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Intellectuals and Society / Edition 1
     

Intellectuals and Society / Edition 1

4.5 19
by Thomas Sowell
 

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ISBN-10: 046501948X

ISBN-13: 9780465019489

Pub. Date: 01/05/2010

Publisher: Basic Books

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465019489
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
01/05/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
398
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

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Intellectuals and Society 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone that takes themselves seriously, this book is a must. It speaks to all levels of education and all layers of society and race. It certainly helps shake free the messages that have become rooted in our brains from the educational, political and media drumbeat of our times. Decisions by intellectuals with no " real life" understanding, have always and continue to, create havoc in society. This book is a voice of reason in the wilderness of modern times awash in conventional wisdom. Well written and well researched.
S_A_Hamilton More than 1 year ago
Thomas Sowell has done it again. In this well researched book he shows 'intellectuals' for what they are and have been...false polymaths. The clarity of this book makes it an interesting, enjoyable and enlightening read for anybody. Its research and scholarly nature makes it great for those who wish to put such information to use in their professional life. My hope is that many of the modern intellectuals who take a huge part in shaping our society and nudging policy, while suffering no consequences for the disasters and consequences that result from such, will read this as well. Thomas Sowell has the mirror now intellectuals just need to peer into it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS HARD TO PUT DOWN. THE ECONOMIC PRINCIPLE MR. SOWELL APPLIES TO THE SUBJECT MATTER IS RIGHT ON THE MONEY. MR. SOWELL DESCRIBED THE FUTURE THAT IS TODAY TO A "T".
ubtaught More than 1 year ago
Excellent. I have only just begun researching the many quotes and suggested readings Sowell provides. This books is an excellent example of the difference between 'right wing' writers who deliver facts and opinion in separate dishes, explain where their opinions come from and why and 'left wing' writers who seem to depend on an audience who already 'knows' what they mean when they use certain key words and phrases. This books delivers the dirt on what I have noted in college and in the teaching profession and it does it in a way that doesn't need ad hominem attacks, clever jabs with blunt instruments and knowing winks and jarring nudges. Sowell gives you the tools to make your own opinion and THAT is what I want in a book like this. Excellent addition to ANY personal library right alongside Glenn Beck's Arguing with Idiots, Dianna West's The Death of the Grownup and Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book opens with these four words, which many in today's culture have failed to realize. "George Orwell said that some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them, for no ordinary man could be such a fool." Intellectuals live in a world of ideas. Many of their "ideas" find their way into mainstream life via academia, print, or wielders of power who share their circle of influence. The danger here is that these ideas are often acted upon with no empirical test or external validation. A great read for anyone interested in how so called "intellectuals" have shaped history for better or more commonly for worse.
Online_Adjunct More than 1 year ago
This has become my new favorite book. Dr. Sowell is a first-rate intellectual, so he knows what he is talking about when criticizing the intellectual establishment for applying logic to untested and unwise assumptions to reach dangerous conclusions which it sells to the public and to politicians. Particularly interesting is his criticism of attitudes of the progressives on races which switched radically to certain minorities being genetically inferior at the beginning of the twentieth century to being victims who have no responsibility for the consequences of their actions and their culture today. I am recommending this book to friends, relatives and anyone else who wants to understand the source of many of the current economic and political problems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Sowell's thoughts on the influence of certain segments of society on the current state of affairs in our country are enlightening, to say the least. He has analyzed deeply and applied common sense to his conclusions. This book is highly recommended.
fntb1642 More than 1 year ago
Dr. Sowell is without doubt one of the Country's leading Conservative thinkers. Each one of his books is treasure of thought provoking, educational information.
BullwinkleNC More than 1 year ago
Dr. Sowell makes understanding many important economic topics and other complex issues so easy to understand. He is an easy read on complex technical topics if your concentrate and think about what he is saying! This book is must for my library and was just updated. I read and studied a few issues so far. His communication is about serious and complex important issues for our country. He, however, presents these in an easy to read, follow, and understand manner, with great flow. He also relates and ties everything in making easy to follow and understand. This book is a great addition to my library. It is an excellent reference book on many serious topics. I highly recommend this book and others, such as Economic Facts and Fallacies and Ever Wonder Why. Highly recommended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ties in well how and why both major political parties have become dominated by their wings and not their centrists. For those interested, I recommend Brion McClanahan's "Founders' Guide to the Constitution" & my own "The Albany Plan Re-Visited".
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TimDonaldson More than 1 year ago
There are a lot of very smart people in the world, but what Thomas Sowell defines as an intellectual proper is someone whose end products are ideas. Engineers end product is whether the bridges or roads they build work, doctors end product is the result of their medical treatment, a businesses end product is their product or service and whether customers will buy it. Even athletes have clear end products in how they perform on the field, and coaches ideas are judged by how well they generate results. Einstein was judged by whether the solar eclipse revealed the things he predicted it would in his theories on relativity. Bill Walsh was judged by whether his ideas about how to score points in the NFL put points on the board in the NFL. Not so for an intellectual. What is the ultimate test of a deconstructionist for example? It is whether other deconstructionists find those ideas interesting, original, persuasive, elegant, or ingenious. There is no external test. No way to judge if any of the ideas within that bubble have any connection to reality. Not that they don't still try to use "verbal virtuosity" to transform their ideas which are free from any testing into "science", although science is not a set of conclusions or arguments but a process of investigating, decidedly NOT the process used by those in the "social sciences." In Sowell's latest book, 'Intellectuals and Society' (2009, 398 pages) he discusses how intellectuals proper don't have that external control and feedback loop. Instead, the quintessential intellectuals are those at academic institutions where they are in control, shielded by academic tenure, where the peer support and praise of other intellectuals, who they often hire to succeed themselves, is what matters, real world results be damned. Sowell is an 80 year old black man, a staunch conservative, and he has been on the inside of the academic world for most of his adult life, teaching economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and for the last 3 decades at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. For what it is worth, I myself have spent 9 of the last 11 years in higher education, just this month finishing my 2nd graduate degree, and I can absolutely second his description of the academic environment of higher education and the pseudo-intellectual endeavors that go on at such places. And, as Sowell says "A university's business school, medical school, or athletics department is not usually what comes to mind when we think of academic intellectuals", for the reasons discussed above. I studied Economics as an undergrad, where the focus of the teachers was more emotional politics, and then I studied law and education, where the focus of the teachers was more economics, not that most of them knew the first thing about economics or had even had Econ 101. As George Orwell said, "some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them, for no ordinary man could be such a fool." The sad reality, very well documented in the book, is that Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler had a great many admirers, defenders, and apologists among the intelligentsia in the Western Democratic countries. The intellectuals proper are surrounded by a penumbra of the like-mind who use and disseminate those ideas to the public, to where 100 years later people are moving to the assumed notions of society without realizing they were ideas of forgotten men 100 years ago who they have never read. The pen
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