Recognized almost instantly upon its publication in 1776 as the fundamental work of economics, The Wealth of Nations was also recognized as really long: the original edition totaled over 900 pages in two volumes—including the blockbuster 67-page "digression concerning the variations in the value of silver during the course of the last four centuries," which, according to P. J. O'Rourke, "to those uninterested in the historiography of currency supply, is like reading Modern Maturity in Urdu." Although daunting, Smith's tome is still essential to understanding such current hot topics as outsourcing, trade imbalances, and Angelina Jolie. In this hilarious, approachable, and insightful examination of Smith and his groundbreaking work, O'Rourke puts his trademark wit to good use and shows us why Smith is still relevant, why what seems obvious now was once revolutionary, and why the pursuit of self-interest is so important.
P.J. O'Rourke has read Adam Smith so you don't have to. And fortunately, O'Rourke isn't just a very witty writer, he's pretty darn smart. Adam Smith's writing is dense and his love of endless run-on sentences makes his arguments hard to follow. O'Rourke allows the vast majority of us who have no intention of ever reading Smith's 900 page tome to appreciate what a remarkable creation it was. Smith not only revolutionized the way we think about our economic lives, his thoughts on our our political lives were equally insightful. O'Rourke actually makes all this fun and interesting, and the reader, Michael Prichard, reads with just the right dry irony to match O'Rourke's writing style.
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