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The Wealth of Nations: Books 1-5 [Paperback]

Adam Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Dec 2008
The Wealth of Nations is a clearly written account of economics at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The work was a landmark work in the history and economics as it was comprehensive and an accurate characterization of the economic mechanisms at work in modern economics. Smith believed in a Meritocracy. Smith emphasized the advancement that one could take based on their will to better themselves. This is simply one of the most important books ever written on the subject of economics. All five books are included here.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 692 pages
  • Publisher: Wilder Publications; Reprint edition (27 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604595914
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604595918
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Smith was born in Scotland, in 1723, and received his early education at the local burgh school. He subsequently attended Glasgow University (1737-1740), and Balliol College, Oxford (1740-1746). Two years after his return to Scotland, Smith moved to Edinburgh, where he delivered lectures on Rhetoric. In 1751 Smith was appointed Professor of Logic at Glasgow, but was translated to chair of Moral Philosophy in 1752. The Theory of Moral Sentiments was published in 1759, and The Wealth of Nations in 1776, the same year as the Declaration of Independence.

Product Description

Review

to aid their extension of privatization and market effectiveness into areas such as health and education. Smith, however, not only viewed merchants and manufacturers with deep suspicion, but also tempered his celebration of a self-regulating market with a darker vision of the dehumanizing potential of a profit-oriented society. He did not write an economics textbook, but rather a panoramic narrative about the struggle for individual liberty and general prosperity in history, a subject he shared with other writers of the Enlightenment. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Adam Smith (1723–1790) was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economics. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics. Smith studied moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow and Oxford University. After graduating, he delivered a successful series of public lectures at Edinburgh, leading him to collaborate with David Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time he wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life, he took a tutoring position that allowed him to travel throughout Europe, where he met other intellectual leaders of his day. Smith returned home and spent the next ten years writing The Wealth of Nations, publishing it in 1776. He died in 1790. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great edition 12 Jan 2004
Format:Hardcover
Nice binding, cover, typesetting. It's only missing one thing - the contents: unfortunately this edition only contains the first four books. Book five, which deals with taxation has been omitted in order to release a lower priced, single volume edition.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful crash course on Adam Smith's discourse 22 Sep 2008
By Gaurav Sharma VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I can only describe this particular edition of Wealth of Nations as a useful crash course on Adam Smith's discourse, mindful of the fact that there were five editions of this historically significant work. But then that's the beauty of this condensed compendium.

Most editions available in the market draw on Smith's Wealth of Nation Volume I (Of the causes of improvement), Volume II (Of the Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock) and Volume III (Of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations) at the most. However, this edition contains healthy inclusions from Book IV (Of Systems of political Economy) and Book V (Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth). For this alone, the editor Kathryn Sutherland deserves credit.

It is not a mouthful but a practical handy book on Wealth of Nations. Those who have never studied economics would enjoy reading it too if they are so inclined, especially students of history and philosophy. Since this is a complex work authored over two hundred years ago, the editor's footnotes and references enhance comprehension.

Yet the wonderful details of Smith's key thoughts have not been stifled in any way - working of the markets, division of labour, general prosperity, government and taxation are all there. In essence, Wealth of Nations remains a true classic and I found this edition of it to be an easy and enjoyable read. Overall, its a handy reference book to have on your bookshelf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An abridged version of the five volumes comprising "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations", first published in 1776 on the eve of the American War of Independence, there are nevertheless 454 pages in this edition, supported by a forty-five page introduction and almost 150 pages of notes.

