Synopses & Reviews
A forgotten book by one of history's greatest thinkers reveals the surprising connections between happiness, virtue, fame, and fortune.
Adam Smith may have become the patron saint of capitalism after he penned his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations. But few people know that when it came to the behavior of individualsthe way we perceive ourselves, the way we treat others, and the decisions we make in pursuit of happinessthe Scottish philosopher had just as much to say. He developed his ideas on human nature in an epic, sprawling work titled The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Most economists have never read it, and for most of his life, Russ Roberts was no exception. But when he finally picked up the book by the founder of his field, he realized hed stumbled upon what might be the greatest self-help book that almost no one has read.
In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Roberts examines Smiths forgotten masterpiece, and finds a treasure trove of timeless, practical wisdom. Smiths insights into human nature are just as relevant today as they were three hundred years ago. What does it take to be truly happy? Should we pursue fame and fortune or the respect of our friends and family? How can we make the world a better place? Smiths unexpected answers, framed within the rich context of current events, literature, history, and pop culture, are at once profound, counterintuitive, and highly entertaining.
By reinvigorating Smiths neglected classic, Roberts provides us with an invaluable look at human behavior through the lens of one of historys greatest minds.
“An earnest, accessible introduction to Smiths ideas on the nature of virtue and happiness.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Roberts skillfully blends modern examples with Smiths original.”
"Can economists teach us how to live a good life? When the economists in question are Adam Smith and Russ Roberts, the answer is a definitive yes. Roberts shines a fresh light on Smiths ideas about morality and human nature and finds that these 18th century ideas hold up remarkably well in the 21st century. This is a fun, fascinating, and original book that will challenge you to become a better version of yourself.”
—DANIEL H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human
“A great book. Makes you feel better about life, humanity, and yourself. Like having a conversation and a scotch with Adam Smith, or even better, Russ Roberts.”
—NASSIM TALEB, author of The Black Swan
“Russ Roberts has taken a brilliant but difficult classic—Smiths Theory of Moral Sentiments—and written an engaging and inspiring meditation on virtue, friendship, and happiness. The result is a wonderful guide to living a good life.”
—JONATHAN HAIDT, author of The Righteous Mind
“Adam Smith was not just an economist; he also had penetrating insights into human nature that informed his rich, subtle, and revolutionary approach to moral philosophy. Russ Roberts combines a deep understanding of what Smith was on about with a fluent writing style to bring out the surprisingly modern implications of Smiths thinking.”
—MATT RIDLEY, author of The Rational Optimist
“Russ Roberts has done us all a great service in capturing the essence of Smiths wisdom about the emotional and psychological foundations of both the good life and a successful economy. This book is a pleasure to read and, whats more, Adam Smith almost certainly can change your life.”
—DIANE COYLE, author of The Soulful Science
Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres--literary biography and self-help manual--in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.
Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust's life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.
Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.
The paperback edition of How Proust Can Change Your Life will be available in May 1998.
A hilarious, utterly unexpected, and unexpectedly practical joining of genres -- literary biography, explication of text, and self-help manual.
Alain de Botton's three novels (all published since 1993) have received rapturous praise from critics and writers alike, but nothing he has done before has prepared us for this, his first work of nonfiction. Who would have thought that Marcel Proust -- one of the twentieth century's acknowledged literary masters and great eccentrics-would have had such acute insight into subjects ranging from vacations and the importance of being a good host to sex on the first date (he's against it) and recognizing true love. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters, and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.
Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: with an intelligent, uniquely witty, and always tasteful '90s makeover.
About the Author
Alain de Botton was born in 1969. He is the author of the novels On Love, The Romantic Movement, and Kiss and Tell; his work has been translated into sixteen languages. He lives in Washington, D.C., and London.