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Intellectuals and Society | [Thomas Sowell]

Intellectuals and Society

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. You will hear a withering and clear-eyed critique about (but not for) intellectuals that explores their impact on public opinion, policy, and society at large.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Lee Doty Chicago USA 12-15-12
    Lee Doty Chicago USA 12-15-12 Member Since 2011

    Author of Out of the Black

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Focus + Truth = Clarity"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Intellectuals and Society to be better than the print version?

    yes, easier to digest while doing other things. (drive, yardwork, etc.)


    What did you like best about this story?

    Sowell's plain, focused wisdom. His ability to communicate fairly complex ideas without the need to clutter the experience with jargon. His ability to distill simple truths from storms of confusion and irrelevancy, then write only those distilled truths.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Too many to list. Best summary of the important issues relating to WWII I've ever read. Best dissection of the forces/incentives that drive public intellectuals.


    Any additional comments?

    No leftist intellectual's belief system will survive an honest, curious reading of this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    realgood Atlanta 10-22-12
    realgood Atlanta 10-22-12 Member Since 2004

    realgood

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    "A real up-to-date expose' on liberals!"
    Where does Intellectuals and Society rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    On par to past social media junkets of mainstream, profound and right on point!


    Any additional comments?

    I'll need to listen again for clarity.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WILL LONE TREE, CO, United States 10-01-12
    WILL LONE TREE, CO, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very informative and eye opening."

    The scales have been removed from my eyes. I have never read anything from Thomas Sowell. I knew who he was and respected his views. Also enjoyed his articles, but this book is outstanding.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Spring Lake, MI, USA 07-14-10
    William Spring Lake, MI, USA 07-14-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Thoroughgoing Analysis"

    Does an excellent job of exposing how intellectuals function on plane they imagine to be higher to that on which ordinary people function. Author exposes how intellectuals employ verbal virtuosity to win arguments that nonetheless lack grounding in evidence or even common sense.

    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Stuart, United States Minor Outlying Islands 03-09-10
    Thomas Stuart, United States Minor Outlying Islands 03-09-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Thanks for another great journey Dr. Sowell"

    My favorite philosopher: always an expanding experience.

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 04-02-10
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 04-02-10 Member Since 2008
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    "smart author"

    very smart author who understands what goes on in the world

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis Carbajosa de la Sagrada, Spain 03-15-11
    Phyllis Carbajosa de la Sagrada, Spain 03-15-11 Member Since 2007
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    "What is Up with The Extremely Critical Reviews?"

    I have to ask myself if the people who left extremely critical reviews, actually read / listen to the whole book? Doubt it. I found this book packed with ideas that had never dawned on me before. This book made it clear to me why so many "so called" intellectuals of today are so far out of touch with the normal and often times lacking all common sense. Thomas Sowell is a consumate intellectual and he wrote one heck of a fine book. The ONLY reason that I did not give this book a five is due to the naration. There's so much information that you want to capture and digest, however (in my opinion) the narrator spoke far too fast at times. I think that I would have enjoyed this book a lot more with a different narrator. Highly recommended.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Alexandria, VA, United States 09-15-10
    Scott Alexandria, VA, United States 09-15-10
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    "Read it twice."

    One of the best political books I have read from the 100's I have read. I learned more from this book about why our self annointed rulers do what they do than anywhere else. Read it twice.

    2 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Weiss 04-20-10
    Karen Weiss 04-20-10 Member Since 2009
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    "must read"

    This is such a great book. It puts alot of things in perspective.If you want to know whats gone wrong in society don't pass this one up.

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful
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