100 books like The Routledge Guidebook to Smith's Wealth of Nations

By Maria Pia Paganelli,

Here are 100 books that The Routledge Guidebook to Smith's Wealth of Nations fans have personally recommended if you like The Routledge Guidebook to Smith's Wealth of Nations. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

Phillipson’s book is, for us, the best intellectual biography about Smith.

It provides a balanced overall account of Smith’s economics and wider thought and traces their origins and evolution back to the places where Smith lived. It is a very fine read indeed. Quite possibly it is the most insightful book yet on Smith’s life and work.

It is a must-read for Smith scholars. It is also an important corrigendum to the many accounts that describe Smith as an absent-minded professor, somewhat detached from the world. Phillipson argues convincingly that Smith, while he may have had Asperger’s, was a man of the world, a very competent administrator in academic and other matters, and a much sought-after policy advisor at the highest level.

By Nicholas Phillipson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Smith is celebrated all over the world as the author of The Wealth of Nations and the founder of modern economics. A few of his ideas - such as the 'Invisible Hand' of the market - have become icons of the modern world. Yet Smith saw himself primarily as a philosopher rather than an economist, and would never have predicted that the ideas for which he is now best known were his most important. This book, by one of the leading scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment, shows the extent to which The Wealth of Nations and Smith's other great…


Book cover of Adam Smith

Christopher J. Berry Author Of Adam Smith: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on who Adam Smith was and why he's still important.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve studied Smith and his Scottish contemporaries, off and on, for over fifty years. My whole professional career has been spent at Glasgow University where Smith was both a student and later professor. I thus have a personal affinity to him and his work, all the more so because his published writings were all trailed in his professorial classroom. While I have published extensively on Smith, the particular book of mine that I’ve selected was chosen because I wanted to distill all my scholarship into a volume that would be accessible to non-academics. 

Christopher's book list on who Adam Smith was and why he's still important

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

What was impressive about this book and what made me recommend it (on the back cover) was how it succeeded in covering the full range of Smith’s work while demonstrating that it possesses a common unifying thread.

The author has already written a learned treatment of Smith (based on his doctoral dissertation); this volume, as befits a designedly introductory book, is written without jargon, in careful, clear prose. While students will gain the most benefit (the purpose of the series of which it is a part), it is, as well as informative, accessible to anyone with an initial interest in Smith, which it will succeed in broadening and deepening

By Craig Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Almost everyone has heard of Adam Smith, founding father of modern economics and author of Wealth of Nations. There is, however, much more to him than this.

This new introduction gives a crystal clear overview of the entirety of Smith's thought. It demonstrates how Smith's economic theories fit into a larger system of thought that encompasses moral philosophy, philosophy of science, legal and political theory, and aesthetics. Examining the central arguments of his major works, ranging from The Theory of Moral Sentiments to his lectures on jurisprudence and beyond, Smith's thought is explained in its full intellectual and historical context.…


Book cover of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours

Christopher J. Berry Author Of Adam Smith: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on who Adam Smith was and why he's still important.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve studied Smith and his Scottish contemporaries, off and on, for over fifty years. My whole professional career has been spent at Glasgow University where Smith was both a student and later professor. I thus have a personal affinity to him and his work, all the more so because his published writings were all trailed in his professorial classroom. While I have published extensively on Smith, the particular book of mine that I’ve selected was chosen because I wanted to distill all my scholarship into a volume that would be accessible to non-academics. 

Christopher's book list on who Adam Smith was and why he's still important

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

This is a lively and engaging book that bears its learning lightly. That stylistic presentation is coupled with a broad agenda to counter common assumptions and distortions about Smith, with the aim, as Muller himself declares, to recover Smith’s own intentions from subsequent misreadings.

While opinionated it is even-handed, neither bland nor strident. What singles out this book and what I found distinctively insightful was a lengthy discussion of the differing receptions of Smith’s work in the two-hundred years since his death.   

By Jerry Z. Muller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam Smith in His Time and Ours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Counter to the popular impression that Adam Smith was a champion of selfishness and greed, Jerry Muller shows that the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations maintained that markets served to promote the well-being of the populace and that government must intervene to counteract the negative effects of the pursuit of self-interest. Smith's analysis went beyond economics to embrace a larger "civilizing project" designed to create a more decent society.


Book cover of Adam Smith: Father of Economics

Christopher J. Berry Author Of Adam Smith: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on who Adam Smith was and why he's still important.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve studied Smith and his Scottish contemporaries, off and on, for over fifty years. My whole professional career has been spent at Glasgow University where Smith was both a student and later professor. I thus have a personal affinity to him and his work, all the more so because his published writings were all trailed in his professorial classroom. While I have published extensively on Smith, the particular book of mine that I’ve selected was chosen because I wanted to distill all my scholarship into a volume that would be accessible to non-academics. 

