Thursday, September 14, 2006

I too love Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments...

At the NYT, William Grimes praises James Buchan's The Authentic Adam Smith: His Life and Ideas. Mmmm, I am going to get that right away: it puts me in a good mood when my work-related reading is so closely aligned with what I most want to read. (A series of rave reviews in the last few days have made me prioritize Daniel Mendelsohn's book too, I must get and read that at once, but it has nothing to do with work.)

Three further observations:

1. Like Gordon Brown, my father attended the Adam Smith High School in Kirkcaldy.

2. The alternate-universe 1930s Scotland of my forthcoming novel Dynamite No. 1 is governed on the basis of Adam Smith's social psychology, with the consequence that various forms of repression or sublimation are deemed so socially productive that they may be inflicted even at considerable cost on certain of the country's citizens. (Don't worry, it's framed more entertainingly than that, I suddenly realize this must sound completely off-putting!)

3. On Sept. 22-23 at Columbia, there will be a very interesting conference on Adam Smith: do think about dropping by if you're in the neighborhood. Here are the full program details.

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