On the Wealth of Nations by P.J. O'Rourke

On the Wealth of Nations

As one of the first titles in Atlantic Monthly Press’ “Books That Changed the World” series, America’s most provocative satirist, P. J. O’Rourke, reads Adam Smith’s revolutionary The Wealth of Nations so you don’t have to. Recognized almost instantly on 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 nine hundred pages in two ...


Details On the Wealth of Nations

TitleOn the Wealth of Nations
ISBN9780871139498
Author
Release DateDec 4th, 2006
PublisherAtlantic Monthly Press
LanguageEnglish
GenreEconomics, Nonfiction, Humor, Politics, History, Philosophy, Business
Rating

Reviews On the Wealth of Nations

  • Mary Lou
    1970-01-01
    I read every word of this book. Or at least my eyes swept over them all. Try as I might, even with O'Rourke's humor I just couldn't make sense of it. My take-aways: Smith was an absent-minded, brilliant, likable guy; a teacher; a bachelor; a bit schizophrenic in his philosophies. But I wouldn't know, because I really couldn't make sense of anything he wrote, as quoted by O'Rourke whose commentary only served to muddle things up more. The one thin...
  • Will
    1970-01-01
    Read because after his Eat the Rich I could not believe PJ was really that witless. Well, it turns out he’s not, he can write competently enough, although not without gratuitous jabs: "Even intellectuals should have no trouble understanding Smith’s ideas.” In this On the Wealth of Nations he wants to mould Adam Smith into an archetype for the 21st-century compassionate free-market libertarian. It's not a long book, but it is still just d...
  • Sam Reaves
    1970-01-01
    This is an entry in the Books That Changed the World series from Atlantic Monthly Press, in which various pundits produce short and accessible interpretations of the type of fat, difficult book we all know we should read but just can't seem to get around to (Das Kapital, The Origin of Species...) Call it a sort of a high-brow Cliff Notes series. This one is from conservative curmudgeon P.J. O'Rourke, tasked with making Adam Smith's prolix masterp...
  • Bill
    1970-01-01
    Some of Smith's most interesting and influential ideas channeled through the wit and insight of O'Rourke.This is either a substitute for or prelude to reading Smith's bible of economic theory and observations, I haven't decided which yet. But it's remarkable how relevant Smith's ideas are to this day. Don't fall into the trap of discarding the pith of Wealth of Nations because of your politics. Smith's writing, though appropriated most recently b...
  • Brad
    1970-01-01
    In these "interesting" economic times, everyone would benefit from the one-two punch of P.J. O'Rourke's "On The Wealth of Nations" for a historic basis of modern economics and "Eat The Rich" as the pragmatic practice of economics in today's world (okay, the world of 1999, when the book was written). Incredibly informative and funny as hell, you won't realize how much you learned until you're done laughing. This former Rolling Stone counterculture...
  • Upom
    1970-01-01
    Reading the 900 pages of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" just seemed daunting. So I did the next best thing: I had someone else summarize it for me. O' Rourke's book actually not only summarized all 5 books of "The Wealth of Nations," but provided a complete guide to understanding both Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations," as well as his "Theory of Moral Sentiments." Smith actually wrote works for the betterment of society, and Smith's 2 works were ...
  • Brian
    1970-01-01
    "The man of System...is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; as is often so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it..He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess board." TMS (A.Smith) pg 232P.J. Comments on the above quote from Smith. "Barbwi...
  • Paul Spence
    1970-01-01
    If you're like me, you've long had an itching curiosity to read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (Modern Library Classics). But after picking up his 1000-page tome and thumbing through a few sections, your itch is soon forgotten. After all, how much is there to say about 18th century economics? And, though the undisputed economic bible, how come the only quoted text I've regularly come across is a few short excerpts about an invisible hand? Thi...
  • Adrienne
    1970-01-01
    Adam Smith's A Wealth Of Nations is something I've always wanted to read but known I wouldn't make it through it. Even reading a sentence of Smith is grueling. So when I heard one of my favorite authors was doing a cliffs notes version, I was so excited to get my hands on it. The main deficiency in the work is O'Rourke's constant references to current events and scandals. They make sense now, but what about when my kids read this in 10 years? A l...