Christopher's book list on who Adam Smith was and why he's still important

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

This is a defence of Smith's continuing relevance. It combines an overview of Smith's life and writings together with an assessment of his long-term and enduring contribution.

What is distinctive is that second-half of the book takes up Smith's ideas thematically and analyses them in the light of contemporary issues. Norman's judgment is that mainstream academic discussion of 'economics' is too self-absorbed and would be improved by heeding Smith's inclusive insights.  Impressively what could have been a heavy read is conveyed in a readable, accessible style.

By Jesse Norman, Matthew Waterson (narrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A superb book' Financial Times, Books of the Year

Adam Smith is now widely regarded as 'the father of modern economics' and the most influential economist who ever lived. But what he really thought, and what the implications of his ideas are, remain fiercely contested. Was he an eloquent advocate of capitalism and the freedom of the individual? Or a prime mover of 'market fundamentalism' and an apologist for inequality and human selfishness? Or something else entirely? Jesse Norman's brilliantly conceived \book gives us not just Smith's economics, but his vastly wider intellectual project. Against the turbulent backdrop of Enlightenment…


Book cover of Adam Smith

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

Part of the series meant to cater to “those new to philosophy” while also being “essential reading for those interested in the subject at any level.” It’s a little bit like squaring the circle. But Fleischacker (also the author of an excellent book on Smith’s Wealth of Nations almost twenty years back) manages to do so.

There are two ingredients that make Fleischacker’s latest book such a must-read. First, his ability to synthesize complicated issues (such as what distinguishes Smith’s and Hume’s theories of self-command) in language accessible to motivated laypeople. Second, his outstanding scholarship.

Fleischacker really knows his stuff, as reflected in the richness of the footnotes to each of the chapters. Many of them are little gems and literature reviews of consistently high quality.

By Samuel Fleischacker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Smith (1723-1790) is widely regarded as one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment period. Best-known for his founding work of economics, The Wealth of Nations, Smith engaged equally with the nature of morality in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. He also gave lectures on literature and jurisprudence, and wrote papers on art and science.

In this outstanding philosophical introduction Samuel Fleischacker argues that Smith is a superb example of the broadly curious thinkers who flourished in the Enlightenment-for whom morality, politics, law, and economics were just a few of the many fascinating subjects that could be illuminated by…


Book cover of History of Economic Analysis

Panayotis G. Michaelides Author Of History of Economic Ideas: From Adam Smith to Paul Krugman

From my list on the evolution of economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Full Professor and Lab Director in Economics. My interest in this field began when I traveled abroad and observed the differences in prices, goods, and quality of life. In order to gain a deeper understanding, I decided to switch from my previous academic background in Engineering, Mathematics & Physics to Economics, Finance & Data Science. Today, I am dedicated to expanding my knowledge and sharing my insights through teaching, academic publications, and LinkedIn posts. According to the latest rankings, I am humbled to be among the top 3% most productive economists worldwide (IDEAS-RePec, 2023), as well as being ranked among the top 4% researchers in Financial Economics, and the top 5% in Econometrics (Researchgate, 2023).

Panayotis' book list on the evolution of economics

Panayotis G. Michaelides Why did Panayotis love this book?

Since my PhD was based on Schumpeter's work, I can confidently state that it is well worth exploring the fascinating world of Economics through one of history's greatest economists.

This masterpiece takes the reader on a journey through every corner of the subject, paying particular attention to even the smallest details. A unique and thought-provoking view of Economics is offered by Schumpeter in his over 1000 pages of brilliant insights.

This book distinguishes itself from others through its deep and unconventional interpretation of Economics. It is a must-read for anyone seeking a thorough understanding of Economics as Schumpeter provides fresh insights on various topics.

However, it would be much better if it covered more recent developments. Enjoy this tour of Economics with Schumpeter and you will never get bored!

By Joseph A Schumpeter, Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked History of Economic Analysis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the time of his death in 1950, Joseph Schumpeter--one of the great economists of the first half of the 20th century--was working on his monumental History of Economic Analysis. A complete history of efforts to understand the subject of economics from ancient Greece to the present, this book is an important contribution to the history of ideas as well as to economics. Although never fully completed, it has gained recognition as a modern classic due to its broad scope and original examination of significant historical events. Complete with a new introduction by Mark Perlman, who outlines the structure of…


Book cover of The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

This handbook, edited by three well-known Smith scholars, follows on from a conference organised for the 250th anniversary of the publication of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments although it is not a proceedings volume.

The book has seven parts, each part featuring four chapters. These 28 chapters cover all bases, from an introductory outline of life, times, and legacy, over the importance of Smith’s unpublished work, the importance to Smith of rhetoric, ethics, aesthetics, theatre, and fashion, to Smith’s view on commerce and morality, his view on religion, and Smith’s legacy and influence, among many other topics.

