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Discrimination and Disparities

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  556 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews

An empirical examination of how economic and other disparities arise
Economic and other outcomes differ vastly among individuals, groups, and nations. Many explanations have been offered for the differences. Some believe that those with less fortunate outcomes are victims of genetics. Others believe that those who are less fortunate are victims of the more fortunate.

Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Basic Books
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Douglas Wilson
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culture-studies
Sowell is just magnificent. A combination of horse sense, clear writing, and a passionate commitment to the truth.
Gary Moreau
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout his long and distinguished career Thomas Sowell has been a consistent stickler for truth. In this book he takes empirical aim at the truth about outcomes. In short, social scholars and economists inevitably over-simplify cause and effect and fail to accept that “grossly unequal distributions of outcomes are common, both in nature and among people, in circumstances where neither genes nor discrimination are involved.”

The book is short, to the point, and very clearly written. You don’t
Gordon E. Castanza
Empirical evidence debunks emotional assertions

Sowell has done it again! His scholarship and insistence on hard-evidence debunks the mythology of the Progressives and Postmodernists. Unfortunately those who would gain the most from this book will never read it.
Laila Kanon
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading this book would more or less help you decipher when the so-called experts and/or politicians argue their case with stats to back their claims particularly on the issues of discrimination, disparities and few others that fit under the umbrella of social justice. While it may sounds plausible at a glance, but is it really? Indeed, we value facts and figures, unfortunately for the shrewd even facts and figures could be easily manipulated out of context by pretty words and numbers to suit ce ...more
Ian Hammond
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Sowell challenges the basic assumption that equal outcomes between groups would be the norm in society in the absence of discrimination. He illustrates the way figures propagate errors by omitting certain variables or committing certain fallacies so as to support a particular vision of society. The big takeaway for me was that public intellectuals are reductionistic, either intentionally or unintentionally, in their advocacy for causes. The result of this is that a distorted view of reali ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another masterpiece from Sowell. This one is quite short and focused and in some ways it represents a summary of much of the work he has already done in the past.

What's striking is how TAME his claims are. Ultimately it all feels so obvious. It's truly mind-boggling how astray so many thinkers have gone in this area. One of the best things about Sowell's writing and this book in particular, is his clarity. This book does an excellent job of approaching the phenomenon of disparities thoroughly an
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Thomas Sowell is another author that should be mandatory reading in high school. If more people read Sowell they wouldn’t be so easily swayed by statistics quoted by the media. For instance, when you hear that the incomes of people in the bottom 20% have only risen by X over the past 15 years, this is meant to make you believe that the same group of people has been languishing in poverty over this period of time. But the 20% is just a statistical category which includes many different people ove ...more
Thomas Achord
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Clear, refreshing, factual reasoning. Sowell’s perspicacious grasp of group Disparities all over the world is a corrective to many skewed, short-sighted beliefs in our society.
Ronald J.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Thomas Sowell offers clarity along with empirical evidence that there is more to so-called "discrimination and disparities" than meets the eye. Are there differences in outcomes due to genetics or because people are treated as victims by others? As Sowell writes: "We should not expect success to be evenly or randomly distributed among individuals, groups, institutions or nations in endeavors with multiple prerequisites--which is to say, most meaningful endeavors." Family background, cu ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At 87 years old, Sowell is a national treasure. He hit this one out of the park.

This is a dispassionate and carefully analytical look at discrimination and disparities in society.

Carefully researched and brilliantly logical, he highlights why much of today's conventional wisdom is simply wrong.

One of the more fascinating aspects of his analysis is that early on in this book, he analyzes and defines discrimination. "So what," you might say. "That's pretty basic and of course everyone understan
Greg Mathis
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Compelling. Enlightened. Powerful.
Read this book.
Kent Winward
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't always completely agree with Sowell, but he raises important issues that need to be addressed. Data gets cherry picked by both the left and the right, but with someone like Sowell, I at least feel like we want the same things, even if we aren't exactly agreeing on how to get there. He agrees that we need to be result oriented and therein lies the rub, there are simply too many variables to know what is responsible for changes in the smokey mirror of economics.

One glaring omission in Sow
Jacob O'connor
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sowell is always provocative and clear, so I was looking forward to Discrimination and Disparities. He doesn't disappoint. Bottom line: There's more to the story than you'd know from the nightly news or from your favorite politician's stump speech. Of course there is. If NPR gave you the whole story, you wouldn't be outraged, and you'd stop tuning in.


(1) Proof of the folly of racial discrimination: When Hitler expelled Jews from Germany, they were winning the race for nuclear arms. It wa
Martin Lowery
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thomas Sowells newest book was fascinating as it undertook an analysis of ways people are discriminated against and how it relates to wider societal forces or to our own human nature.

There wasnt any new ideas in this book, as he approaches new topics using old examples.

