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Knowledge And Decisions

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  19 reviews
With a new preface by the author, this reissue of Thomas Sowell’s classic study of decision making updates his seminal work in the context of The Vision of the Annointed, Sowell, one of America’s most celebrated public intellectuals, describes in concrete detail how knowledge is shared and disseminated throughout modern society. He warns that society suffers from an ever-w ...more
Paperback, First BasicBooks Edition, 422 pages
Published October 4th 1996 by Basic Books (first published November 30th 1979)
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If you can only read one book on knowledge and how it affects human decision-making, I would highly recommend Knowledge and Decisions. It is an updated expansion of Friedrich Hayek's famous paper "On the Use of Knowledge in Society", most of the extra material being relevant examples in the fields of economics, history, law, and politics. There is a wealth of facts and data here, and conclusions drawn from those facts will be a challenge to accepted ideologies on the left and the right. This boo ...more
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Sep 02, 2008 Ari rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
Knowledge and Decision is a bit hard to categorize. It's about decision making, asymmetric information, incentives, and public policy. It's also, sneakily, an introduction to economics and economic thinking. It's the sort of book that makes economics look like a fun and interesting topic, as well as a disciplined science.

Sowell isn't an ideologue, and he backs his claims with data, and with wonderfully chosen examples. It's a fun read, as well as a highly illuminating one.
Ignacio De leon
La primera parte de este libro desarrolla una interpretación del conocimiento en la formulación de políticas públicas, distinta del enfoque convencional económico basado en la idea de asimetrías de información. La segunda parte aplica el concepto a distintas áreas de política pública evidencianfo limitaciones de los burócratas para entender la complejidad del contexto que regulan o pretenden intervenir. El autor se basa en el ensayo de F.A.Hayek "Economics and Knowledge" de 1936. Es un libro exh ...more
Don Weidinger
inadequate, skewed by what hope for vs what do, not what decision but who makes decision, authenticate first, less checks with more supposed intellect, lower expectations to reach consensus, economics and value of alternative uses, black unemployment lowest in 49 unions most adverse effect, regulation wonders recreate sensible economics, British subsidies of GA ended 1751 did not work, Fed agencies do 10 times more regulations that lawmakers, if you don’t want government on your back take your h ...more
One of the greatest works on decision-making theory ever written. Combines a thoroughness of research with a clarity of writing style. Thomas Sowell is one of the great minds of our time.
Jun 08, 2008 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone, but it's not an easy read.
Not an easy book to read but well worth it. Sowell has the unique ability to make highly abstract concepts both interesting and practical.
Ben Pratt
Sowell is a first rate thinker. Knowledge and Decisions goes hand in hand with A Conflict of Vision, his masterpiece, in my opinion. His other excellent - and most approachable - book is Basic Economics. The world would be a better place if more people would read and absorb the basic truths in it, if only to see more clearly the common economic fallacies that are perpetuated in the media daily and not be taken in by them.

In a nutshell? Problems in economic policy stem from a misconception: that
Michael Connolly
As with most of Sowell's writing, including his newspaper columns, this book exhibits Sowell's ability to examine an issue from a novel angle, to see aspects of the issue that others have missed.
Sowell makes the point that knowledge has a cost. Sowell talks about the relationship between economics and knowledge. The kinds of knowledge that are relevant are supply and demand. That is, what people can produce and how much labor is required to produce it, and what people want, and how much they ar
Required for all who claim to be free thinkers!

This is truly the single secular book I wish was required study as part of high school education and voter's privileges. Thomas Sowell is an intellectual giant, and this is his magnum opus.

In this book he turns his keen intellect to an analysis of the economics of knowledge in society. The often unseen and subconscious acquisition, evaluation and flow of knowledge is integral to the efficient operation of our individual daily lives and to the gener
Good book on the economic and organizational use of knowledge and decision-making. I recall his discussion of the 'cost' of knowledge very insightful. A CEO of a fast food chain would have a high cost to obtain knowledge of the day to day customers of a single restaurant, yet have ease of access to aggregate data on the sales for the chain or individual restaurants as a whole. Compare this to the manager or even till-operator who sees the customers each day - the cost of knowledge for him is the ...more
The focus of this book is on the nature and dynamics of decisioning in complexity. Its very accessible to readers new to the subject of information economics and decisioning but also provides common sense examples and reasoning for more advanced readers that merit further exposition. Topics covered include treating knowledge as a resource with associated acquisition costs as an assumption when analyzing existing systems, the paradigm of trade-offs versus absolute solutions when considering quest ...more
Mike Kirsch
Thomas Sowell has great insights into how people, companies and governments operate and how incentives, the cost of knowledge affect how decisions are made.
Most books inform or entertain. This book goes farther and expands the mind. Mr. Sowell does a great job of exploring the foundations of decision making as an individual, nation, bureaucracy or as an academic. He explores who has what knowledge in an economy and how that knowledge is exercised. He explains why bureaucracies do the things they do, why governments do the things they do, why individuals do the things they do and why intellectuals do the things they do. All in all this book sets a g ...more
This is an amazing book about knowledge, which is scarce, diffused, and has a cost. The breadth of considerations Sowell tackles is almost mind boggling.

This may be Sowell's best work, or it's at least on par with his other two favorites of mine, Basic Economics and A Conflict of Visions.

I really can't recommend this book enough, the only draw back is that it's dense and perhaps a pretty difficult read.
George Slade
This book is pretty heavy, but if you can handle it it's immensely interesting. I recommend it to anyone that is interested in broadening their outlook on concepts and themes that are still just as relevant today as they were in 1980, when Sowell wrote this book.
Thomas Sowell should be required reading for everyone everywhere! So wroth looking into and reading.
Craig J.
Knowledge And Decisions by Thomas Sowell (1996)
helped me come to peace with how people can logically choose to remain ignorant and make decisions that will ultimately hurt them
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Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholars ...more
More about Thomas Sowell...
Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy Economic Facts and Fallacies The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy Black Rednecks & White Liberals Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One

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