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Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell

Intellectuals and Society

by Thomas Sowell

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337846,686 (3.97)4



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This is a study of the affect of intellectuals on modern society. The author argues that intellectuals shape public opinion in ways that have deleterious effects on the direction of our society. The conclusion from Sowell's analysis is that intellectuals are often proven wrong in their prescriptions for solving the ills of society. Moreover they often ignore the reality of empirical evidence. This is a challenging and thought-provoking book. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 25, 2017 |
Terrific ( )
  JaredChristopherson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Sowell lays out a beautifully researched case and, step by step, proves his thesis that many intellectuals in recent history have carried out a carried out a campaign of attempts to subvert democracy in favor of oligarchy and cultural imperialism. Both fascinating and devastating, this may well be the best book I read all year. - Adam
  stephencrowe | Nov 11, 2015 |
A very disappointing and misleading book. Without close examination, it looks like a serious study of the role of intellectuals. It isn't. It is a screed. First promoting various notions which have seized Right Wing America, then showing how, through history, the same impulse has destroyed just about everything it touches. There are interesting ideas in the book, but the interesting ones are old. Where ideas are new, they're tendentious or selective or straw men. ( )
  Kendall41 | Apr 23, 2014 |
also others of his On Basic Economics, On a Conflict of Vision
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Let’s get my judgment of Thomas Sowell’s new book out of the way first. There is not a single interesting idea in its more than three-hundred pages.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 046501948X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sowell unravels the world of intellectuals in order to illustrate an important social phenomenon: how the thinkers of a society mold that society, leaving an impact on people in every walk of life, even if these thinkers are basically unknown to the world at large.… (more)

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