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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)
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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
...more
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
...more
Don
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
...more
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.
Danmcgohan
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.
Ryan
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
...more
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
Grace
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
...more
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.
Reginald
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”
Geoff
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.
Marc-André
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
Anthony
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
...more
Jerry
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
...more
Jim
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
Sandy
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.
Paul
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.
Mike
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.
Del
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.
Greg
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.
Lucas
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.
Tom
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
HerbieGrandma
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book and this man are national treasures.
Naftoli
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. :-)
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1,258 followers
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
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“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
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