Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Thomas Sowell Reader” as Want to Read:
The Thomas Sowell Reader
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Thomas Sowell Reader

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  471 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
These selections from the many writings of Thomas Sowell over a period of a half century cover social, economic, cultural, legal, educational, and political issues. The sources range from Dr. Sowell's letters, books, newspaper columns, and articles in both scholarly journals and popular magazines. The topics range from late-talking children to “tax cuts for the rich,” base ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Basic Books (first published October 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Thomas Sowell Reader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Thomas Sowell Reader

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Fred Forbes
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was surprised at the end of this weighty tome to find that I agree with most of what he said. Why? As an independent I tend to be a centrist in political matters and his reputation had been presented to me as a pretty hard core conservative which usually brings to mind a level of shrillness and inaccuracy that leaves me pretty cold. I tend toward being a liberal in social matters and a conservative in the fiscal arena so I was surprised that many of the social topics he discusses can be handle ...more
Kevin Farrell
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you have not read Thomas Sowell, this may be the place to start. He writes about many things, in general, but I will try to boil it down to a few descriptive words. Sowell is an economist. He is an intellectual. He is African American. He writes with precision and some warmth about economics, politics, racism, and the US government. His writing tends to be in the essay style which can take some effort for me to delve into.

He will surprise you. He firmly believes that ideas can be tested and m
Jonathan Maas
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To quote Thomas Sowell:

My hope is that this large selection of my writings will reduce the likelihood that readers will misunderstand what I have said on many controversial issues over the years. Whether the readers will agree with all my conclusions is another question entirely. But disagreements can be productive, while misunderstandings seldom are.

Well, this frames his conservative-intellectual ideology in a great light.

Here's an idea, here's my reasoning - now it's up to you to come to your
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
words as the money of fools, rent control, 4xabuse and poverty when no marriage, foreigners not entitled, retrain responsibility, little authority to ?, pitcher Ruth fences, unions for unions, economy is trade offs vs singular govt unions and price controls and govt medical care, scarce resources with alternative uses, crime drops 89% with guns in home, bias in science welcomed, ideas have to work or not-ed govt, late term condemned by ama, geography, ed breakdowns, demonized producers subsidize ...more
Andrea Olson
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent first exposure to Thomas Sowell, covering a large variety of subjects, many of them political in nature. He has a plethora of other books worth reading that go more in depth on topics such as economics or race politics.
While it might not sit well with people who staunchly support the current political 'left', try something outside your comfort zone. People who don't identify with the 'left', unlike like many 'conservative' or 'right wing' hosts of today which dissolve into shouting
Петър Стойков
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Един от любимите ми икономисти и политически автори, вече на преклонна възраст (над 80, но се държи) публикува поредната си книга, този път със събрани есета.

Томас Соуел е просто невероятен - написал е десетки книги и няма нито една слаба между тях, а от вижданията му за икономиката, политиката и обществото блика толкова здравомислие и начетеност че изпитвам физическо удоволствие като го чета.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent read! The book should have been titled "Common Sence." The book would have been worth reading for just the last chapter, Random Thoughts. This book was a collection of segments from a varitey of Sowell books. I hav eread several of his other publications and the book just made me want more.
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book to start with for people wanting to gain an insight or introduction in Thomas Sowell and his works. For those who have read some of his other books, there is some overlap (as is normally the case) however overall there is enough material that I hadn't seen to warrant the purchase and the score.

Some of the insights and knowledge Thomas Sowell has on a range of issues are truly refreshing and goes some lengths to get you to think anew about issues perhaps you thought resolved in your o
Ian Ferguson
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thomas Sowell’s collection of short columns and medium length essays spans a variety of social and political topics, but stretches to include even geography and the history of baseball. As an economist, Sowell lends an economic perspective to these issues by discussing how behavior is incentivized and the second and third order effects of actions that often go overlooked in more typical analysis. The result is a refreshingly concise and common-sense approach that simplifies otherwise obscured su ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, politics
This isn't my normal type of book. I don't normally enjoy things that are highly political, but I do like things that make me think. And make me think, Sowell did.

I thought I'd be getting more into economics, but it turns out that Sowell has a mind for a wide variety of things from a unique standpoint. Sowell was born in the "old south" and in poverty. He gives a small account of what it was like growing up with a loving family, poverty, and narrowly escaping things that would poison his mind a
Dan Perik
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Sowell has a way of addressing important and controversial areas in a simple, logical, and succinct way. This was a very interesting read on a wide variety of topics. Some chapters were short and some were long, and you can jump around easily. So this is a good book to have on hand when you only have a few minutes, or if you have a whole evening available. Highly recommended.
Adam Spivey
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've always enjoyed Thomas Sowell, he's a very sharp guy.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Clear writing and clearer thinking is on display in this collection of Thomas Sowell's work. "Grasshopper and Ant" and "Marx the Man" are particularly memorable.
Martin V
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very interesting read. I don't always agree with Sowell but his arguments are always well researched and cogent.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politics
I started this book just after the Soul of Black Folks and I must say I had already approached it earlier and got quite a good impression of it. It confronted my ideas, expressed some things I think without saying them and, overall, is a really easy read. Sadly, once you get past the first articles, of which this book is entirely composed and which are all very short, something like 4 or 5 pages each, you realize that its not so much an easy read because the author has a special talent with word ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Recommend for the newest reader to Thomas Sowell, covers his work on Economics, Race and the Political Scene. A little to much emphasis on Intellectuals and Society, but could see why considering it is a recent book that covered a lot of the same ground as his previous works. The only excerpt that didn't work for me was the section on Geography and Racial behavior.
For my money Thoms Sowell is one of the most important thinkers certainly on the Conservative side of the aisle and although he woul
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you need a bathroom reader that’s well above the average, this would make a great choice—most of these essays are two pages long. Each section leads off with newspaper essays; then ends with some longer essays for more depth on the topic. The longer pieces are either written for this book, or are excerpted from earlier books by the author.

These essays provide short, packed introductions to Sowell’s approach to economics, and his research into other social problems facing the United States and
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good read. A lot of short pieces on social issues politics, economics, race, education, along with personal reflections, as well as a couple of humor pieces. Sowell is extremely blunt but not inflammatory. A free market economist, he's intent at identifying incentives and looking at physical factors. His piece on the effect of geography on regional economies is fascinating, reminiscent of Jared Diamond. In this collection, I prefer the longer pieces to the shorter magazine articles. His personal ...more
Rob Squires
I wish I could give this book six stars! I thoroughly appreciated every chapter of this engaging book which covered a wide diversity of topics--from economics to racism and from education to geography. With the last few chapters fresh in my mind, I'll mention that I found Dr. Sowell's treatment of world geography to be quite informative and fascinating. Likewise, his brief autobiographical sketch was a great way to wrap up the collection of essays since it provided an inside look at the author h ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ordered the book because I have enjoyed Sowell's editorials. He is an economist at a time when we wonder where the economy is going. He's African American and against affirmative action. He is a professor schools should educate not entertain. He refuses to become a politician but quips in the last chapter: One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those that complain.
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
There are quiet a few good essays on here that have well supported arguments. The essay on Marx's personal history was interesting.

What stops me from really loving this book are the stereotypical right wing defenses of Ronald Reagan, the actions of police officers and parental authority. Also calling out the "Left" and "Liberals" specifically while never looking at what the Right does (in this book at least) is rather annoying.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anything and everything written by Dr. Sowell is worth reading. Dr. Sowell is insighful, thought provocing, and just a great read. Every US Citizen should be reading everything written by Dr. Sowell.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
An engaging collection of writings and articles by one of my favorite modern supporters of the ideas of classical liberalism and human freedom. A good introduction to one of the sharpest minds of our times, in my opinion.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Sowell is one of the smartest and clearest thinking man in America today. I would vote for this man for president in a heartbeat. Fascinating series of essays on a wide range of subjects. I recommend ANY book this man has written.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable. Few writers can deliver lessons so fundamental that the mind can be altered to a different state just by reading their prose. Sowell is a perfect example of the seriousness of people with a well developed sense of humor.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
America's pre-eminent economist. Everything by him makes total sense.
Thomas Holthaus
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great conservative ideas and theory. Well worth the read
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book and this man are national treasures.
This collection of short essays is very enjoyable. Reading this volume is the next best thing to meeting Thomas Sowell & meeting for coffee and conversation over a year's time. :-)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed
  • The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas
  • The Undocumented Mark Steyn
  • Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism
  • Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government
  • Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation
  • Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers
  • Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America
  • The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
  • Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
  • Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History
  • Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism
  • Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
  • The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
  • On Democracy & Education (Social Theory, Education & Cultural Change)
  • Rand's Atlas Shrugged
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

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A. Lincoln
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99
“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” 84 likes
“Age gives you an excuse for not being very good at things that you were not very good at when you were young.” 13 likes
More quotes…