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Adam Smith (Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers) Paperback – August 1, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1441190130 ISBN-10: 1441190139 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441190139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441190130
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Voltaire said of Adam Smith 'This Smith is an excellent man! We have nothing to compare with him.' To paraphrase Voltaire, James R. Otteson's Adam Smith is excellent and we have nothing to compare. This book is outstanding. Lacy H. Hunt, PhD, Chief Economist, Hoisington Investment Management, Austin, Texas, USA

About the Author

James R. Otteson is Professor of Philosophy and Economics at Yeshiva University in New York. He is author of Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life (Cambridge, 2002) and Actual Ethics (Cambridge, 2006), as well as numerous articles in the history of philosophy, ethics, and political philosophy.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Max Hocutt on May 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Between the covers of this compendious little book is a lucid and learned account of the writings of the great Adam Smith. That account shows Smith to have been not merely a great economist but a systematic and profound moral philosopher. The inventor of the idea of spontaneous order (later to be named and championed by Friedrich Hayek), Smith used this idea to explain how language, law, morality, and markets developed without deliberate plan or governmental guidance. These institutions were instead the natural products of countless interactions between individuals seeking better ways to serve their needs and get along with each other. By showing this for the first time, Smith provided an original and comprehensive account of social harmony. Of course, doing it took him a life time and several carefully wrought and eloquently written treatises. Otteson, a well known authority on Smith, has here summarized his work in one clear and compact volume. I recommend this volume highly, both to those who already know much about Smith and to those who know little.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Studio Hayek on December 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Otteson now has two books in my top 5 favorite books in the classical liberal and libertarian genre. I have his Adam Smith at number five on my list and his Actual Ethics at number 1.

His Adam Smith is amazing. I've underlined a ridiculous amount of this book and his Actual Ethics, and I have it on my to do list to go back through both of these books and sort of memorize and summarize what I've learned. There's a lot in this book, and there's a fair number of leads (things that I want to look into further).

Through Otteson I've been introduced to the full extent of Adam Smith's ideas (well beyond The Wealth of Nations) and have discovered how valuable Adam Smith's ideas are to my personal life.

If you're balking at the $100 price try Actual Ethics first. If you like that book, then I'm pretty sure his Adam Smith book will be worth the price.

My University of California economics classes pale in comparison to what I've learned from reading Adam Smith and Actual Ethics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 729lhh on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Voltaire said of Adam Smith "This Smith is an excellent man! We have nothing to compare with him..." To paraphrase Voltaire, James R. Otteson's Adam Smith is excellent and we have nothing to compare.

This book is outstanding in many ways. Dr. Otteson gives equal importance to Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) and The Wealth of Nations (WN), which were originally published in 1759 and 1776, respectively. The discussion of TMS brings out the ways in which many of Smith's unique insights give us a window on how humans conduct their daily lives. This discussion is extremely valuable because it shows Smith's keen insights into human behavior. Smith was able to recognize how we humans conduct daily life based on observation, discussion and reading and without the benefit of modern research techniques. This new book has helped me to better understand Smith's "impartial spectator" as well as how Smith's special meaning of sympathy shapes individual decision making.

The analysis of TMS and WN is first rate. In addition, many anecdotes about Smith are woven into the analysis that makes the reading enjoyable as well as informative. For example, I learned of Voltaire's quote from the book. The anecdotes alone cover the price of the book.

The entire book is well worth reading but three chapters are especially meritorious. One of these chapters resolves the so-called Adam Smith problem, or differences some perceive between the TMS and WN. The other two discuss what Smith Got Right and Wrong. The chapter on What Smith Got Right concludes with a section on markets and prosperity that is a must read for all those interested in our economic future.

Lacy H. Hunt, Ph.D.
Chief Economist
Hoisington Investment Management Co.
Austin, Texas
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John C. Stalnaker on July 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I heard the author in an excellent, lengthy discussion in an EcoLog podcast, interview by Russ Roberts. The book sounds exceptionally interesting, but not interesting enough to pay the book's preposterous price.
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