The well-known satirist headlines a brand new sequence of Books That Modified the World,” wherein well-known authors learn nice books “so that you don’t must.” Whereas irreverently dissecting Adam Smith’s 18th-century antimercantilist basic, The Wealth of Nations, O’Rourke continues the dogged advocacy of free-market economics of his personal books, equivalent to Eat the Wealthy. His evaluation renders Smith’s opus extra accessible, whereas offering the proper launching pad for O’Rourke’s opinions on modern topics just like the World Financial institution, protection spending and Invoice Moyers’s intelligence (or lack thereof, in accordance with O’Rourke). Readers solely vaguely accustomed to Smith’s tenets could also be stunned to find out how little he continues to be understood as we speak. As O’Rourke observes, “there are a lot of theories in [The Wealth of Nations], however no theoretical system that Smith needed to place in place, besides ‘the apparent and easy system of pure liberty [that] establishes itself of its personal accord.” Libertarian that he’s, O’Rourke would most likely agree that one shouldn’t take solely his phrase on Smith.
Nonetheless, the e book reads like a witty Cliffs Notes, with loads of challenges for the armchair economist to wrap his head round. (Jan.)
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From The Washington Publish
Reviewed by Daniel Gross
Again in 1776, a topic of the British Empire printed a remarkably sturdy assertion in regards to the wishes and striving of mankind and the deep human craving for freedom. This doc, whose verities echo and resonate all through the generations, is regarded with one thing near adoration.
Oh, and the Declaration of Independence was printed that 12 months, too.
An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the prolonged tome penned by Adam Smith, then a 53-year-old Scottish logician and economist, has had almost as nice an influence on mankind because the a lot shorter doc inked by Thomas Jefferson.
A staple of Nice Books programs, The Wealth of Nations is a type of Bible for free-market devotees. Just like the Bible, nonetheless, it’s extra cited than learn — and often least learn by those that cite it most. And so having a well known, extremely accessible author introduce Smith’s nice work to modern audiences is a superb thought. The information for the perplexed is P.J. O’Rourke — satirist, libertarian, writer, wit.
It’s an incongruous pairing. Smith launched into a scientific, prolonged, earnest examination of the financial world. “My job is to make quips, jests, and waggish feedback,” O’Rourke states. However like chocolate and salt, this unlikely mixture works properly collectively. On this e book, O’Rourke is an enthralling, extremely literate blogger — one who thinks earlier than truly writing — elucidating Smith’s arguments and making insightful feedback alongside the best way. It’s a protected wager the phrases “Talmud” and “P.J. O’Rourke” have by no means been utilized in the identical sentence. But there’s something barely Talmudic to the strategy.
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