The Life of Adam Smith

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Sep 23, 2010 - Business & Economics - 624 pages
This new edition of The Life of Adam Smith remains the only book to give a full account of Smith's life whilst also placing his work into the context of his life and times. Updated to include new scholarship which has recently come to light, this full-scale biography of Adam Smith examines the personality, career, and social and intellectual circumstances of the Scottish moral philosopher regarded as the founder of scientific economics, whose legacy of thought - most notably about the free market and the role of the state - concerns us all. Ian Simpson Ross draws on correspondence, archival documents, the reports of contemporaries, and the record of Smith's publications to fashion a lively account of Adam Smith as a man of letters, moralist, historian, and critic, as well as an economist. Supported with full scholarly apparatus for students and academics, the book also offers 20 halftone illustrations representing Smith and the world in which he lived.

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Kirkus

A principal virtue of this scholarly but animated and accessible biography of the Scottish polymath Adam Smith is that it puts paid to any notion Smith was either a single-issue crusader or an ivory ... Read full review

The life of Adam Smith

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Ross (emeritus, English, Univ. of British Columbia) has written a full-scale biography of Adam Smith (1723-90), the first in a century. He covers not only Smith's masterpiece, The Wealth of Nations ... Read full review


13Travelling Tutor
15Inquirer into the Wealth of Nations
16The American Crisis and the Wealth of Nations
17Euge Belle Dear Mr Smith
18Dialogue with a Dying Man
19Settlement in Edinburgh
20Economic Theorist as Commissioner of Customs

4The Never to be Forgotten Hutcheson
6A Respectable Auditory
7Lectures on the History of Philosophy Science and Law
8Called to Glasgow University
10Publishing Scholar and Administrator
11The Making of The Theory of Moral Sentiments
12Criticism of The Theory of Moral Sentiments
21Literary Pursuits
22Times of Hardship and Distress
23Legacy for Legislators
24The Precariousness of this Life
25The Great Change

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Ian Simpson Ross is the biographer of Lord Kames, Smith's patron, and of the Scottish poet William Dunbar, and has edited, with E C Mossner, Smith's correspondence for the Glasgow edition of his works. He is Professor Emeritus of the University of British Columbia.

Bibliographic information