Under the objetive sounding title of "intellectuals", the author specifically targets those one might label "liberal" or "leftist" and works up his annoying manifesto against them. Not a single example of those who may belong to the other end of the political spectrum, or any positive contributions of the targeted group is mentioned. One wonders whether many of the rights and privileges we enjoy would be available to us if it wasn't for those who shaped the public's opinion, the very group of people the author relentlessly and one-sidedly criticizes.
I felt the book was more interested in driving a political agenda rather than pursuing an objective research, was annoyed and couldn't wait for it to end.
Do not recommend at all.
This book shows the folly of what happens when it's easier to concentrate power than knowledge -- social engineering that backfires.
"Intellectuals" "who romanticize cultures which leave the world in poverty, disease and chaos, trash cultures that lead the world in prosperity, medical advances and law and order." They look the other way when masses flee societies they romanticize. They look away when tough stances against aggression may nip war in the bud and wait until the bombs are falling on them to act. They encourage the poor to blame poverty on the rich, a tragically detrimental view that discourages the self-examination that might lead them to make fundamental changes in their own lives instead.
The group he focuses on are the people whose narrow view is limited to the wrongs they see around them and attribute to some evil in the American system. Yet they ignore the broad perspective of human behavior and cultures in their context. This leads to seriously flawed thinking and social experiments we're better off without.
Well supported and thoughtfully presented.
While Sowell may be making good points, I thought his ideas hypocritical. He blasted academics and intellectuals as overstepping their expertise, but his opinions of historical outcomes obviously were overstepping his expertise as well. Unless he could actually be the "annoited one".
I listened to Intellectuals and Society after Economic Fallacies and was not disappointed. It should be noted that the book is not anti-intellectual. Rather, it argues that membership in the intelligentsia does not render one immune to group think and confirmation bias. Sowell gives historical examples of intellectuals promoting ideology that flies in the face of the facts. His readers are encouraged to be accountable for what they accept as true.
Somewhat boring and very biased. It is very interesting point of view, but the author is pushing his agenda so hard that I cannot trust that he is giving his honest opinion and not trying to indoctrinate me.
I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.
Thomas Sowell is one of America's greatest thinkers and this book is a great achievement. Sowell makes the case that, throughout history, we have been led into disaster again and again by intellectuals who think that they know everything. Sowell makes the point that the smartest person in the world can know only a fraction of what there is to know about everything. Yet intellectuals believe that because of their ability to know one subject and their ability grasp basic concepts in others, combined with their "verbal virtuosity" (their ability to communicate in a glib manner better than those who really are experts about particular subjects), they should be able to tell the rest of us what to do. Sowell proves that, again and again, this approach has led to disaster after disaster. Sowell's observations are particularly apt in the age of the nanny state, when lifetime politicians in Washington -- with very little experience about anything in the real world -- are constantly forcing rules and policies down our throats. Although it is not a central theme for his book, Sowell really makes the case that "the government that governs least governs best." Anyone who would challenge Sowell's observations had better bring their "A game." This should be required reading for anyone who believes government knows best, or who would undertake to impose their views on others. We are living in very scary times, and this book illustrates in great detail why we all should be very afraid.
I wish I could absorb and retain all the great arguments and clear analysis in this book. It captures all of the nonsense you hear on the news, that falls out of the mouths of politicians, activists, and pundits - and explains quickly and clearly why they are wrong. A very entertaining and enlightening read.
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I toughed it through almost two hours of this book before I nearly dropped my listening device from a 27th floor window.
The book begins under the pretense of being vaguely critical of "intellectuals" and their role/position in society. The reality feels more as if this writer had too many times been denied the very status he was criticizing, and felt that in writing a snooze inducing critique of the "elite", he would somehow rise in personal stature and get a second shot at the title.
Every minute of this book felt like it was torn from a low quality thesis written by a self aggrandizing graduate student. I have never so vehemently disliked an audio book before. Nearly two hours in, I decided that silence was more intellectually stimulating than letting this book play for another moment.
There are very few facts here and condradiction after contradiction leaves your mind spinning. The writer uses so many critical points of argument that sometimes only paragraphs later he is doing the exact same thing. Statements like, "Intellectuals never even bother to look into why China and India are successful.." then "Intellectuals make broad statements about catagories of people and what they do."
The first part of this book mislead me into thinking that it would be an actual analysis of the role of intellectualism in contemporary culture. It turns out it is just an apologetic blather for anti-intellectual sentiment of the "populist" politics ilk that give us figures like Palin. The book accuses "intellectuals" in political power of making uninformed assertions, and seems to claim that it is better for anti-intellectuals to rule by making uniformed assertions. One of the few books that I just couldn't take after a few hours.