The new face of the£20 note, Adam Smith was long ago adopted as the father of a neo-conservative economic ideology, not least by Thatcher and Reagan. More recently New Labour has tried to kidnap him as an ancestor. In a vigorous and informal book James Buchan shows that Smith fits no modern political category. As befits the most accessible of all philosophers, this biography does entirely without jargon.
James Buchan is a leading novelist and historian. His philosophy of money, Frozen Desire (1997) won the Duff Cooper Award. His most recent work is a study of the circle of Adam Smith and David Hume in Enlightenment Edinburgh, Capital of the Mind (2003). He lives in Norwich.
'James Buchan's new book is an admirable and refreshing account of Adam Smith, his ideas and life', Eamonn Butler, Adam Smith Institute
'concise, elegant and sympathetic biographical sketch...Buchan achieves his stated objective of illuminating Smith's thesis while employing"no jargon, philosophical or economical"...he has done Smith a service in absolving him of paternity for so much modern claptrap', The Spectator
'a finely written and thankfully short biography of the great Scottish economic theorist...Buchan is right to try to restore the philosophical Smith to the prominence he deserves', Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg
'a short book, but it punches well above its weight: the perfect celebration of a man who did so much to alter modern economic thinking', Daily Telegraph
'Anyone interested in Smith could not fail to leave this biography without a new appreciation of the man... a superb little book', Glasgow Herald
'a succinct, elegant book, written in an easy, conversational tone which never makes its big ideas or profound implications seem intimidating', Sunday Telegraph
'A crisp and enjoyable biography of Smith ...... a carefully drawn affectionate portrait ... the book displays a mastery of the little details', Financial Times Magazine
'A succinct and perceptive portrait of a man whose legacy is much referred to but little understood.', Guardian
'James Buchan's new biography of Smith is particularly welcome...his writing is clear and jargon-free', Fund Strategy
'Buchan has produced a short, elegant biography', Money Week
'James Buchan's elegant prose sparkles on the page', New Statesman