The Theory of Moral Sentiments, by Adam Smith

The Theory of Moral Sentiments is much more readable than The Wealth of Nations. WoN is a long slog. Read TMS instead.

TMS is less directly about economics. It’s more about how we care about each other. There were several places where I wondered: “How did Smith know this about me?”

I see it as sort of a guide to being nice and how to conduct yourself in society.

Here are my favorite parts:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.

What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience?

The man who barely abstains from violating either the person, or the estate, or the reputation of his neighbors, has surely very little positive merit. He fulfills, however, all the rules of what is peculiarly called justice, and des everything which his equals can with propriety force him to do, or which they can punish him for not doing. We may often fulfill all the rules of justice by sitting still and doing nothing.

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