This is a study of how intellectuals as a class affect modern societies by shaping the climate of opinion in which official policies develop, on issues ranging from economics to law to war and peace.
The thesis of Intellectuals and Society is that the influence of intellectuals is not only greater than in previous eras but also takes a very different form from that envisioned by those like Machiavelli and others who have wanted to directly influence rulers. It has not been by shaping the opinions or directing the actions of the holders of power that modern intellectuals have most influenced the course of events, but by shaping public opinion in ways that affect the actions of power holders in democratic societies, whether or not those power holders accept the general vision or the particular policies favored by intellectuals. Even government leaders with disdain or contempt for intellectuals have had to bend to the climate of opinion shaped by those intellectuals.
Intellectuals and Society not only examines the track record of intellectuals in the things they have advocated but also analyzes the incentives and constraints under which their views and visions have emerged. One of the most surprising aspects of this study is how often intellectuals have been proved not only wrong, but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society-- and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those views.
©2009 Thomas Sowell; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I found this book to be an amazing listen , and the narrator captured the flavor of the written words perfectly.
Just as Dr. Sowell says, there are two basic types of intellectuals. Those that actually do useful work, and so gain much needed understanding of the real world, and then there are the " Others". Dr. Sowell focuses on this 2nd type , and does an excellent job ,dare I say, skewering them.
Too bad they are too arrogant to learn a little History, or learn from from their own mistakes , and mistaken assumptions.
Unfortunely, it is we common folks who must pay the price, over and over again.
Perhaps what Billy was really talking about was this 2nd group of intellectuals . If so, I would say his sentiments were spot on !
Give the book a listen. You will not be disappointed , unless, of course , you consider yourself an " Intellectual Thinker ".
The boring narration. It was almost painful to listen to.
Yes, with a different narrator
Disappointment and frustration
People who like to hear political agenda specific rants
There was no story - and even though I am a political conservative, I don't care to hear conservative rants that are not well backed up... or interesting
Disliked most everything about it.
Everything after the first three chapters
mind numbing - simply the worst!
Yes, I would listen to it again. this book seems to be the collection of years worth of research to back up a well observed phenomenon. Any student of history will know that intelligent people have created some of the best disasters but this book opens up the motives and thought that made it all possible. There was too much to remember from a single read.
For me the most memorable part of the book was when the author explained how numbers on statistics are manipulated to paint a desired picture, like counting the poor for decades while never counting how many people in the poor have moved to higher classes while the people who occupy the highest classes fall to lower ones at the same time. It opened my eyes to consider people as people as apposed to fixed classes that don't or can't change.
I enjoy listening to Tom Weiner on this book as he sounds somewhat like Thomas Sowell and his voice is easy to listen to as well as understand.
This book is a little to long to listen to all at once but the information that was received made me not want to shut it off.
Great book, if all of Thomas Sowell's books are as good as this one I will be listening to and reading more!
The shame of having such a well thought out defense of the right - the common sense REQUIREMENT - of people to control their own destinies is that the ones who need to read it, the intellectuals, will certainly not.
This, and all Thomas Sowell's work, uses scholarship and logic to blast through the constant emotional, seductive bombast from the big government and elitists who want to impose their brilliance upon us.
To be able to hear Thomas Sowell's idea. Tom Weiner made me believe that he was Sowell.
I really like the large variety that can be found in Audible. From light fiction, science fiction to serious non-fiction titles.
I may to try to broaden my stances but this book for my liking wasn't what I was looking for.
The most interesting thing and the least interesting thing end up being the same because the same thing he is saying intellectuals do, he is doing himself.
Yes it did.
The book isn't bad although a very rightly slanted view.
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.
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.
Before I downloaded this book I read reviews from readers and thought they were biased. It should have been a clue that the only good reviews came from people that actually felt inspired to "look up words" as a result of this book.
I wish I could say something good about it. Maybe, maybe, his analysis of the pre-war France has some redeeming value, but you can get that somewhere else without having to suffer through the rest of the book.
The rest of the book is a long rant against 'the anointed," which would be all the leftist intellectuals that he does not agree with. He makes generalized assertions about what other people think and believe, why they believe it, without any supporting evidence. He talks at length about misinformation and evidence that is being ignored, forgetting to present much more than generalized ball-park statistics you'd get on Wikipedia. There was one instance of 'evidence' he presented in his book to show how the intellectuals misinform the public: he actually used national averages of crime rates to dismiss arguments based on local averages of crime rates. Hello, statistics 101: you can't do that! It's apples and oranges.
Anyone with a college degree would be one of the anointed and very dangerous to all living things. Slavery, racism, domestic violence, the horrors of the Vietnam war (yes, he argues that the war should have been fought until victory was achieved, whatever that meant, and victory was possible - sound familiar?), poverty, all that are merely inventions of the anointed. They were not all that bad!
It's rediculous that he does not even bother (probably because he has no clue) with the empirical branches of the disciplines he disparages. The validation of their theories do come from actual empirical evidence, which I wished the author knew how to interpret. I suppose theoretical physics and mathematics is similarly useless per his definition.
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