Thomas Sowell Bibliography

A comprehensive bibliography of Thomas Sowell with a short précis of each.


A short précis for each of the books by Thomas Sowell, with a link to deeper, more critical analysis. The definitive list is on the Thomas Sowell website article “Books and Articles”.

  1. Economics: Analysis and Issues (1971, Scott Foresman & Co)
    • An exploration of foundational economic principles and their implications, offering readers a deep analysis of economic issues and topics.
  2. Black Education: Myths and Tragedies (1972, David McKay Company Inc.)
    • An examination of educational disparities and myths related to Black Americans, addressing common misconceptions and the root causes of educational challenges.
  3. Say’s Law: An Historical Analysis (1972)
  4. Classical Economics Reconsidered (1974, Princeton University Press)
    • A critique and reconsideration of classical economic theory, offering insights into its relevance and limitations in the modern world.
  5. Race and Economics (1975, David McKay Company Inc.)
    • Sowell investigates the intersection of racial dynamics and economic policies, arguing that some policies harm the groups they’re intended to help.
  6. Affirmative Action Reconsidered (1975, The AEI Press)
    • An early deep dive into the concept of affirmative action, especially its application and implications in academia.
  7. Essays and Data on American Ethnic Groups (1978)
  8. Knowledge and Decisions (1980)
  9. Ethnic America: A History (1981, Basic Books)
    • A comprehensive look at the histories, challenges, and contributions of various ethnic groups in America.
  10. Markets and Minorities (1981, Basic Books)
    • An exploration of how market forces impact minority groups, suggests that free markets often benefit these groups more than interventionist policies.
  11. Pink and Brown People (1981)
  12. The Economics and Politics of Race (1983, William Morrow & Co.)
    • A deep dive into the ways race intersects with economics and politics, investigating the outcomes of various policies on racial and ethnic groups.
  13. Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? (1984, William Morrow & Co.)
    • A critical examination of civil rights initiatives and their actual effects compared to their intended goals.
  14. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics (1985, The AEI Press)
    • Sowell dives deep into Marxist philosophy and economics, dissecting its principles, history, and real-world applications.
  15. Education: Assumptions versus History (1986)
  16. Compassion versus Guilt (1987)
  17. A Conflict of Visions (1987, William Morrow & Co.)
    • Sowell contrasts the “constrained” and “unconstrained” visions that underlie political and ideological struggles, discussing their philosophical origins and real-world implications.
  18. Judicial Activism Reconsidered (1989, The AEI Press)
    • A critical exploration of the concept of judicial activism, its implications, and its role in shaping societal outcomes.
  19. Choosing a College (1989, The AEI Press)
    • A guidebook for parents and students navigating the complex process of college selection, with insights into the academic and social nuances of various institutions.
  20. Preferential Policies (1990, William Morrow & Co.)
    • A critical evaluation of preferential policies like quotas and affirmative action from an international perspective, considering their results and potential harms.
  21. Inside American Education (1993, Free Press)
    • A critical look at the American education system, from kindergarten through college. Sowell explores the challenges, pitfalls, and misconceptions surrounding education in the US.
  22. Is Reality Optional? (1993)
  23. Race and Culture (1994, Basic Books)
    • An expansive look into the role of race and culture in societal outcomes and global history, evaluating their intricate interplay.
  24. The Vision of the Anointed (1995, Basic Books)
    • A critique of the presumptive wisdom of liberal elites in policymaking and societal direction.
  25. Migrations and Cultures (1996, Basic Books)
    • An exploration of how migrations have shaped cultures globally, focusing on the economic and societal impacts of migratory movements.
  26. Late-Talking Children (1997)
  27. Conquests and Cultures (1998, Basic Books)
    • A historical analysis of the impact of conquests on the development and evolution of cultures throughout history.
  28. Barbarians Inside the Gates (1999)
  29. The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999, Free Press)
    • A discussion of the pursuit of cosmic justice in society and the potential dangers and drawbacks associated with this quest.
  30. Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy (2000)
  31. A Personal Odyssey (2000, Free Press)
    • Sowell’s autobiography details his journey from childhood in the South to becoming a prominent intellectual.
