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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 April 2016
What an excellent example of eloquent writing this book is, besides its suppositions and content this book is just a complete and utter pleasure to read for anyone who truly appreciates a good wordsmith and Smith really is one.

From the opening chapters which describe his theory that via the medium of imagination individuals do comprehend others being, enjoy mutual sympathies etc. through all the chapters introducing ideas or thought experiments much appreciated by later liberals and philosophers such as the impartial observer, ideas about character, deep praise of stoicism, detachment and fortune to its finish I enjoyed all of this and would highly recommend it.

I have not read the wealth of nations to know how it compliments the more famous work but regret that this is not more well known, my favourite chapters include those upon beauty and utility, while he does not mention utilitarian philosophers directly he does heap praise upon the philosophy and considers things beautiful which have the quality of utility. There are some great reflections in this part of the book about wealth and fortune and why those without envy those with means but also the ill fated destiny of many who suddenly, or even through hard graft and time, discover to themselves some means, with increased means the demands for further increased means being a big factor. Some of the musings about the accumulation of possessions, using examples of "tweezer boxes" or novelty trinkets of the time which sound something like swiss army knives,are pretty perennial (along with many others besides) and like later day criticisms of consumerism, hoarding types and Erich Fromm's "To Have or To Be?" idea, although only a footnote to other ideas and therefore a lot shorter.

Overall this book impressed upon me someone with a great love of humanity, of a certain sort of literary humanism, without magnifying what it is to be human and experience the human condition to the point were it eclipses all else but a happy, humble, appreciative and reflective mode of being. Smith thought carefully, reflected a lot and enjoyed writing about it in a manner which allows the reader to enter into his experience readily and relate to it easily. Of this I am certain that reading this really enriched my life, understanding and thinking. Recommended.
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on 15 November 2017
It was a slog for me to get through it, but the occasional glimpses of relevance to modern day economics and social responsibility make it worth it.
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on 18 July 2017
Essential reading
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on 17 August 2013
Like few others both before or after him, Adam Smith stands out as a writer of both practical common sense and more philosophical and thought provoking argument and judgement.

Some ideas and views are never good for any time; few stand the test of time. Adam Smith's both stand as good - and pass the test - possibly for all time.
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VINE VOICEon 21 August 2010
This is the book which made Smith's name, and in which he first mentioned the much-misunderstood "Invisible Hand". It's essential reading as an antidote to the "101-ist" perception of Smith as a supporter of unfettered capitalism. It starts from the observation that we all feel sympathy for the suffering of others, and joy in their joy, and explores how society is best ordered to maximise sharing benefits with all.

This was also Smith's last book - he worked on the revised edition until just before his death.

A bonus in this edition, and one worth paying the price of the book for, is Amyrata Sen's introduction, which stands as a better defence of Smith than any amount of backhanded compliments showered on him by the apologists of Wall Street.
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on 31 January 2013
I've no doubt that 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' is a seminal text, but for the love of the almighty, get a different edition to this one. Herein lies numerous spelling and grammatical errors, as it seems to have been based upon a third-rate scanning of another edition of the text.
You have been warned.
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on 1 February 2014
This books is a masterpiece, not only of philosophical ethics, but also of social psychology. It recasts ethics by examining the psychology of why people think some actions good and other actions bad. It's examination of these psychological factors is both incisive and pretty exhaustive.

At times, it contains pre-echoes of the ideas of modern evolutionary psychologists, as in the following passage: "Thus self-preservation, and the propagation of the species, are the great ends which Nature seems to have proposed in the formation of all animals. Mankind are endowed with a desire of those ends, and an aversion to the contrary; with a love of life, and a dread of dissolution; with a desire of the continuance and perpetuity of the species, and with an aversion to the thoughts of its intire extinction. But though we are in this manner endowed with a very strong desire of those ends, it has not been intrusted to the slow and uncertain determinations of our reason, to find out the proper means of bringing them about. Nature has directed us to the greater part of these by original and immediate instincts." These instincts are brought to bear in explaining, among other things, why parents are more likely to be excessive than deficient in love for their children, and why we are horrified by the deficiency, but tolerant of the excess. That's classic Evo Psych, a hundred years before Darwin.

Apart from a very wide ranging survey of ethical topics, there is also an essay on aesthetics, which again is very much in tune with modern psychology, a discussion of economic behaviour (not surprising, given that Adam Smith pretty much invented modern economics), a discussion of cultural differences in ethics, an examination of some topics in politics, and an interesting reassessment of then-existing theories of ethics in the light of Adam Smith's psychological theory.

Not only does the book give an excellent overview of ethical topics and a very well thought out and interesting theory, it's also an enjoyable read, and full of interesting thoughts on psychology. I'm inclined to think that a social psychologists could make a whole career by going through this book chapter by chapter and basing research projects around the ideas contained therein. It could also be used as a moral guide. It deserves to be very widely read.
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on 17 October 2012
How regrettable that I have only just absorbed this wonderful work. It should be compulsory reading for all students and intellectuals no matter what age whether studying economics or not.
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on 3 April 2014
I can see what they are trying to do here, but this really is an atrocious scan of the book. Avoid.
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on 30 July 2015
The TMS is one of the masterpieces of modern Political Sciences ( and of Moral Philosophy). It is indispensable reading for anybody who would like to understand Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" and the proper roots of modern capitalism. The Galsgow Edition is mandatory. The Introduction by D.D. Raphael and AL. Macfie is splendid and an example of profound and solid scholarship.
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