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Main page » Non-Fiction » Economics and Management » The Wealth of Nations (Books That Changed the World) (AudioBook)

The Wealth of Nations (Books That Changed the World) (AudioBook)


The famous satirist headlines a new series of Books That Changed the World," in which well-known authors read great books "so you don't have to." While irreverently dissecting Adam Smith's 18th-century antimercantilist classic, The Wealth of Nations, O'Rourke continues the dogged advocacy of free-market economics of his own books, such as Eat the Rich. His analysis renders Smith's opus more accessible, while providing the perfect launching pad for O'Rourke's opinions on contemporary subjects like the World Bank, defense spending and Bill Moyers's intelligence (or lack thereof, according to O'Rourke). Readers only vaguely familiar with Smith's tenets may be surprised to learn how little he continues to be understood today. As O'Rourke observes, "there are many theories in [The Wealth of Nations], but no theoretical system that Smith wanted to put in place, except 'the obvious and simple system of natural liberty  establishes itself of its own accord." Libertarian that he is, O'Rourke would probably agree that one shouldn't take only his word on Smith. Still, the book reads like a witty Cliffs Notes, with plenty of challenges for the armchair economist to wrap his head around. (Jan.)

From Booklist
Old and weighty as it is, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations remains the seminal work on the fundamentals of economics. Political satirist O'Rourke plumbs the hefty tome, examining the eighteenth-century text in relation to our modern economy, demonstrating the enduring wisdom and application of Smith's work. O'Rourke marvels at Smith's ability to cut to the marrow of economic concepts, the simplicity behind the notion of division of labor and self-interest. Despite the lack of personal introspection shown by authors of Smith's era, O'Rourke finds Smith's sense of humor shining through the long-winded writing typical of the time. In a discourse on the need for imported goods, Smith ponders the trading of French wine for English hardware to avoid an oversupply of pots and pans in the nation. Working without benefit of the graphs and jargon that modern-day economists employ, Smith analyzed the nation's early mercantilism and its benefit to society. In a highly accessible, often hilarious tone, O'Rourke parses Smith's notions of political and economic freedom. Readers well versed and not so well versed in economic theory will enjoy this delightful look at Smith's famous and famously dense work. Vanessa Bush

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Tags: World, Rourke, Wealth, books, Nations, Changed