The introduction, by Kathryn Sutherland, explains the structure of Smith's argument across those five volumes and why she included those elements that she did. It situates Smith's work in the intellectual context of the time. Sutherland, interestingly, is not an economist but a specialist in bibliography and textual criticism, and this may explain her greater interest in the background to Smith's ideas than in identifying the originality of his thought. As her excellent notes make clear, Smith drew on the work of many earlier writers. One of Smith's most famous examples, illustrating the importance of the division of labour into specialised but simpler tasks, pin making, is traced to an essay published by Denis Diderot in Paris in 1755. Much of his thinking on the nature of money was based on theories of John Locke writing almost a century earlier. It was interesting to discover so many of Smith's examples from the economy in the remoter parts of Scotland, often used as an example of a less developed economy than in England, were based on observations by Dr Samuel Johnson, notwithstanding that Adam Smith himself was a Scotsman, and Johnson an (adopted) Londoner who famously quipped that the finest sight in Scotland was the road to England! David Hume, Thomas Hobbes, du Halde, Mandeville are also extensively referenced, and Smith's many references to the classics and to trades and professions long since forgotten are fully explained.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal work from the father of economics 25 May 2007
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nobody seriously involved in economics can do without this exhaustive work, originally published in five volumes as An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. This classic is a pragmatic and accessible milestone in the history of economics. Its author, Adam Smith, is woven into every economics textbook. However, Smith's theories, which today often are recounted mostly in fragments, frequently incorrectly, reveal their entire social and economic innovative power only in context. Smith burst onto the scene at a time when absolutist national states monopolized the world's precious metal reserves and tried to increase their own wealth through stringent export policies. These states were motivated by an entirely new concept about national wealth: that it stemmed from the work of the country's people, not from gold. Based on that idea, economic markets should balance themselves as if guided by an "invisible hand," impelled by each individual's self-interest. The state has to provide only an orderly framework and specific public goods and services. Even though Smith's image of idealized economic and social harmony may have developed a few cracks over the course of time, his ideas have inspired many well-known economists during the past 250 years, including David Ricardo, Vilfredo Pareto, Friedrich August von Hayek and Milton Friedman. We highly recommend this seminal work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Short change for the Wealth of Nations? 2 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
The product is fine as far as it goes, but the trouble is it doesn't go far enough.

What the catalogue entry fails to mention is that this edition of The Wealth of Nations, unlike its two-volume paperback competitor, includes only Books I-IV. It is only once you have got hold of the book, and have read almost to the end of the Introduction, that you find that Book V has been omitted "to keep the cost down". Book V essentially contains the information for which my copy was purchased. Had I known this in advance, I would probably have purchased the two-volume paperback edition, thus adding to Mr Amazon's income stream.

Alternatively, you can do as I did and download Book V (or indeed the whole thing) free of charge to read on your ebook or your PC.

I have no complaints about Amazon's service, which worked very well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't ignore Adam Smith
Adam Smith is not just for right-wing, tea party conservatives in Europe or North America.
I recommend you read this 18th Century economist. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave Wetzel
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for Country Leaders
Hi,

This should be read by all country leaders, to get them on the right footing and it might need to be updated to cover the credit crunch and what regulators should be... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Eric Sutherland
5.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to read
The language is very "flowery" by modern English standards, but it makes a lot of sense. Thing is, it's not about conservatism as we know it today, with Tesco vying with... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Malcolm Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
A great and challenging read with some great concepts. A little meaty, get ready to have a dictionary by your side whilst reading. Worth it though. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Sarah
4.0 out of 5 stars good
good to read. however the words are too small, and there are no pictures and graphs; it is still a good deal
Published 9 months ago by zhaoren wang
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I wanted to knw about economics
I'm an economics newbie and I found Smith's account of trade and economy very insightful and thought-provoking. Here, here, here.
Published 9 months ago by Amira Mullaney
5.0 out of 5 stars world-famous and important to read
Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations should definitely find its way to the book shelves of everyone who is interested in economics and politics. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Matthias
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic elements
Very old format, but still interesting. I am suprised that someone hasn't taken the trouble to give it a modern format.
Published 13 months ago by peter
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
I believe this to be one of the best books about economics to be ever written.

It explains the importance of economies of scale, specialization and why there is constant... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Matas Milukas
4.0 out of 5 stars Inquiry
It's maybe a few years old, but much of Smith's points can be applied to today's sorry situation. The prose is at times rather stilted by modern standards, some concepts are now... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Clarsach
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