The book delved into Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and brought out its main ideas and most essential passages and applied them to contemporary life. I enjoyed the author's personal tone and anecdotes, and a lot of the basic concepts rang true for me. In the same way that so many lessons from Ayn Rand connect philosophy to economics, it's clear how Adam Smith drew many of the same conclusions at the intersection of those two disciplines (or rather, how economics should be grounded in a sound philosophy).
Here are some of my main takeaways, and my full notes are below:
- Trading as key to specialization and self-interest.
- We judge ourselves through the eyes of an imaginary spectator and fellow human.
- We do the right thing not out of love for our neighbor but out of respect for concepts and virtues.
- Self-interest leads to helping others.
- Act honorably and nobly.