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How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life [Book Review]

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How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness by Russ Roberts

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life – Description

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: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness, Roberts examines Adam 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? Adam 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 Adam Smith’s neglected classic, Roberts provides us with an invaluable look at human behavior through the lens of one of history’s greatest minds.

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life – Review

“An earnest, accessible introduction to Adam Smith’s ideas on the nature of virtue and happiness.” – The Wall Street Journal

“Can economists teach us how to live a good life? When the economists in question are Adam Smith and Russ Roberts, the answer is a definitive yes. Roberts shines a fresh light on Smith’s ideas about morality and human nature and finds that these 18th century ideas hold up remarkably well in the 21st century.  This is a fun, fascinating, and original book that will challenge you to become a better version of yourself.” – DANIEL H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human

“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 – Adam 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

“Adam Smith was not just an economist; he also had penetrating insights into human nature that informed his rich, subtle, and revolutionary approach to moral philosophy. Russ Roberts combines a deep understanding of what Smith was on about with a fluent writing style to bring out the surprisingly modern implications of Smith’s thinking.” – MATT RIDLEY, author of The Rational Optimist

“Russ Roberts has done us all a great service in capturing the essence of Smith’s wisdom about the emotional and psychological foundations of both the good life and a successful economy. How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life is a pleasure to read and, what’s more, Adam Smith almost certainly can change your life.” – DIANE COYLE, author of The Soulful Science

About the Author

Russ Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He hosts the award-winning weekly podcast EconTalk and is the author of three economics novels, including The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity. He is also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap videos, which have been viewed over seven million times on YouTube. His twitter handle is @econtalker.

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness by Russ Roberts

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