Thursday, November 6, 2014

How to Write a Letter to Attach to a Job Application (Advice via Adam Smith)

Russell Roberts is out with a fascinating new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness.

The book is a deconstruction and discussion of Adam Smith's other book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Roberts does the heavy lifting in his book. He read Moral Sentiments in its original old-English style and has thought through the book, and his book is a well written, modern English, fun read on all things moral, philosophical and ethical from Smith's perspective.

In many ways, Moral Sentiments may be a much more important book than Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. For a critical analysis of Smith's role in the development of economics, see Murray Rothbard's The Adam Smith Myth.

In his critique, Rothbard in passing states that The Wealth of Nation's  was a "grave deterioration" from Moral Sentiments.

That said, I am still working my way through Roberts' book and will have a full review later. But I do want to point out this paragraph in the book, now, which might be of value to anyone sending out job applications:
So many students show me letters that accompany their job applications that speak only of how much they've dreamed of working for company XYZ and how much working for XYZ will mean to them. They seem to think that their desire to  work for XYZ is sufficient to make XYZ desire them in turn. I always encourage the students to address their employer's self-love and not just their humanity--- to come up with some reason XYZ will benefit from hiring them. How would your skills serve the goals of XYZ? Do you have any idea what these goals are? The idea that other people care about themselves is generally a good thing to remember if you want them to do something for you in return.

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