  • Tony Hightower
    1970-01-01
    I picked this book up as a white flag of surrender. If I ever read Adam Smith's original work, it won't be any time soon. Still, it seems like a good time to have at least a reasonable knowledge of economics and market theory, and this is a breezy, short read that claims to cover the gist of what Smith was really getting at.Of course, because it's PJ O'Rourke, it's as much about O'Rourke himself and his personal prejudices as it is about showing ...
  • Pang
    1970-01-01
    I really enjoyed the book, even though I expected it to be funnier. PJ O'Rourke interpreted and discussed Adam Smith's the Wealth of the Nation in his own words. I had never read Wealth, though I would like to attempt it once I find a bit more time to devote to it (not that it would be the longest book I've ever read, but I think the older English language might take me a while.) So, I took O'Rourke's interpretations as they were.It amazed me how...
  • Keith Craig
    1970-01-01
    This book was like a tribute album. Let me explain. You buy a tribute album and are excited because you like the band being tributed and/or you like the band doing the tribute. Either way it is somewhat of a disappointment because the songs aren't like the originals that you liked or the band playing it does not sound like the style you liked.That is how this book is. I like PJ O'Rourke but I felt he was held back by having to talk about Adam Smi...
  • Robert
    1970-01-01
    The chapter reviewing the rise of Western Civ is perhaps the most concise and accessible description of World History around.
  • Steve Rainwater
    1970-01-01
    I'm usually a fan of P. J. O'Rourke but this one felt a bit like a contractual obligation book.At times he was trying and failing to be funny, at other times he was trying to write a commentary on Adam Smith and/or Wealth of Nations but it was unclear if he had even read the book. He doesn't seem to have enough material for a whole book and there's a lot of padding, including a final chapter that's just a lot of random Adam Smith quotes. Overall,...
  • Alex
    1970-01-01
    This was truly an entertaining read, despite my earlier comments; you just have to get used to the author's style. He interjects passages with his own quips, and the resulting back-and-forth settles into a good rhythm. Adam Smith wrote two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. They are incredibly large, and tedious to read. But if CliffsNotes are responsible for sucking the life out of vibrant works of art, then this ...
  • Rob
    1970-01-01
    To style this work as a commentary and then to impart no actual information (and to obscure any possible edification via the excerpted and cited original work) would be bad enough; but to approach the work from so heavy a bias, and then to judge Adam Smith's efforts on a pass/fail basis according to that worldview is of no more value than the eructation of a roach.Mr O'Rourke was unable to refrain from his (to him) pithy bon mots long enough to a...
  • David Shane
    1970-01-01
    "A central bank is the institution that controls the supply of a country's money. This would be a straightforward matter if it weren't for three facts: Money is imaginary. Banking doesn't involve money. And a central bank isn't a bank."That sentence may give you some sense of the wit of P.J. O'Rourke - read this book to hear much more. It was surprisingly lighthearted (at least surprisingly for someone like me who had never read O'Rourke), but it...
  • Adrienne
    1970-01-01
    Many parts of O'Rourke's summary of 'The Wealth of Nations' was interesting, but maybe because I had to take Economics, I felt that the information presented from the actual 'Wealth of Nations' was simple common sense (in a capitalistic society, at least), which is what Adam Smith meant it to be, really. Because modern economics is basically based off of what Smith had said, there weren't very many "Aha!" moments, which I was sort of hoping for. ...
  • Rick Cagle
    1970-01-01
    Taken as an analysis of Smith's "On The Wealth of Nations", PJ O'Rourke's entry into this proposed series is uneven and light. Topics are treated more for humor, and he seems to vary between updating the sarcasm already present (and arguably better presented) in Smith's original, and subverting Smith's intent to support injected humor drawn from modern circumstance.Take this instead as lighthearted entertainment, and a noted humorist's treatment ...
  • Angel
    1970-01-01
