On the Wealth of Nations

  • by P.J. O'Rourke
  • Narrated by Michael Prichard
  • 5 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

As one of the first titles in Atlantic Monthly Press' "Books That Shook" series, America's most provocative satirist, P.J. O'Rourke, reads from 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 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, O'Rourke says, "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 currently hot topics as outsourcing, trade imbalances, and Angelina Jolie. In this hilarious, approachable, and insightful examination of Smith and his groundbreaking work, P.J. 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.

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What the Critics Say

"In a highly accessible, often hilarious tone, O'Rourke parses Smith's notions of political and economic freedom." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A work of genius ruined

Adam Smith was a man who's ideas shaped the economic in he same way that Darwin shaped the biological his ideas where that powerful and far reaching.

Reworking his work into a modern version to re-represent them to a world already shaped by those ideas is a great idea. Giving this work to P.J. Rourke was lazy thnking pandering to the worst of political and social understanding.

I may come across as vitriolic here but as an economics graduate I'd hate anyones first introduction to Smith to be via O'Rourkes right wing, american centric world view which has tainted his previous books and so warps his world view to make his conclusions in those books oversimplistic and meaningless.

This reading of the book isn't even very helpful addng insult to O'Rourkes injury this is read by an American who so mangles the language of Smiths original that O'Rourke left alone that he renderes them almost incomprehensable

I would have had no issue if they'd taken on an American right wing thinker with such an attitude but to ose this American centric view over Smith shows no respect and is up there with the travesties of interpretation in Disney movies

2 stars for the bits of Smith that survive this mauling none for any else involved in this
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- Roy

Good listen for a right-wing take on Smith

Apart from the BA adverts, this was my first proper exposure to P J O'Rourke. O'Rourke's analysis of Smith spends a lot of time showing why he would be a natural modern day low-tax, small-government, supremacy-of-the-individual type US Republican.

But if you can get over O?Rourke?s in-built bias, this is a great listen. The late 1700?s must have been an incredible time to live in Scotland ? if you were part of the Enlightenment scene. I particularly enjoyed O?Rourke?s depiction of the relationship between David Hume and Smith.

But, good grief, the narrator?s pronunciation of Scottish names and place names; Edinboro arrgh! At least he got ?Smith? right.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-02-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio