Adam Smith

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  • Hardcover
  • 345 pages
  • Adam Smith
  • Nicholas Phillipson
  • English
  • 22 August 2017
  • 9780713993967

10 thoughts on “Adam Smith

  1. says:

    After just re reading

  2. says:

    A really good read, this is well written, deeply informed, and often surprising intellectual biography of the world s first great free marketer Phillipson argues Smith can best be understood as part of a team with his close friend David Hume that sought to create not a science of economics, but a science of man that sought to understand how man thought, spoke, understood his surroundings and sought to live his life Seen through this prism of a quintessential Enlightenment effort, Smith s THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS rises in importance and WEALTH OF NATIONS is revealed to be of a philosophical treatise than an economics textbook I strongly recommend this book it s brilliant, rich, and well worth it for anyone who wants to know Smith and his thinking better.

  3. says:

    Clearly this was written with a specialist in mind, consciously or unconsciously There are a lot of things that Phillipson seems to assume you know which I don t think a regular educated non philosophy major reader would know Some examples He mentions than once that Smith was influenced philosophically by Euclidean geometry Now, even though he states it influenced his method rather than his content, it still is not self evident what that means How could the method of geometry translate to philosophy Then, I kept coming across the word police, which was clearly not being used as we use it I assumed that it must be an archaic meaning so I checked the dictionary and did an internet search to no avail Only after seeing this word used multiple times, does the reader get to this passage on page 173 4 Both versions of the lectures culminated in a discussion of police, that self consciously used neologism he had probably first employed in Edinburgh to consider the problems involved in maintaining what he called the cleanliness and internal security of the state and, above all, cheapness or plenty, or, which is the same thing, the most proper way of procuring wealth and abundance Wouldn t it have been nice if he had put this paragraph with the first time he mentions the word He also assumes a cultural historical knowledge at times, such as when he cites an exchange between Samuel Johnson and Smith Smith was proud of the new city centre, although it was rash to commend it to Samuel Johnson in 1773 Pray, sir, have you seen Brentford the surly sage replied I don t know about you, but I didn t get the joke.This is not a bad book it was just a mismatch for me I found it dry and difficult to follow but I don t think someone with a stronger philosophy background would have Be warned that it is very barely a standard biography since there is little information about Smith s life It is much a biography of his intellectual life Now, I usually like intellectual biographies but this one weighed too much on the side of ideas and not enough on the side of a life story Given the lack of information, it might have been unavoidable.

  4. says:

    Although I must admit that I lack just too much knowledge about Adam s Smith life, and his other mayor work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, I did get the impression of understanding a little bit about Adam Smith s life and ideas I cannot deny that this book had a lot of research, but, at times, it seems that it may had not been enough However, I cannot deny what was said several times during the book, Adam Smith was a very private person The fact that he burned most of his unfinished writings just seems to confirm this fact No author is to be blamed, and their efforts should be considered A very notorious thing that may come to the reader s mind is the following the book may, at times, center itself too much on other people, and even places or circumstances This is not a bad thing This book may give you a good idea of what the world was like for Adam Smith, and those around him, during the time of his life After reading this book, I ll venture to say, you ll think you know Adam Smith a little bit better, and it may even surprise you My mayor critique about this book is the, at times poor, chronology of events While the chapters are made to fit the chronology of his life, the author will mention things that happened after the years in which the chapter is centered This may not disrupt you too much, but could certainly have been improved That said, it is not a big problem This book involved a lot of research, and, I am sure, it required a lot of work This is a book I would recommend to others, however, I would also recommend you to read, at the very least, either the Theory of Moral Sentiments or, as I did, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations This latter is a book I wholeheartedly recommend.

  5. says:

    Though his name looms large as the founder of modern economic theory, Adam Smith himself is in many ways a mysterious and unknowable figure Faced with the challenge of writing a biography of a man who left only a little correspondence and only two books, Nicholas Phillipson provides a broader portrait of Adam Smith s intellectual world In doing so, he sites Smith firmly within the context of the Scottish Enlightenment, showing how he took the explorations of his teachers and colleagues most notably his close friend David Hume and used them to produce two of the seminal books of Western thought By adopting this approach, Phillipson challenges the image of Smith as an absent minded academic and turns him instead into a dynamic teacher who was in contact with many of the leading intellectual and political lights of his day With his persuasive reinterpretation and and readable style, Phillipson has produced what is likely to be the best account of Smith s life and times for decades to come, and an essential read for anyone interested in learning about the origins and development of the ideas we still discuss today.

  6. says:

    I have to say that not only is this one of the better biographies that I have read and one of the few books that I couldn t put down It is well written and obviously well researched Though the biography itself is only 284 pages long if you ignore the notes and sources, bibliography and index I was left with the impression that I knew everything there was to know about him Not only is the subject s life covered but that of the times he lived in as well As one would expect since Adam Smith had only two books published in his lifetime the circumstances involved in having them both published and at least one revised to a fifth and final edition are dealt with to some degree I haven t read any other biographies of Adam Smith and I don t know if any others exist but I do believe that this may be the best available for now It is my opinion that if this bio is the only one available you will not be disappointed I cannot recommend it too highly It is well worth spending the time to read.

  7. says:

    A masterful and extensively researched book which acts as a great introduction to literature of the enlightenment Some have accused the book of being overtly esoteric and thus, inaccesible to those who are not schooled in the Age of Enlightenment or general 18th century philosophy For my part, I would propound that it is, rather than esoteric, intelligently written and, if anything, likely to inspire any reader to further investigate the morally complex, philosophically challenging and intellectually profound matters that are discussed within Though officially a political economist by trade, the dialogue and debate that Smith puts forward, along with that of his contemporary and friend David Hume, clearly identifies him as a great thinker, moral philosopher and worthy spokesperson for the age of enlightenment A superb read about the life and work of a genuinely admirable man.

  8. says:

    This was a fine, contextualizing biography I agree with the author that Adam Smith s life and works cannot be understood except in the milieu of the Scottish Enlightenment and Epictetian stoical philosophy Adam Smith was not promoting the intrinsic value of selfish competition, but was instead writing a prescription for enlightened rulers to mold the forces of capitalism to the greatest benefit of the largest proportion of mankind This was a part of Smith s larger project to describe a philosophy of human interactions and manners, and to divorce Smith s works from that project for one s own sectarian ends is to willfully understand it and to cheapen the life s work of this most influential of philosophers.

  9. says:

    ADAM SMITH is not exactly a biographer s dream An intensely private man, he seemed to go out of his way to leave no trail for future chroniclers His correspondence is dry and workmanlike, with few personal details or revealing moments He made sure his private notes and unpublished works in progress were burned before his death Having lived unmarried with his mother for most of his life, he left behind very few intimates who could relate his story for posterity.Read

  10. says:

    There is not much surviving data on Smith s personal life, particularly his early life, so this author decided to focus on what is known about his environment in Scotland and those that did or may have taught him Smith was a philosopher and educated man who also wrote a major work that is used in economics However, there are about 200 pages that precede the Wealth of Nations section and while someone who is studying Smith would enjoy it, as a casual reader it failed to catch my attention I think the book is well written, just not to my interests.

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