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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Wealth of Nations (Bantam Classics)
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Showing 1-10 of 21 reviews (3 star)show all reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a great book with much valuable insight and advise that ought to be heeded 200+ years after being laid on paper. My only concern is in this rendition of the book someone has becomes sloppy. There are numerous spelling and grammatical errors which appear to have been caused by a computer misreading characters on a scanned document. For all of Amazon's clout, I am amazed they would butcher such a classic. Anyone with an 8th grade education could proof read and correct 95% of these errors. Great book, it's just a shame it came out like this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2009
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Kindle Modern Library ebook is messed up, unusual for Modern Library Kindles. It reproduces the Carman edition of 1904, a very thoroughly footnoted (or endnoted) version. Each footnote can be reached by clicking on the line where the note occurs -- but when you get to the notes, the first ten notes of each chapter are unnumbered, and you have to count, painfully, the number of square-bracketed notes, which are not even paragraphed separately. Since some of the notes are pages long, this counting can take a while. This is by far the most expensive Kindle edition of Adam Smith, and shouldn't have screwed up its notes -- the only reason for paying five extra dollars -- in this way.
Let me add that the Amazon reviewing mechanism is, as usual, inadequate for reviewing Kindle editions; my review ends up one of over fifty reviews discussing the book in general, not the Kindle edition specifically.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 29, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
"The Wealth of Nations" is a big book of economics, history, philosophy, and social criticism. It is much more than Adam Smith neckties at GOP conventions. It is much more than a reverential nod or two in modern econ textbooks. Econ students need to read it to see where their discipline came from and what it could be again.

Dickey's abridgment reproduces enough of the text (about 25 percent) to convey the depth of Smith's erudition and the diversity of his interests. Unfortunately, the editorial apparatus is weak. The Comments are few in number and incredibly brief, and the short Preface fails to put the book into historical and intellectual context. Dickey does offer four appendices but these deal with specialized topics rather than the big picture.

Bottom line: this edition is inexpensive but is probably not the best one for students.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is the best release of "Wealth of Nations" for several reasons. First, it is truly "complete and unabridged." So, you get the real deal, all thousand pages of it. Second, it includes Edwin Cannan's summaries in the margin that assist in reading this thick tome. Cannan also provides an enlarged index that serves as a quick reference. And third, the Introduction by Robert Reich and the Commentary at the end by R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner are very helpful in better understanding this work. You may get more out of those two sections than Smith's thousand pages of writing.

This book was written before the field of economics theory existed. As a result, Smith's writings do not include such common words as: economics, recession, expansion, contraction, inflation, GDP, common stocks, and securities. Thus, his writings has no resemblance to modern economics commentary. Given that, it is challenging interpreting what he is saying in modern context.

Smith could not be an economist since the latter profession did not exist he had to be something else: a moral philosopher. In the 18th century if you studied hard sciences you were a natural philosopher. And, if you studied anything else you were a moral philosopher. Such a broad base binomial taxonomy of all intellectual scientific fields had great advantages. This is because moral philosophy included all the fields that today are pretty separate such as: logic, rhetoric, psychology, sociology. On a more granular level moral philosophy as advanced by Smith included microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, behavioral finance, international economics, etc... Nowadays, all those fields are fairly demarcated.

In view of the above, Smith's intellectual legacy is in part timeless. This is because he was concerned about the speculations that went inside individuals' minds just as he was concerned about the productivity of labor, small businesses, and the economy at large. His cogitations covered the entire fields of behavioral finance, macro and macroeconomics.

Smith's thinking was far more complex and nuanced than the ones of his libertarian followers such as Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Alan Greenspan. They all missed more than half of Smith's message. That included Smith support for labor unions (at a time when labor abuse was rampant), government regulations including very tight regulation of banking. Smith also was opposed to the might of large corporation as he was suspicious of their collaborating to depress wages and their colluding on prices before laws banned such practices. Thus, Smith was far more the precursor of Keynes than Milton Friedman. Yet, this is not what the economic profession conveys to the outside world.

Smith's posterity and prescience are second to none. Unfortunately, his writing in a contemporary setting is unreadable. For my part, I got a lot more about Smith's thoughts from reading digested modern interpretations from others than from reading Smith's own writing. In this regard, I recommend three books. James Buchan The Authentic Adam Smith: His Life and Ideas (Enterprise) is excellent and solely focused on Adam Smith and his writings. Arthur Herman How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It covers the entire Scottish Enlightenment. And, John Cassidy How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities criticizes the entire field of economics. Yet, he describes Adam Smith as a far more balanced and complex thinker than his modern followers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
a book of good physical quality, but there are quite a number of misprints (e.g. mis1eading, htat, etc; "i" instead of "l" or vice versa, "1" (numerical one) instead of "i" and "l"; and the numbers in the appedix are not all correct, they don't add up to the sum), but anyways, you can guess what the correct words are.

the price is the lowest, at least on Amazon, reflecting the inconveniences.

If I knew about the misprints, I'd probably pick another book. On the other hand, I don't regret the purchase, for the book is still readable.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although this book is hailed as one of the greatest works in Economics ever and set the foundations for contemporary Economic thought, the Wealth of Nations is not a good read. It is extremely difficult to digest and requires extreme concentration. Few would read the book unless required in an Economics course or the like. Smith was undoubtedly a genius - way ahead of his time. However, the reader must have as great an intellect to fully comprehend what Smith is writing. Perhaps "user-friendly" books were not the fashion of the times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great study if you really want to know about how money works and why governments go out of their way to steal it from you.
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on June 21, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It's free. It's a classic. It's a hard text to read on a kindle, but see initial statement. Even if you don't really want to read it, you should probably download it, so that people think you are really smart when they look through your Kindle library. On a serious note, for those interested in reading Economic theory, I highly reccomend reading any of the works from Ludwig Von Mises.
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on July 7, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
One of those books you need to have genuinely visited if you want to appreciate the field of economics. Not today's economic theory by any stretch, but an important milestone work in getting where we are.
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on September 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Just wondering why this is in the "humor" section, along with "Pride and Prejudice" and other not-at-all hilarious books. Amazon should probably fire the intern they have categorizing the books.
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