cover image The Thomas Sowell Reader

The Thomas Sowell Reader

Thomas Sowell. Basic, $29.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-465-02250-2

Prolific and award-winning economist Sowell presents an engaging and accessible collection of short essays culled from his books and columns. In his 30-some previous books, Sowell has addressed everything from social theory to political philosophy, and this selection offers a representative sampling that especially shines in its discussion of education and the academy. Criticizing antielitism in the educational system, he claims that students cannot all be taught at the same pace, unless “the pace is slowed down to accommodate the lowest denominator.” He convinces readers that “unusually bright children are too often treated like stepchildren by the American educational system,” blaming this on a “general hostility to anything that might be construed as intellectual elitism.” Sowell mingles anecdote with analysis, drawing upon his personal history to bolster his arguments. Recalling a research project he directed, for which he received money to hire a “ ‘minority’ professional,” he ruminates on how “minority” has become a “politically corrupted word.” The book concludes with a section titled “Random Thoughts,” filled with Sowell’s quotable quotes and adages: among them is “ideology is fairy tales for adults,” which could summarize the entire reader. Sowell’s careful explicating of and grappling with issues allow his thoughts to be clearly exhibited, understood, and welcomed. Even leftist thinkers will appreciate Sowell’s personal charm and intellectual rigor. (Oct.)