Another issue I took away from reading this book was how at the end Sowell prescribes policy recommendations by tearing down existing government programs without replacing them with practical policies that could be implemented i
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is amazing to see Thomas Sowell still writing books at 87, an age when most will have long since retired. Much of this will be familiar to those who have read Sowell’s other works. He offers a fact based explanation for differences in disparities that is at odds with the prevailing social vision.
Alex Torres
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
He's Thomas Sowell, what do you think I think? Brilliant, insightful, thoroughly researched, easy to read, etc, etc, insert all the necessary and justified laudatory superlatives. Another must-read by Dr. Sowell
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So far, really novel perspectives, rooted in facts and economic reasoning.
Bruce Mcgregor
Interesting book, the author is a black professor and he shows that not all disparities in life are caused by injustice. Life does not portion out all things equally. He shows that firstborn children are statistically the most successful just by being firstborn. There are many factors to success. We can’t blame others for our setbacks.
Mark McCormick
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece...
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really very good. Sowell carefully unravels how discrimination, its types and forms, works, and how those who want to engineer society often achieve the opposite outcomes to those they intended.
Raj Agrawal
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Incredible, thought-provoking book challenging the notions of American discrimination and disparities. From an economic lens, which ought to be the first lens used for analysis and potential causation determination, this book provides enough cognitive dissonance for any reader from any political leaning. Still, conservative bias does present itself, especially in the conclusions — Sowell shifts from economist to philosopher, which weakens both the impact and utility of his findings. He also make ...more
Guy Mendt
May 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
A rehash of the tired and weak arguments from Thomas Sowell that basically say let the market solve the problems of poverty and racism, and if that doesn't work, then blacks just need to act more like white people to fit in economically. The author cherry picks examples that back his premise but offers very little in terms of research and real evidence. You can get the same viewpoint by watching Fox News.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important thoughts

Sowell always does a good job showing that vision doesn’t equal outcome. Just because people want something to be true doesn’t make it so. He points out how people misuse statistics and , unfortunately, how people maintain incorrect positions in the face of conflicting evidence. Sadly, we have swapped opinions for analysis. Keep writing Tom, we need you.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bibliocase
The multi-faceted Thomas Sowell ups the decibel level of informed debates, thought provoking discussions and essential deliberations in his new offering “Discriminations and Disparities” (“the book”). Painstakingly arguing that the “great disparities in outcomes found in economic and other endeavours need not be due to either comparable disparities in innate capabilities or comparable disparities in a way people, are treated by other people”, Sowell - a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution an ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, politics
Note: This book is 126 pages long with a very long list of references, so there is that; however, the material is dense enough that it could take a few sittings to get through it.

Tom Sowell has written over 40 books in over 4 decades, and with Discrimination and Disparities, he is hard-hitting yet again. At 87 years old, Sowell is surprisingly still at it, and most of his fans can't get enough. I read this book while highlighting his most effectively stark, witty quotes, so that I can revisit th
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite authors, so when I learned that, Discrimination and Disparities, his new book is coming out I didn't hesitate for long before grabbing it.
It does not disappoint.

In mind mind, the most important introduction of the book is the author's classification of discrimination. Sowell distinguishes between two types of discrimination - Type I is, to paraphrase, discrimination stemming from having a discriminating taste: we prefer wine to beer, or good meet from cheap o
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I would recommend reading this book alongside a social justice book like "The New Jim Crow" or "Race Matters". I think the authors would wildly disagree and get into a hot debate, but reading books from both sides of the issue gives a more complete look at how the world works.

D&D focuses on demonstrating that most disparities between groups has little to do with power structures, as most social justice types would suggest. It gives many examples crossing broad time scales and various ways of
Nico Alba
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We live in a time where appearances matter most. If an idea *sounds* good, run with it and tell everyone about it. Reality, costs, actual results, and empirical evidence are an afterthought, if a thought at all. Ideology comes first. Thomas Sowell is the antidote to this shallow line of thinking.

The cover of his latest book represents his style well: clear and straight to the point, no bombastic rhetoric, no verbosity disguised as substance. He takes an idea or policy, analyzes the underlying as
Leonard Hong
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most damning books I have read this year. Dr Sowell's analysis goes through the various political and historical context of discrimination and disparities between groups and civilisations.

Discrimination 1a is discriminating people based on the individual character, discrimination 1b is using group based empirical evidence to judge a person's character, e.g. Jews disproportionately getting Nobel Peace prizes and high positions in the world means, the Jewish interviewee for a job will
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fairly quick listen through Audible, and the narrator did the best to make dry statistics and various economic problems interesting.

In brief, Sowell rejects the "invincible fallacy" that if it were not for discrimination (i.e. against racial, gender, or ethnic groups) all individuals could potentially have equal economic outcomes in a free market society. He cites a wealth of empirical evidence that people with similar backgrounds and even those who grew up in the same household (such as twins)
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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