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Knowledge And Decisions
 
by
Thomas Sowell
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Knowledge And Decisions

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  284 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Thomas Sowell describes how knowledge is disseminated throughout modern society, warning that an ever-widening gap between firsthand knowledge and decision making threatens not only our economic and political efficiency but our very freedom.
Kindle Edition, 450 pages
Published (first published November 30th 1979)
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Dan
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
Nicholas
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Ari
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.
Adam
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.
Jim
Jun 08, 2008 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
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...more
Matt
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...more
Andrew
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
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.
Blake
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
Jay
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.
Amy
Thomas Sowell should be required reading for everyone everywhere! So wroth looking into and reading.
Craig J.
Knowledge And Decisions by Thomas Sowell (1996)
Tyler
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...
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“Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.” 44 likes
“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.” 40 likes
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