While the rating tells you how good a book is according to our two core criteria, it says nothing about its particular defining features. Therefore, we use a set of 20 qualities to characterize each book by its strengths:
Applicable – You’ll get advice that can be directly applied in the workplace or in everyday situations.
Analytical – You’ll understand the inner workings of the subject matter.
Background – You’ll get contextual knowledge as a frame for informed action or analysis.
Bold – You’ll find arguments that may break with predominant views.
Comprehensive – You’ll find every aspect of the subject matter covered.
Concrete Examples – You’ll get practical advice illustrated with examples of real-world applications or anecdotes.
Controversial – You’ll be confronted with strongly debated opinions.
Eloquent – You’ll enjoy a masterfully written or presented text.
Engaging – You’ll read or watch this all the way through the end.
Eye opening – You’ll be offered highly surprising insights.
For beginners – You’ll find this to be a good primer if you’re a learner with little or no prior experience/knowledge.
For experts – You’ll get the higher-level knowledge/instructions you need as an expert.
Hot Topic – You’ll find yourself in the middle of a highly debated issue.
Innovative – You can expect some truly fresh ideas and insights on brand-new products or trends.
Insider’s take – You’ll have the privilege of learning from someone who knows her or his topic inside-out.
Inspiring – You’ll want to put into practice what you’ve read immediately.
Overview – You’ll get a broad treatment of the subject matter, mentioning all its major aspects.
Scientific – You’ll get facts and figures grounded in scientific research.
Visionary – You’ll get a glimpse of the future and what it might mean for you.
Well structured – You’ll find this to be particularly well organized to support its reception or application.
The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, became the literary foundation of economics. The author of this influential book, Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith, wrote a lesser-known work in 1759. The Theory of Moral Sentiments is about how we judge the character and conduct of others and of ourselves. It’s about living a good life and about the danger of confusing happiness with wealth. Economist Russ Roberts explains Smith’s belief that people have an individual, imaginary “impartial spectator” who accurately gauges the morality of their behavior and reminds them to be humble, because they “are little and the world is great.” He explains Smith’s contention that people need virtue to satisfy their natural desire to be admired and to deserve admiration. He discusses Smith’s view of virtue and its three components: “prudence, justice and beneficence.” Roberts finds it ironic that Smith – a dominant figure in the history of capitalism – so ardently supports the idea that money cannot buy happiness. The juxtaposition of Smith’s densely written passages and Roberts’s glib analysis can make for rocky and uneven reading. Yet getAbstract recommends the rewards available to the patient reader, who will learn that Smith’s 18th-century insights into human nature offer ample modern applications.
About the Author
Russ Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He also wrote The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity. He hosts the weekly podcast EconTalk.