan, I was interested to learn the origins of this aspect of economics. To read “The Wealth of Nations” is more than I could do. When this review came out, I was tempted to read it, but since becoming diabetic, reading is difficult for me. Getting the book on Audible was great. The presentation is entertaining and packed with interesting, thought provoking interpretations of Adam Smith’s concepts. I had trouble putting it down. After completing the book, I decided after a couple of weeks, a second listen would be a real good idea.
Perhaps this book should be required listening for anyone planning to vote in the U.S. this year. I found it very educational. Adam Smith’s concepts have been grossly simplified and exaggerated to suite the contemporary bias that politician need to get our votes. Mr. Smith’s thinking was far more complex and confused than I would have expected based on modern day accounts.
As an accounting professor, and being familiar with the author's work, I had high hopes for this book. However, the producers apparently decided that they needed a "serious business voice" for a humorous book, and the narrator killed the content. I was hoping to use this for my classes, but would never consider boring them to death with it -- somehow they seem to find accounting boring enough!
O'Rourke's impression of this work is unimaginative, unhelpful, and boorish. He is apparently impressed with the sound of his voice, but other than him, I worry about who may appreciate this effort.
PJ has been a fine writer in his time, but this book does not reflect it. It isn't funny, it isn't insightful and it isn't really a good reflection of Adam Smith's work.
I don't recommend it.
I'm not one. But I wanted to understand The Wealth of Nations. This whole Great Books project seems like a wonderful idea to help understand the books that mold our thinking.
O'Rourke could not write one sentence without his stupid humor. He is not funny. To me, that is. If he is HIlarious to you, this will be a great book. Do not read if you want to learn the essence of The Wealth of Nations.
I have not read "the Wealth Of Nations". However , if it is half as good as P.J.'s interption of it , it is a wonderful book,indeed. Were I Dictator for a Day , I would Command that every person in America listen to it.
I find myself going back to it , time and time again.
Frankly, P.J.'s book opened a whole world to me , of logical thought , and I have pursued that world , of understanding the logical processes , and the emotional feelings , of many great thinkers, and see as well , the context of the present , and the hope and fear of the future.
Adam Smith should never be forgotten, and , if P.J.'s book is as faithful to the origional as I believe it to be , statues of Adam Smith should dot every town square in America.
Perhaps then , we will remain the Land of the Free.
Mr. O'Rourke does not seem to have read Adam Smith. If he had he would have encountered a very fascinating and in some unlikely book. As it is, one is treated to a farrago of ideological assertions with little textual basis.
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