Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?

A Story About Women and Economics

Katrine Marçal

Published: 7 January 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781846275661

Other Editions

Trade Paperback

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Published: 5 March 2015
Trade Paperback, Demy PB
135x216mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781846275647

Ebook Available


Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics, believed that our actions stem from self-interest and the world turns because of financial gain. But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest but out of love.Today, economics focuses on self-interest and excludes our other motivations. It disregards the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking and its influence has spread from the market to how we shop, think and date. In this engaging takedown of the economics that has failed us, Katrine Marçal journeys from Adam Smith's dinner table to the recent financial crisis and shows us how different, how much better, things could be.

About the author

Image of Katrine Marçal

Katrine Marçal is a correspondent for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. On publication in Sweden, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner was shortlisted for The August Prize and won the Lagercrantzen Award. She lives in Hertfordshire. More about the author


‘[A] spirited and witty manifesto... In commanding rhetoric punctuated with spiky wit... Marçal does not seek to yoke every last aspect of our lives to the tyranny of Homo economicus. Rather, she asks why we have fetishised the myth, and suggests that man denuded of his humanity is not such a figure to aspire to after all’ Caroline Criado-Perez



‘[A] wise critique of current economics’ Lesley McDowell

‘A welcome addition to a canon dominated by men. With feminist incisiveness [Marçal] looks at the mess we're in. Witty and perceptive’ Vanessa Baird

‘Economics through a wholly different prism - challenging and illuminating’ Will Hutton, author

‘Incisive and witty, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? seeks to restore a sense of humanity, empathy and care to our picture of economic and gender relations. Katrine Marçal's book is instructive, angry and funny: economic man has met his match’ Nina Power, author

‘Polemical and entertaining’

‘Required reading for everyone on the left... buy it as a pledge to change the world’ Caroline Criado-Perez, author

‘Smart, funny and readable’ Margaret Atwood

‘The book skewers "economic man" [...] with admirable wit and lightness of touch’ Nick Spencer

‘Thought provoking’ Jessica Abrahams

‘Who cooked Adam Smith's dinner? His mother, of course. From this compelling insight, Katrine Marçal builds her critique of economic man, exposing him for the sham he really is. Erudite, furious, and eminently readable, this book will send a great many economists running for cover’ Philip Roscoe, author

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