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.
"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)
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.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The book is very much like an a academics dissertation.
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.
I think the book was read very clearly and naturally.
This is not a
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.
Between the content and the narration it's just too dry for me. This book which I have yet to finish did not produce and earth shattering eurekas for me and I do find economics quite interesting.
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.
The author's prejudices come across from the start and continue throughout his rants in subsequent chapters. Don't waste your time.
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