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Publisher's Summary

Here is the gritty, powerful story of Thomas Sowell's life-long education in the school of hard knocks, a journey that took him from Harlem to the Marines, the Ivy League, and a career as a controversial writer, teacher, and economist in government and private industry. It is also the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place.

The vignettes of the people and places that made impressions on Sowell at various stages of his life range from the poor and powerless to the mighty and the wealthy, from a home for homeless boys to the White House. More than an account of Sowell's life, this is also the story of the people who gave him their help, their support, and their loyalty, as well as those who demonized him and knifed him in the back. It is a study not just of one life, but also of life itself, with all its exhilaration, pain, constant striving, and deserved success.

©2000 Thomas Sowell (P)2001 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Offered a job simply because he was a black man, he turned it down and said why. Despite this righteousness, he has retained a sense of humor....Sowell admits to having had plenty of enemies, but enough friends to save him. This memoir should multiply the latter. Jeff Riggenbach...renders the narrative vividly." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Helps you understand the man

This autobiography of the economist Thomas Sowell helps you understand how many of his ideas, especially about education, were formed. As a man who was able to reach the heights of academic prominence, he illustrates how high academic expectations for children from any socio-economic background create fertile ground for their future successes. Even though the author had his own academic bumps along the way, due to family problems in high school, the spark was there from his earlier educational experiences to propel his pursuit of excellence forward.

It was also interesting to see how Sowell's own independent streak influenced his odyssey. He is definitely a man who knows his own mind and will not be pushed around by anyone. This is evidenced fairly early in his life and is a theme that continues throughout this book.

I wish he had discussed more the intellectual odyssey that influence the change in his economic philosophy from Marxism to the one he holds today. But, perhaps that is for another book.

I thought that the reader was excellent and made the autobiography come to life.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • Indianapolis, indiana
  • 09-13-10

Fascinating Story with Good Narration

After reading the print version of Applied Economics, I was curious to know more about Thomas Sowell. This book did a great job of satisfying my curiosity. Though, maybe unintentional, the humor of Thomas Sowell had me laughing out loud many times throughout, which made this an especially easy listen. Humorous bits aside, this is an amazing story that shows what a GED (general equivalency diploma) and years of hard work might get you.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynn
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 05-23-07

Thomas Sowell - hero

This book was one of my favorites from audible.com. Mr. Sowell's intellect comes through with a large amount of humorous irony. The description of his education and academic experience is so "right on" yet very discouraging. I would have loved to have had him for a professor.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

What makes the intellectual?

Interesting read on the life events the culminated to make the intellectual Thomas Sowell the man he is today. His strong conservative principals and unfailing convictions come through loud and clear as he struggles through race issues, academic freedom and other character molding events in his history. It was very interesting to hear the story behind what was going on in his life when some of his books came out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sabrina
  • Virginia Beach, VA, United States
  • 10-27-10

The book is outstanding! The narrator is NOT.

I was hooked to this book when I started it. Sowell offers us a glimpse of the events that shaped his life and his status as a black conservative intellectual. He truly stands heads and shoulders above so many so called intellectuals, primarily because of practical experience he gained through out his life. This is truly an inspiring story.

My chief complaint is the narrator of this story. He reads it with all the emotion of a bad news anchor - that is to say no emotion whatsoever. His voice lacks any of the introspective qualities of the book itself, that it almost robs the listener of the sense that this is personal odyssey. Instead, it sounds as though the author is writing with no emotion whatsoever, even when describing deeply personal moments. I would strongly recommend passing on this audiobook and insteading purchasing the text from Amazon.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Really touching memoir. Very relatable.

I was curious about what a memoir from noted economist Thomas Sowell would offer. I was noted disappointed. While he doesn't dish the dirt and he doesn't try to settle old rivalries. He gives readers an insight into this thinking and the circumstances surrounding many of his most notable life decisions.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it so much ❤❤❤❤

Recently discovered this gem of an individual. So many take-aways from the book. Thank you so much Mr Sowell💙💙💙

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Thomas sowell- A truthful life

Very inspiring. Do not read if you cannot accept facts. A wonderful description of his life and challenges faced by other's preconceived notions.

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  • Randy
  • Montgomery, AL, United States
  • 10-11-16

Uncompromising and honest.

Great glimpse into the life of one of the great minds of our time. If more would read Sowell we would be much better off.

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Great insight...

I enjoyed this book very much. I especially appreciated the chance to see what life experiences had an impact on Mr Sowell. It gave me a whole new insight into the man behind the remarkable books that I have been listening too. I am so glad I chose to listen to this book. What a remarkable man mr Sowell is.

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  • Lukas Koube
  • 05-13-15

Amazing

Thomas so well has an amazing story to tell in this book. You can learn all about his humble start and how he became the greatest intellectual alive.