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144 of 150 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Compilation
The republication of these short essays is useful mainly because it is timely. Thomas Sowell has a talent for applying the `unintended consequences/spontaneous order' line of economic reasoning to real economic events. There are several important lessons in these essays. Markets work in ways that are subtle- enough so that people often underestimate the connection...
Published on October 15, 2011 by D. W. MacKenzie

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good sample of Thomas Sowell Writings
3 stars for the range of subjects covered and for some well balanced coverage of ideas using data. Two stars off because as I read more, his arguments became more black and white with selective use of data to prove an idea, exactly what he accuses others of doing and the continual use of the phrase "the annointed" just became annoying.
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Published 4 months ago by Enthusiast


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Must' read for Republicans or Democrats, January 27, 2012
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This is a life's work masterpiece. As the author says himself in the preface his purpose it not to change your mind but to eliminate misunderstandings. Since all facts are friendly, Thomas tries hard to show that there are more than one side to every national issue. His relentless pursuit of empirical evidence to substantiate the continued spending of taxpayer (our) money, is refreshing. The author has gone to great lengths in nearly every subject matter to NOT give you his personal opinion, although it may seem obvious by the preponderance of his evidence. He is skeptical of vague definitions and implores constituents to demand accountability, not only in government but to life in general.

As other reviews have indicated, the book is written in short essays which make it very easy to digest and easy to skip around to topics of interest without loss of continuity. There are so many observations and world lessons in the book that you will want to keep it in reach for future reference.

Whether you love it or hate it, I think that all of the information presented NEEDS to be considered in light of all of the recent world events. If you keep your mind open, you will recommend this book to someone when you are finished. Well done!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clear Voice of Sanity, November 4, 2012
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Larry (Dix Hills, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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Some people are gifted with the ability to look at things and easily understand the fundamental premises invovled. Then there are those who can explain these many times difficult concepts so that others can develop an understanding of the meaning of and implications related to these concepts. Further, there are those that can do all of these things in an entertaning way. I have been impressed with Thomas Sowell for over 30 years, when I first noticed him in Milton Friedmans Free To Choose series back in 1980. This book should be required reading for anyone who cares about or is just interested in freedom and liberty. You may also have some fun as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy anthology of one of America's finest social thinkers, May 7, 2012
This anthology of Professor Sowell's writings underlines the amazing breadth of his work. Although primarily an economist, the essays are also biographical, autobiographical, geographical, historical, medical, political, and there is even one related to sports. This is a brand new essay, written just for this volume, on why home runs were hit with much greater frequency in American pro ball in the 1920's than in the previous two decades.
Economists should be warned in advance that, even broadly defined, economic essays take up less than an eighth part of the book. Particularly to be regretted is the absence of any part of Professor Sowell's recent book "The Housing Boom and Bust", which provided such a magisterial account of how the US got into its worst recession since the 1930's. Also missing from that anthology is that wonderful brief non-economic essay: "I Beg to Differ", a paean to the benefits of argument. I have read it so many times I almost know it by heart. In defence of Professor Sowell, with so much to choose from, the choice of what to include in a single volume must have been extraordinarily difficult.
And many of the essays that did make it in are outstanding. "Marx the Man" and "Booker T. Washington After 100 Years" shows Sowell's talent for writing short biographies, that summarize a whole rich life in a brief space. "The Influence of Geography" shows his gift for generalization and synthesis, even over many civilizations and thousands of years of history.
Unfortunately, like most anthologies, the book suffers from repetition. We are told several times, for example, that Europeans could come to America "because they could steer with rudders, invited [sic] in China, calculate their position on the open seas through trigonometry invented in Egypt, using numbers created in India".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the short-essay format, March 21, 2012
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I enjoy Thomas Sowell's writings and ideas. The short-essay format allows me to pick the book up at any time and enjoy thought-provoking concepts.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thomas Sowell Reader, December 23, 2011
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Ronald D. Edmundson (ROCKPORT, TEXAS, US) - See all my reviews
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Absolutely fantastic! Easy to read and very insiteful. Thomas Sowell has put into words our thoughts and preceptions that have been left unsaid. Every high school student in the United States should be required to read this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the Economics of Inadvertent Consequences, August 21, 2013
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This review is from: The Thomas Sowell Reader (Kindle Edition)
The biggest and most sobering theme is that many noble intents have inadvertent consequences... sometimes directly undermining the original intent. Mr. Sowell writes in simple understandable terms that build upon each other like bricks forming compelling arguments. If more voters read Mr. Sowell's works we would demand more than nice sounding platitudes from our elected representatives... we would judge them by their results, not just their flowery promises. No matter what side of the political spectrum you reside in, testing policies against their consequences is a skill we all need to develop. we need to be more critical of ourselves, as we look in the mirror, if we want to build a truly just society.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER SOWELL BOOK WORTH THE PRICE., March 13, 2012
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F. C. RYAN (BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, NEW YORK) - See all my reviews
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I PURCHASED THIS BOOK, HAVING READ MANY OF DR. SOWELL'S PRIOR BOOKS, AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. I FEEL IT IS MORE THAN WORTH THE PRICE PAID.

FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONSIDERING PURCHASING THIS VOLUME, THE MATERIAL ENCLOSED WITHIN ARE PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ESSAYS, MOST UNDER THREE PAGES EACH. IF YOU READ ONLY TEN PAGES A DAY (PERHAPS ON THE BUS GOING TO/FROM WORK, OR DURING YOUR LUNCH HOUR) YOU COULD READ THE ENTIRE VOLUME IN ABOUT FIVE WEEKS. THE ESSAYS ARE FOR ANYONE EASY TO UNDERSTAND.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting to know him, May 10, 2013
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Andrew (ELM CITY, NC, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Thomas Sowell Reader (Kindle Edition)
If you wish to become acquainted with Thomas Sowell's writing, get this book. You will discover his remarkable ability to concisely and clearly transfer knowledge in a very readable style. If you read this book, be prepared to buy his other works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple ideas that make you think deeply, April 29, 2013
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D. B. Collum (Ithaca, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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Thomas Sowell accumulated a lifetime's worth of writings and compiled them in the Thomas Sowell Reader. For Thomas Sowell fans, this is a treasure trove of brilliant essays on all imaginable topics. He challenges enormous volumes of dogma coming from the intelligencia (a term of scorn used by Sowell repeatedly). This intelligence is always looking to improve somebody's life for them. It is clear that Sowell dismisses the end result of their efforts as disastrous and questions their motives as well. He methodically tears apart the idea of employing the machinery of government (statutes, schools, social programs) to fix people's lives. Those willing to entertain his ideas with an open mind will be challenged, provoked, impressed. Some will find his ideas so apocryphal as to be intolerable. His views are black and white (pun intended). I cannot endorse everything he says--he sees no gray even where it may exist. Nonetheless, I am left in awe by his clarity of thought. I would love to chat with him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight Talk About Important Matters, October 16, 2012
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Frank Sparzo (Indianapolis, IN United States) - See all my reviews
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The Sowell Reader is a compendium of a lifetime of writing about social, economic, political, legal, racial and educational topics. The selections clearly reveal Sowell's analytical skills and his preference for plain and straightforward talk.

Those familiar with Sowell's work will likely find several favorite articles from the past (mine include Scientists Need Not Apply, Affirmative Action Around the World, and Life is Culturally Biased). I was delighted to find a number of selections not seen previously. In Patterns of Failure, for instance, Sowell identifies four stages associated with well-intentioned social programs--such as plans to vanquish poverty, reduce teenage pregnancy or fix the criminal justice system--that end up making matters much worse.

The Thomas Sowell Reader does what it set out to do: It summarizes the work of an important social critic. I believe this selection of articles, and Sowell's work generally, will remain relevant to anyone "trying to understand the social problems that abound in any society."
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The Thomas Sowell Reader
The Thomas Sowell Reader by Thomas Sowell
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