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Economic Facts and Fallacies | [Thomas Sowell]

Economic Facts and Fallacies

Economic Facts and Fallacies is designed for people who want to understand economic issues without getting bogged down in economic jargon, graphs, or political rhetoric. Writing in a lively manner that does not require any prior knowledge of economics, Thomas Sowell exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues, including many that are widely disseminated in the media and by politicians.
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Publisher's Summary

Economic Facts and Fallacies is designed for people who want to understand economic issues without getting bogged down in economic jargon, graphs, or political rhetoric. Writing in a lively manner that does not require any prior knowledge of economics, Thomas Sowell exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues, including many that are widely disseminated in the media and by politicians: fallacies about urban problems, income differences, male-female economic differences, academia, race, and Third World countries.

While all of these fallacies have a certain plausibility that gives them their staying power, this makes it even more important to carefully examine their flaws. Sowell holds these beliefs under the microscope and draws conclusions that are sure to inspire rigorous debate.

©2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Sowell is fearless and invariably so far ahead of the curve in discussing economics or politics or pretty much anything that the rest of us are left with eating his intellectual dust. I can't think of a higher compliment that that." (Fred Barnes, Executive Editor, Weekly Standard)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (301 )
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4.2 (95 )
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4.2 (91 )
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  •  
    rob 08-17-10
    rob 08-17-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    109
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    "Brilliant"

    Economics explained in such an easy to understand narrative. This should be required reading in every high school.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Duane Louisville, KY, USA 07-02-09
    Duane Louisville, KY, USA 07-02-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everything everyone needs to know about economics"

    This book will force you to think through the economic dogma you have been fed all your life. Much of what you thought you knew, you will realize, was indeed fallacious.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-08-08
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-08-08 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good with salt..."

    Although another reviewer points out, correctly, that the author's biases come across from start to finish, nevertheless this volume was quite interesting and informative, and well worth the time. Responsible, educated Americans are exposed to a constant barrage of statistics from all points of the political compass. This book is one attempt at encouraging a questioning of the underpinnings of any statistical factoids. For example, everyone has heard the statistic that women make only 75 cents for every dollar men make. I think most reasonable people suspect sexual prejudice is part of this difference, but also suspect there may be more to it than just prejudice. Sowell points out weaknesses of this factoid - including an analysis of subgroups of women and men that are most similar (adult, never married, no children) - in this subgroup women make substantially more than men. Although I do not agree with many of the author's political beliefs - I think anyone who wants to understand the danger of statistical factoids should take a listen (but keep a good supply of grains of salt handy).

    47 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Asheville, NC, United States 09-10-10
    Donald Asheville, NC, United States 09-10-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Not for closed minds"

    If you have an open mind, then this book is for you. It will confirm many of your beliefs and possibility challenge some others. But be forewarned, this book covers such as wide variety of topics that there is a good chance that you will find yourself on the wrong side of at least one good argument. What matters most is that you grow from the experience.

    The book covers a number of topics. These include rush hour traffic, real estate prices in California, CEO pay, college personnel pay, pay by gender, crime in cities, urban slums, slavery outside North America, foreign aid, third world countries, and discrimination. Usually a chapter is devoted to a topic. Each topic contains many questions. Supporting information comes from history, census data, and other economic sources. For example, the lives of the Indians changed when the European settlers brought horses to North America.

    Since 2008, many economic facts still ring true. In August, 2010, Beijing has a ten day traffic jam. California real estate prices are still high. CEOs still get paid a lot. The earthquake in Haiti reveals a poor government. Nigeria does not protect its oil industry. The nationalization of the oil and gas industry does not make a country rich.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David cincinnati, OH, United States 07-07-08
    David cincinnati, OH, United States 07-07-08 Member Since 2005

    I'm a manager of a lawncare crew that listens to audio books when feasible. I have 2 years of business and 3 towards a history degree.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best analysis I've read of Economic issues"

    This book debunks a lot of "studies" that find discrimination by linking it all to various statistical slights of hand. Professor Sowell goes indepth with his explanations of various cultural arguments. Warning, may persaude more liberal readers that their die-hard beliefs are wrong through the application of variables such as education and working hours to disprove many racial and sexist arguments made about our current times.

    24 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Troy, MI, USA 12-05-09
    John Troy, MI, USA 12-05-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Great Book by Great Thinker"

    The theme could be that it is not the things you don't know that create most problems, but the things you think you know but are false that create the real problems.

    Dr. Sowell explains the common fallacies that undermine our thinking.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trenton Tampa, FL, United States 05-24-14
    Trenton Tampa, FL, United States 05-24-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A must listen"

    Concise, objective, eye opening, well though out. A MUST LISTEN. Mr. Sowell brings you to a better understanding of how we have arrived at a lot of erroneous conclusions in this country and different policies that are ineffective and make no sense. Sound boring? It isn't. Very well narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald E Scott terre haute, in United States 01-23-14
    Donald E Scott terre haute, in United States 01-23-14 Listener Since 2009
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    "Skewering The Economic Propaganda with Facts"

    Just about every facet of economic "fairness" is examined in an empirical and reasoned way and exposed for the actual failures they are in the real world. From rent control to executive salaries, these and other topics are examined by one the most brilliant economic minds living today. One of the most important books ever written for the common man on economics related in an approachable and understandable way. It's about the things we talk about at the barbershop and at barbeques. The insights and answers provided may be unsettling for those that readily accept the conventional wisdom presented by the media and politicians. Highly recommended for anyone that has never had a class in economics and wants a better understanding of the basics through real life examples on familiar topics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Phillip Moorabbin, Australia 03-15-12
    Phillip Moorabbin, Australia 03-15-12 Listener Since 2008
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    "Fallacies, Fallacies: etc, etc. etc."
    Would you try another book from Thomas Sowell and/or Jeff Riggenbach?

    The book is very much like an a academics dissertation.


    What was most disappointing about Thomas Sowell’s story?

    The ways in which Facts can be twisted in various areas of the economy was very interesting. What I found annoying however, were the conclusions: these could have been twisted too.


    What about Jeff Riggenbach’s performance did you like?

    I think the book was read very clearly and naturally.


    Could you see Economic Facts and Fallacies being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    This is not a


    Any additional comments?

    It is true that some of the facts about how statistics are generated are interesting and not found in any other book that I know of. However, I would not agree with all of the conclusions suggested.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Prosper, TX, United States 12-17-10
    Jared Prosper, TX, United States 12-17-10 Member Since 2010

    Software engineer and avid, lifetime student. I like deep, thoughtful non-fiction, and fiction that compliments and enriches it.

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    "If you don't know anything about economics, maybe"

    Claiming to be unbiased, this book has a very Neo-Conservative slant. If you know very little about Economics, you'll probably learn something, but you may also find that you see no point in sensible ideas like, say, the EPA--or parks! For instance, in presenting the way government policies effect rents (housing prices), Sowell presents that because such "planning" that mandates parks reduces land and thus raises prices, this (city "planning") is a bad thing. Similarly, because government market regulation reduces the set of viable trades (ie, if government says you can't sell your child's organs, your financial fortunes are thus 'limited') then this, also, is a bad thing and, to this author, an argument on first principles for a Laissez Faire government. Yes, this really is the kind of stupidity you can expect here.

    6 of 29 people found this review helpful
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