By Christopher J. Berry (editor), Maria Pia Paganelli (editor), Craig Smith (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Smith (1723-90) is a thinker with a distinctive perspective on human behaviour and social institutions. He is best known as the author of the An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Yet his work is name-checked more often than it is read and then typically it is of an uninformed nature; that he is an apologist for capitalism, a forceful promoter of self-interest, a defender of greed and a critic of any 'interference' in market transactions . To offset this caricature, this Handbook provides an informed portrait. Drawing on the expertise of leading…


Book cover of The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics

Eyal Zamir and Barak Medina Author Of Law, Economics, and Morality

From my list on ethics and economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

We are law professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eyal Zamir is interested in the intersections of law, economics, ethics, and psychology. In addition to theoretical studies of these issues, he engages in experimental legal studies, as well. Barak Medina studies constitutional law, human rights, and economic analysis of law. He is interested in constitutional interpretation and the interaction between common-sense morality, public opinion and adjudication.

Eyal's book list on ethics and economics

Eyal Zamir and Barak Medina Why did Eyal love this book?

This collection of essays by some of the leading contemporary scholars in ethics and in economics provides both critical surveys of the various interactions between these two bodies of thought and original suggestions for future advancements in this important intersection.

The collection includes both general and theoretical inquiries and more specific applications. It may be of interest both to academics (scholars and students) and to policymakers and laypersons.

By Mark D. White (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Economics and ethics are both valuable tools for analyzing the behavior and actions of human beings and institutions. Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, considered them two sides of the same coin, but since economics was formalized and mathematicised in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the fields have largely followed separate paths.

The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics provides a timely and thorough survey of the various ways ethics can, does, and should inform economic theory and practice. The first part of the book, Foundations, explores how the most prominent schools of moral philosophy relate to economics;…


Book cover of An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Liah Greenfeld Author Of The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth

From my list on the relationship between capitalism and nationalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth is the second volume of my nationalism trilogy. When I published the first volume, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, the accepted view on the subject of nationalism was that it is a product of economic development, specifically, of industrialization and capitalism. On the basis of historical evidence, I proved that its emergence had nothing to do with these economic phenomena: in fact, it preceded both. Reviews of Nationalism, noting that, for this reason, economic developments could not have caused nationalism, raised the question what relationship, then, did exist between nationalism and the economy, and this led me to investigate it. 

Liah's book list on the relationship between capitalism and nationalism

Liah Greenfeld Why did Liah love this book?

The Wealth of Nations is the foundational text of modern economics, reflecting – contrary to the common notion – the clearly national consciousness of its author and demonstrating that modern economic imagination (and activity) is a product of nationalism.

Its nationalist inspiration is the main reason I recommend reading it, for the commonplace interpretations of this classic miss this most interesting aspect of the work. In addition, it is a delightful text. 

By Adam Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1776, the year in which the American Revolution officially began, Smith’s Wealth of Nations sparked a revolution of its own. In it Smith analyzes the major elements of political economy, from market pricing and the division of labor to monetary, tax, trade, and other government policies that affect economic behavior. Throughout he offers seminal arguments for free trade, free markets, and limited government.

Criticizing mercantilists who sought to use the state to increase their nations’ supply of precious metals, Smith points out that a nation’s wealth should be measured by the well-being of its people. Prosperity in…


Book cover of Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life

Charles L. Marohn Jr. Author Of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity

From my list on thinking like a Strong Towns advocate.

Why am I passionate about this?

Everyone should be able to live a meaningful life in a place they love, where their day-to-day efforts participating in society result in the community becoming a more prosperous place over time, for themselves, and for those who come next. I founded Strong Towns to help people recognize that they have this opportunity, that they and their neighbors working together have the capacity to make things better, despite everything else going on. Cities are works in progress. It is not our job to finish ours, but we all have a role to play in making it stronger.

Charles' book list on thinking like a Strong Towns advocate

Charles L. Marohn Jr. Why did Charles love this book?

I was introduced to Jane Jacobs as required reading during graduate school. I’m convinced that most urban planners who claim to adore Jacobs have not actually read her, particularly Cities and the Wealth of Nations, which is my favorite. Its thoroughly brutal logic stands in contrast to nearly everything we still do to manage our cities. Jacobs is an insightful genius.

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cities and the Wealth of Nations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this eye-opening work of economic theory, Jane Jacobs argues that it is cities—not nations—that are the drivers of wealth. Challenging centuries of economic orthodoxy, in Cities and the Wealth of Nations the beloved author contends that healthy cities are constantly evolving to replace imported goods with locally-produced alternatives, spurring a cycle of vibrant economic growth. Intelligently argued and drawing on examples from around the world and across the ages, here Jacobs radically changes the way we view our cities—and our entire economy. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

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