Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The 306 Greatest Books #118 - The Wealth of Nations

     The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.



   I think the best response for this book is what I had said about it when I started reading it. I asked if it was possible for a book to be so very interesting yet so very boring at the same time. Now after finishing all 620 pages of it, I am reaffirmed of that opinion. The book is very long, longer than the 620 pages should have felt. And it was a drudge to get through. Many times he would talk about the price of one thing or another and how it has changed. This all being in British units, but the antiquated British units which are no longer used, so I had a tendency to gloss over those parts. When it got interesting, I found myself invested in the narrative, more like a history textbook than a literary novel. What was really interesting was that this book seemed to be written over several years during the American Revolution. It was really amazing to watch how different America's impact on this book was depending on the date at which he was writing each section, from before the war until well into it. In the end though, the book felt more like a textbook or a scientific article than a story, which is fine, but he repeated himself so often that I feel this book could have been half the length and gotten across the same amount of material. I have heard that this is required reading for many in business school and I feel sorry for you. It may be a cornerstone of our economic system but it is tiresome to read through. This is very similar to how I felt The Origin of Species is to paleontologists, an important, long, slowly paced, bore.

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