  32. The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late (2001, Basic Books)
    • Sowell examines a subset of bright children who begin talking late, exploring potential causes and outcomes, drawing from both research and personal experiences.
  33. Controversial Essays (2002, Hoover Institution Press)
    • A compilation of Sowell’s essays that tackle various contentious topics in society, politics, and economics.
  34. Applied Economics (2003, Basic Books)
    • An exploration of economic concepts applied to real-world scenarios, emphasizing the importance of considering long-term consequences.
  35. Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy, Second Edition (2004)
  36. Affirmative Action Around the World (2004, Yale University Press)
    • A comparative study of affirmative action policies across various countries, offering insights into their outcomes, intended and unintended.
  37. Black Rednecks and White Liberals (2005, Encounter Books)
    • A collection of essays challenging conventional racial and cultural notions, offering alternative historical perspectives.
  38. Ever Wonder Why? (2006)
    • A compilation of Sowell’s shorter writings that tackle various societal questions with his characteristic wit and insight.
  39. On Classical Economics (2006, Yale University Press)
    • Sowell offers a detailed examination of classical economics, diving deep into its principles and the wisdom of renowned economists who laid its foundation.
  40. A Conflict of Visions: The Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, revised edition (2007)
  41. A Man of Letters (2007)
  42. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Third Edition (2007)
    • An accessible guide to economic principles and theories presented without jargon, offering readers a clear understanding of how economies function.
  43. Economic Facts and Fallacies (2008)
    • Sowell busts common economic myths and misconceptions, using empirical evidence to clarify misunderstood concepts.
  44. Intellectuals and Society (2009)
    • An examination of the influence of intellectuals on societies and the often unintended negative consequences of their ideas.
  45. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, Revised and Enlarged Edition (2009)
  46. The Housing Boom and Bust (2009)
    • A look into the 2008 financial crisis, focusing on the housing market’s role. Sowell breaks down complex economic events and policies, offering insights into the causes and consequences of the housing boom and subsequent bust.
  47. The Housing Boom and Bust, Revised Edition (2010)
  48. Dismantling America (2010)
    • A collection of essays critiquing various American policies and societal shifts that Sowell believes could lead to America’s decline.
  49. The Thomas Sowell Reader (2011)
    • A curated selection of writings from Sowell’s expansive career, spanning topics in economics, race, culture, and more.
  50. Economic Facts and Fallacies, Second Edition (2011, Basic Books)
  51. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Fourth Edition (2011, Basic Books)
  52. “Trickle Down” Theory and “Tax Cuts for the Rich” (2012)
    • Sowell addresses and debunks popular myths about economic policies, particularly the misconceptions surrounding trickle-down economics and tax cuts.
  53. Intellectuals and Society, Second Edition (2012, Basic Books)
  54. Intellectuals and Race (2013, Basic Books)
    • An exploration of the role of intellectuals in shaping perceptions about race and the potential misdirections resulting from these views.
  55. Wealth, Poverty and Politics (2015, Basic Books)
    • An analysis of the various factors that contribute to wealth and poverty, from geography and culture to politics and prejudices.
  56. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Fifth Edition (2015, Basic Books)
  57. Wealth, Poverty and Politics, Second Edition (2016, Basic Books)
    • This revised edition builds upon Sowell’s exploration of the factors contributing to success or lack thereof among individuals and nations, looking at geographic, social, cultural, and other consequential factors.
  58. Discrimination and Disparities (2018, Basic Books)
    • Sowell dives deep into disparities that exist across various groups in society, exploring their causes. He emphasizes that disparities are a norm, not an exception, and understanding them requires looking beyond simplistic explanations.
  59. Discrimination and Disparities, Second Edition (2019, Basic Books)
  60. Charter Schools and Their Enemies (2020, Basic Books)
    • A defence of charter schools, argues that they offer valuable educational opportunities, especially for minority students in inner cities.

These précis offer a brief insight into each book’s main themes and focus. To fully appreciate Sowell’s arguments and perspectives, one would need to delve deeper into each work.