    After moving from Houston to Tyler, I finally got a new public library card. While I was browsing around, I came across this book in a small display the library had on books about current affairs. I have read O'Rourke's books in the past; I enjoyed his Parliament of Whores very much, so I figured this might be a good bet. If nothing else, it would be a nice way to get exposure to Adam Smith's big book with some sense of humor thrown in. We'll see...
  • Christopher Fox
    1970-01-01
    Part of an on-going series presenting Books That Shook The World (The "Qur'an", "Das Kapital", etc.), this exploration of Adam Smith's magnum opus is enlivened by O'Rourke's trademark humour and a writing style that veers toward the colloquial and accessible. Despite this popularization, he plumbs the wisdom of Smith's theories, always mindful of their historical context as well as their relevance to present conditions. Smith's is a heavy work bu...
  • Benjamin
    1970-01-01
    Having not read The Wealth of Nations, I am not competent to comment on the adequacy of O'Rourke's treatment of the book. But it does appear to me that this might well be a more useful (and enjoyable) introduction to the work than might more commonly be met with. O'Rourke is honest enough to admit his own inadequacies for the task, but he certainly appears to have done his homework, and made use of the right kinds of friends. There are a couple o...
  • Mike
    1970-01-01
    Brief walk through Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations . I felt that the author did a good job of combining the themes of Smith's earlier work The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations into a larger narrative and how they both reflected Smith's worldview about how humanity can better itself. A synopsis like this also underscores the importance of reading the source text (I'll get there someday), because with a book as notable a...
  • Frederick
    1970-01-01
    I saw P.J. O'Rourke promoting this book on THE DAILY SHOW. I realized it might be the one book in existence which might give me a sense of economics, so I made the economy of buying it.This book is about a book, that being Adam Smith's THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. O'Rourke has a very clear mind. He gets and gives the gist of Adam Smith. I felt my intelligence increase as I read his recontextualization of Smith's great work. I was imagining things, I'm ...
  • Nate
    1970-01-01
    A few months back author and blogger Russell Roberts asked his readers a thought provoking question concerning the wealth of a talented, resourceful Nepalese man vs. that of a lazy, unskilled American. He later answered himself beautifully and gave me one of the best economic lessons I have ever received. If I had already read O'Rourke's splendid summation of The Wealth of Nations I could have scored well on the question in one simple sentence, "...
  • John Guthrie
    1970-01-01
    I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. This is a good but not great book. O'Rourke does a nice job explaining Adam Smith's "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" and "The Wealth of Nations". The ideas presented in these books are still relevant, as nations that have followed (at least to a degree) the ideas presented by Smith have indeed been the ones which prosper. This book also gives the reader an appreciation for how deep and brilliant Adam Smith ...
  • Yougo
    1970-01-01
    I'm not quite sure how to reate this. I found the first two or thee and last couple chapters more annoying than intersting, it seemed that the author was trying too hard to inject humor that it was very distracting from the topic. Once he delved into The Wealth of Nations, it picked up quite a bit and it was inciteful commentary for the most part.One of the big things that I learned though is that perhaps Smith didn't have it ALL together in ever...
  • Stephen
    1970-01-01
    After enjoying quote after quote from O'Rourke in other people's essays, I finally decided to read one of his books. I settled on the wealth of nations because I enjoy reading and discussing economics, haven't read every word of Wealth of Nations (I never intend to), and my wife objected to adding a book with the word Whores in the title to her cart on Amazon (Parliament of Whores was in my wish list).The book was what I expected - a quick and en...
  • Dale
    1970-01-01
    Could have been so much moreAs an economics teacher, Adam Smith's An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations has long been on my "to read" list. I downloaded a free copy of it to my Kindle e-reader, but I haven't seriously considered opening it. I've read summaries of his ideas, perused his quotes and espoused his ideas in class, but I have not had the gumption to read 600 pages of 18th century prose.When I discovered P.J. O...