35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2000
The trouble with this book is that it makes you rethink your whole reason for being! It is an insightful review of how professions have incapacitated the people and issues they set out to help. It focused on medicine, law and the helping professions but is relevant to all of us. It makes you think - am I creating a reason for being? should I be really working myself out of a job? Empowering for those who feel they MUST employ a professional for all things - think again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2013
Illich is incisive as usual in his (and his colleagues') critiques of the medical, law, and social service professions. Many have easily made the claim that the slippery slope argument was a logical fallacy, while we have seen the truth of what Illich et al discuss in this book; medicine claims a monopoly on health by employing only its knowledge of disease - something unknown to the public. Behind the esoterica and latinized words of the legal profession, the prospect of justice comes at an exorbitant price. They also assert that the social work profession ruins the concept of the family by working as agents of the State and employing State-sponsored paternalism in order to do so. These professions have gotten out of hand and it will take each of us to get them back in check and taking responsibility for our own lives.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2011
Ivan, who majored in molecular biology was very prescient back in the day. He, as was common then, is a bit intellectual. The teacher who coined the phrase "Dumbing down our schools" and quit when he was teacher of the year is merely recapitulating Ivan Illich.
Medical Nemesis, Disabling Professions, and Deschooling Society are useful adjuncts to this author. I like the discipline in his style. And English was not his first or only language. He was a man for all seasons.
Ivan Illich, a former priest, saw serious problems. It was the 1960's! His books, tame now, were radical. One spoke of doctors ( 1/6 of the economy) in reverant tones. The author mentioned the diagnostic imperialism overtaking this country. I'm a pharmacist. He was right on- but I did not know this in the 1970's. Ivan Illich did not have answers. He felt, like many, that an internet would solve some educational problems. Too idealistic. The internet. We have too much information and too little knowledge. America's industrial base- gone. Every time you hear the electronic beep- it means the only jobs we have are merchandising and distributing Chinese products. Many of our great citizens were auto didactics.