How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life Book Summary By Russ Roberts

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How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life is an inspiring book written by Jacob Goldstein, reviving the work of the influential economist and philosopher, Adam Smith.

The core of this book focuses on The Theory of Moral Sentiments – exploring it's ideas on how to become happier and more virtuous people.

Through reading and applying Smith's ideas, Jacob Goldstein highlights how readers can learn to improve relationships with those around them and ultimately even change the world!

A must-read for any economics enthusiast or student, this book provides an insightful journey in a comprehensive way.

With its important topics such as self-improvement, ethics, economics and more – it paints a unique picture that can help guide you to make difficult decisions each day.

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life Book

Book Name: How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life (An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness)

Author(s): Russ Roberts

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 10 Minutes

Categories: Philosophy

Author Bio

The renowned author of "How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life" is Russ Roberts.

He's a widely respected research fellow at the prestigious Stanford University who has written several books on economics.

If that weren't impressive enough, he also hosts the award-winning weekly podcast EconTalk where he speaks to experts and leaders in their respective fields.

His overall credentials certainly speak volumes as to why this book should be read - Russ truly knows his stuff!

Adam Smith: A Guide To Using His Philosophy And Psychology To Create A Better Life


Adam Smith’s book The Theory of Moral Sentiments can teach us a lot about how we can create a happier and more meaningful life.

Through his work, Smith reveals what truly contributes to long-lasting happiness, as well as how we can show true love for our fellow human beings.

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith examines the idea that despite having achieved wealth and fame, people may still find themselves feeling unfulfilled.

He also looks at how the small acts of kindness that we share with others, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can have a lasting impact on both ourselves and others around us.

Lastly, he investigates what purpose money actually serves in terms of generating real joy and happiness.

By uncovering these insights, Smith provides us with valuable lessons on how we should strive to live enriched lives without having to rely solely on material wealth.

With his help, you’ll be able to learn more about what really counts in life when it comes to experiencing true fulfillment and love.

The Power Of The Internal Observer: How Self-Love Can Help Us Overcome Our Flaws

Adam Smith’s notion that humans are inherently selfish, or have “self love,” may seem against the idea of behaving morally.

However, Smith argues that there are still clear limits to this self-interest and ultimately humans are capable of behaving morally despite the fact that they prioritize their own needs first.

Smith suggests that an internal observer works as a guiding force in our lives and encourages us to act honorably.

It is like our conscience pushing us towards doing good things even when it does not directly benefit us.

The author experienced this himself in his podcasting career: after analyzing his show from another listener’s perspective, he was able to recognize his own shortcomings and change the way he conversed with guests.

In essence, no matter how much we tend to prioritize ourselves, it is possible to be moral because we have an internal observer encouraging us to do so.

The Secret To Happiness: Only Earned Respect And Adulation Will Make Us Truly Happy

If you want to be happy, Adam Smith’s words hold true: You must reject false praise and earn true respect.

It all comes down to seeking admiration for the right reasons—not ones that trick us into believing our own greatness or worthiness.

Warren Buffett is a great example; he became a successful investor without cheating or making false promises, so he was able to enjoy the respect and admiration of those who valued his success.

In contrast, Bernie Madoff often conned people out of their money to get ahead–even though he gained temporary prestige through his actions, he never fully earned it.

And because of that knowledge, he couldn’t truly be content with his position.

So what does this mean for us? Simply put, we cannot fool ourselves into believing we are better than we are—we have to gain true respect by performing honest work and earn it in an authentic way.

Whether it’s our job at the office or something personal we’re pursuing–like a hobby–we only become truly happy when we achieve genuine recognition from those around us.

The Danger Of Self-Deception: How Believing Our Own Lies Sabotages Happiness


Adam Smith argued that many people engage in self-deception in order to trick themselves into thinking their behavior is more honorable than it actually is.

This phenomenon, referred to as confirmation bias, is quite common, and even backed up by science.

When we succumb to confirmation bias – when we emphasize evidence which supports our previously held beliefs – we can end up sabotaging our own happiness.

We might be tempted to lie or deceive ourselves in order to convince ourselves that our behavior is acceptable when it would otherwise be seen as wrong.

For instance, if you prefer to work on an important paper instead of helping your brother with his homework, rather than accepting responsibility for letting him down you may find yourself justifying your decision by arguing that you’re a better role model if you prioritize your studies and that the extra income from better grades could help him financially in the future.

This type of self-deception can ultimately prevent us from achieving true happiness and peace of mind.

So don’t sabotage your own happiness by deceiving yourself; instead, reject false praise and take responsibility for your choices so that you can experience true joy and satisfaction with your life.

Happiness Comes Not From Money And Fame, But From Acting Wisely And Virtuously

We often look for happiness and appreciation in the wrong places.

We may think that if we have wealth or fame, then others will respect and admire us.

But as Adam Smith argues in his book, “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life,” this is not necessarily true.

Instead, Smith suggests that our ultimate goal should be to be wise and virtuous, rather than chase after wealth or fame.

By doing so, we can demonstrate propriety by acting in ways that make sense according to the situation and make people think highly of us.

This way of living leads to true happiness since being respected and admired by people genuinely brings joy instead of having extravagant possessions or being famous which cannot guarantee you contentment.

In fact, there are many celebrities who have experienced sadness even though they have wealth and fame because they still lack genuine human connections brought about by virtue and wisdom.

So instead of chasing after money or status symbols, it’s wiser to focus on pursuing wisdom and virtue that make people truly appreciate us rather than seeking instant attention from materialistic things.

How Our Virtuous Actions Can Shape Society And Make The World Better

Shape Society

It’s true – being wise and virtuous can help you make a difference in the world.

Rather than the outdated belief that we need to be influential or powerful to make a change, it is the small, daily actions that each one of us makes that shapes society and creates broad, significant changes.

Adam Smith discussed this concept in his book “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life”.

He noted that top-down changes don’t always have a positive effect on society, as history has shown time and time again.

Instead, genuine change comes from the bottom up – from people like you taking virtuous action on a daily basis!

For instance, if someone tells an inappropriate joke at work, your reaction will determine whether that behavior is accepted in your workplace or not.

If you choose to laugh along with the joke teller, it will normalize this kind of behavior.

However, if you frown at their words and condemn it appropriately then you have an opportunity to create a better company culture.

It all adds up in the end – by each of us taking part and committing to do our part by being wise and virtuous, we can indeed shape society’s values for the better and truly change the world.

Wrap Up

Adam Smith’s book “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life” is filled with wisdom and advice on how to become a virtuous person.

By following the three-step approach laid out in the book – be prudent, be just, and be beneficent – anyone can improve their own life as well as have a positive impact on those around them.

The final summary of this book is that by being honest, virtuous, and wise you will make yourself and others better off.

Honesty ensures that your dealings are fair; virtue teaches us to conduct ourselves ethically; and wisdom provides us with common sense to make the right decisions for our own best interests as well as for the people in our lives.

Following these tenets will help us lead more successful and meaningful lives!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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