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Publisher's Summary

A forgotten book by one of history's greatest thinkers reveals the surprising connections between happiness, virtue, fame, and fortune. Adam Smith may have become the patron saint of capitalism after he penned his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations. But few people know that when it came to the behavior of individuals - the way we perceive ourselves, the way we treat others, and the decisions we make in pursuit of happiness - the Scottish philosopher had just as much to say. He developed his ideas on human nature in an epic, sprawling work titled The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Most economists have never read it, and for most of his life, Russ Roberts was no exception. But when he finally picked up the book by the founder of his field, he realized he’d stumbled upon what might be the greatest self-help book that almost no one has read. In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Roberts examines Smith’s forgotten masterpiece, and finds a treasure trove of timeless, practical wisdom. Smith’s insights into human nature are just as relevant today as they were 300 years ago. What does it take to be truly happy? Should we pursue fame and fortune or the respect of our friends and family? How can we make the world a better place? Smith’s unexpected answers, framed within the rich context of current events, literature, history, and pop culture, are at once profound, counterintuitive, and highly entertaining. By reinvigorating Smith’s neglected classic, Roberts provides us with an invaluable look at human behavior through the lens of one of history’s greatest minds.
©2014 Russ Roberts (P)2014 Gildan Media LLC
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Critic Reviews

"A great book. Makes you feel better about life, humanity, and yourself. Like having a conversation and a scotch with Adam Smith, or even better, Russ Roberts." (Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan)
"Russ Roberts has taken a brilliant but difficult classic - Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments - and written an engaging and inspiring meditation on virtue, friendship, and happiness. The result is a wonderful guide to living a good life." (Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Amazing Customer on 03-31-15

Hard to distinguish Roberts from Smith in reading

The book is very good, but the otherwise solid performance has a near fatal flaw in that it's practically impossible to tell where Russ Roberts' text stops and the Adams passages begin (and vice versa.)

That said, the relevance of Smith's writings to the modern condition is incredible and this book provides a great condensation of Theory of Moral Sentiments.

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24 of 26 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 10-13-14


This book gives great insight into Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Smith's views on achieving happiness. Many associate Smith with economics and greed so this book shows a completely different side of the man.

Because I'm so used to hearing Russ Roberts' EconTalk podcasts I think this book's performance would have been improved had Roberts narrated it himself (not that Hagen did a bad job).

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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