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Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History) Paperback – January 10, 2012
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Named a Favorite Business Book of 2010--James Pressley, " Bloomberg BusinessWeek
"--James Pressley "Bloomberg Business Week "
"[Adam Smith] tries, very successfully, to pull together the two Smiths, letting us see how the man of feeling became the little god of finance. . . making it plain that Smith was more moral-man than market-man."--Adam Gopnik, "The New Yorker
" --Adam Gopnik"The New Yorker" (10/18/2010)
"An unabashedly intellectual biography. . . . It is indeed enlightening to understand the broader sweep of [Adam Smith''s] vision."--Nancy F./i>--Nancy F. Koehn "New York Times "
"In a feast of both writing and erudition, Nicholas Phillipson has recreated the intellectual and mercantile world of Adam Smith, and shows how it shaped Smith''s two masterpieces, the "Theory of Moral Sentiments" and the "Wealth of Nations". He sets Smith''s economics firmly in the philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment - and especially of his great friend David Hume - and argues compellingly that for Smith material improvement was not an end in itself, but a necessary condition for human ennoblement, which was the grand aim of his life''s work. A wonderful, thought-provoking book."--Robert Skidelsky, biographer of John Maynard Keynes--Robert Skidelsky
"This is easily the best book on Smith I've read: a wonderfully accessible, thoroughly researched, full-bodied drama examining the philosopher and economist. Phillipson's biography presents Smith as a living personality, not just an imposing intellect, tracking his social, economic, and political moves from his birthplace Kirkcaldy, to Glasgow and Oxford, through his various lectures and professorships, travels around Europe, preparation of "The Wealth of Nations," and finally to his work for the government. In doing so, it makes a strong case for the importance and complexity - perhaps primacy - of the Scottish Enlightenment and the men who contributed to it. In clean and clear prose, Phillipson explains what Smith was writing and why he was writing it, whether moral philosophy, jurisprudence, rhetoric or political economy. This beguiling blend of Smith's intellection and experience should appeal to anyone interested in the making of the modern world."--David Hancock, author of "Ocean
"Nicholas Phillipson''s lifelong study of Adam Smith has been well worth waiting for. Phillipson treats Smith''s "The Wealth of Nations" as the sequel to his "Theory of Moral Sentiments". Political economy and the history of society were handmaids to the moral philosophy which Enlightenment thinkers intended as the replacement of religion. This story has never been better told than in this deeply sympathetic biography of an intellectually ambitious but personally modest man, and it is a superb portrait of the Scotland, Britain and Europe he lived in."-- J.G.A. Pocock, Johns Hopkins University--J.G.A. Pocock
Named a Best Business Book of 2010--Tyler Cowen, NPR''s "Marketplace"
--Tyler Cowen "NPR's Marketplace "
"A fascinating book. . . . Adam Smith finally has the biography that he deserves, and it could not be more timely."--Jeffrey Collins, "Wall Street Journal"--Jeffrey Collins "Wall Street Journal "
Named a Best Business Book of 2010 by Tyler Cowen, NPR''s "Marketplace"--Tyler Cowen "NPR's Marketplace "
"An unabashedly intellectual biography . . . [written] in graceful prose. . . . For all that subsequent generations, no less our own, have taken from Smith''s economic contributions, it is indeed enlightening to understand the broader sweep of his vision."--;i>New York Times"--Nancy F. Koehn "New York Times "
"This year, my favorite business book was Nicholas Phillipson''s biography of Adam Smith. It showed that Smith is still the greatest economist of all time, wise about human nature, and that he understands the power of capitalism."--Tyler Cowen, NPR''s "Marketplace"--Tyler Cowen "NPR's Marketplace "
Named a Favorite Business Book of 2010 by James Pressley, " Bloomberg BusinessWeek"--James Pressley "Bloomberg Business Week "
"[An] excellent intellectual biography. . . . When Phillipson discusses "The Wealth of Nations", it''s hard not to discern parallels between Smith''s time and our own."--Michael Dirda, "Washington Post"--Michael Dirda "Washington Post "
"[Nicholas Phillipson] tries, very successfully, to pull together the two Smiths, letting us see how the man of feeling became the little god of finance. . . making it plain that Smith was more moral-man than market-man."--Adam Gopnik, "The New Yorker"--Adam Gopnik"The New Yorker" (10/18/2010)
"An absorbing and elegant account of Smith''s mind and of the Scottish context, social and intellectual, that produced it."--Blair Worden, "The Spectator" (London)--Blair Worden "The Spectator "
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Top Customer Reviews
Adam Smith's thoughts still have direct relevance to today's bucketful of economic problems--and resulting strident political debates--over government's proper role in terms of expenditures, debt, taxation, and business regulations.
While this book concentrates on the scholarship of Adam Smith, the author also intelligently traces the era within which Smith lived and his private life that included such striking people as David Hume, James Boswell, and Voltaire.
In this current age of instant and empty celebrities, Smith still stands, after about 250 years, as a man worth knowing.
Yale has done justice to this wonderful work. The production is a delight to see and to hold. It provides the best answer to e-books because we buyers will surely enjoying pulling it from our shelves, looking at the illustrations, and reading it again.
Adam Smith instructed his executors to destroy all his lecture notes, but seven upublished philosophical essays & 193 letters survived to give us a glimpse of this elusive Scottish academic & philosopher, making the market's "invisible hand" come alive again, even if it's only at an intellectual level. This is a highly recommended reading on the 18th century's influential philosopher & academic that is Adam Smith.
The book assumes the reader already has a thorough understanding of "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" and "The Wealth of Nations". If you don't, you'll very quickly become lost and start skimming paragraphs or finish reading a page and not remember a single thing that was discussed.
I may return to this tome after reading TWoN and TToMS; we'll see.
In reality, Smith was one of the greatest figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, a disciple of David Hume, and a profound philosopher of human nature and social order. "Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life" restores him to history. It is excellently written and handsomely produced. I enjoyed it a lot. I took off one star for two main reasons: First, it assumes that the reader has considerable knowledge of 18th century British letters and politics; second, it doesn't do justice to the detailed arguments in The Wealth of Nations -- an omission which will disappoint those readers (probably most) who take up a Smith biography in order to learn more about the history of economics.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very thorough explanation of Adam Smith's thinking, it will affect many readers' impressions of the man behind the invisible hand.Published 3 months ago by murray mcdonald
Easy to read synopsis of Smith. Interesting to discover the friendship, beyond being professionally contemporaneous, which existed between Hume and Smith.Published on August 24, 2014 by rs
This a first rate entrance to the Scottish enlightenment, the 20th century is not understood without Adam Smith and what it representsPublished on December 13, 2013 by Valente Souza
Professor Phillipson, to the extent possible given Smith's purposefully limited record, brings Adam Smith the man to life. Read morePublished on September 30, 2013 by Samuel J. Sharp
Adam Smith is one of the most important figures in modern economic theory. In a very real sense, he provided the basis for the Industrial Revolution through his emphasis on the... Read morePublished on November 18, 2012 by Russ White
This is a concise and very well written biography of the formidable Adam Smith. This is very much an intellectual biography, partly because Smith's writings were the primary focus... Read morePublished on September 3, 2012 by R. Albin
No other book is as closely identified in the public mind with capitalism and free markets as Adam Smith's classic, Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Read morePublished on June 1, 2012 by Rolf Dobelli