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14 interesting facts about Adam Smith

02 February 23


Born in Kirkcaldy in 1723, Adam Smith was a social thinker and political economist known as 'The Father of Economics' and for laying the foundations of the new-age economic system. This year marks his tercentenary. Here are some interesting facts about Adam Smith:

  1. He didn't know his birithday. Baptised in June 1723, there was no record of his birth.
  2. His father passed away shortly before his birth, and he was raised by his mother.
  3. He was hilariously absent-minded. He once put bread and butter in a teapot, drunk the concoction and declared it to be the worst cup of tea he'd ever had.
  4. He was the first Scotsman to appear on English money.
  5. There is an asteroid named after him.
  6. His personal library consisted of nearly 1,500 books.
  7. Many of Adam Smith’s famous economic catchphrases, like “the invisible hand”, were taken from Shakespeare.
  8. His home, along with others in Kirkcaldy, was among the first in Scotland to have ceramic roofing tile instead of thatch.
  9. Smith trained to be an Anglican priest, but never took vows.
  10. He was briefly kidnapped by travellers as a young boy before being returned.
  11. When he was 14 years old, Smith enrolled at the University of Glasgow, and studied philosophy. He went on to post-graduate study at Oxford University.
  12. Smith is best known for two classic works: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
  13. The Wealth of Nations is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics.
  14. Adam Smith is buried in a public cemetery in Edinburgh. 


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