The great Thomas Sowell retires from political column writing this week, with his last “Farewell by Dr. Thomas Sowell” column. He’s turning off the flow of news and intends to spend the time saved in photographing amid the great wild places of North America. His latest capstone book is a new edition of Wealth, Poverty, and Politics for which he recently did a 43-minute interview with the Hoover Institution.
The best introductory overview of his intellectual ideas is The Thomas Sowell Reader (2011). His introductory Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy is well regarded, but I admit I found it heavy-going even as an audiobook. The fault was not Sowell’s, but mine. Those who just can’t absorb hours of solid economics, even when expertly explained and grounded, might instead look at his more approachable mix of real-world economics and recent history — his excellent book The Housing Boom and Bust: Revised Edition (2010). This is still one of the most readable accounts of the root causes of the recession. It leaves one with a great many memorable lessons in real markets and the unforeseen perils of leftist market interventionism in a highly interconnected world. It could be one of the best samples of Sowell’s work, for many, if you only have the time to read one.
For Sowell’s own very remarkable life story, look to his A Personal Odyssey (2002). This would make for an excellent Ken Burns-style documentary mini-series, or even a long graphic novel, if there are creatives out there in 2017 who are looking for a worthy new project in tune with our newly conservative times.
All the books mentioned above are available as unabridged audiobooks.