The bestselling classic that examines the history of economic thought from Adam Smith to Karl Marx. Published in 1953, The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner has sold nearly four million copies, making it the second-best-selling economics text of all time (the first being Paul Samuelson’s Economics, a highly popular university textbook).

In the seventh edition, Robert L. Heilbroner provides a new theme that connects thinkers as diverse as Adam Smith and Karl Marx. The theme is the common focus of their highly varied ideas—namely, the search to understand how a capitalist society works.

In a new concluding chapter entitled “The End of the Worldly Philosophy?” Heilbroner reminds us that the word “end” refers to both the purpose and limits of economics. This chapter conveys a concern that today’s increasingly “scientific” economics may overlook fundamental social and political issues that are central to economics. Thus, unlike its predecessors, this new edition provides not just an indispensable illumination of our past but a call to action for our future.

Book Page at Amazon

Heilbroner’s Obituary in the New York Times