Arnold Kling  

My Sowell-mate on the Knowledge-Power Discrepancy

FP2P Watch... Predictably Irrational or Pred...

Unchecked and Unbalanced is about the discrepancy between knowledge and power. Thomas Sowell's latest book, Intellectuals and Society, is about the same phenomenon. (Guess which one is selling better on Amazon.) If my many blog posts on the problem of trusting experts have not tired you of the subject, then watch Sowell discuss it here.

COMMENTS (13 to date)
Douglass Holmes writes:

Didn't Unchecked and Unbalanced have a head start? My book collection contains more Thomas Sowell books than books by Econlib authors. Sorry.

You are just going up against some tough competition when you compare your book's sales to that of Thomas Sowell. Good luck!

Fenn writes:


not only selling, but available in local libraries as well. Thanks for the pointer to this substitute

Colin Fraizer writes:

And neither is apparently available on Kindle. 8-(

FP2P and Crisis of Abundance are lonely on my Kindle...

Grant writes:

"It is far easier to concentrate power than to concrentrate knowledge."

To me, this quote says everything.

Grant Gould writes:

"If my many blog posts on the problem of trusting experts have not tired you of the subject..."

Do your many blog posts make you an expert on the subject? Because if so, I think we will have to stop trusting you.

John writes:

I've not yet read your book or Thomas Sowell's (although I plan to), but I've just finished reading H.L. Mencken's book "Notes on Democracy". Much of the arguments in that book center on letting the "experts" as Sowell refers to them in the interview, figure things out and for layman to stay out of it, for they're ignorant. Bryan Caplan's book seems to have a similar theme.

In what ways does your book differ from the themes in Notes On Democracy (if you've read it) and it what ways does it overlap?

(Other books deriding the fickle ignorance of the ordinary man besides Mencken's can be used here)

liberty writes:

"My Sowell-mate "

Ha ha ha ha! Took me a moment, but I love it.

Ryan Vann writes:

If my memory serves correctly, your book was released first. That said, even with a headstart, outselling Sowell is definitely an accomplishment worth boasting over (if I wrote a book that had currently sold more copies than Sowell, I'd be a braggard for sure). Anyway, the abundance of books outlines the unfortunate nature of being poor. I likely won't be afforded the luxury of choosing between either book, let alone be able to purchase both.

Marcus writes:

Unfortunately, neither book are yet available on the Kindle. Though, I imagine Sowell's book will be when they release the paperback.

Any idea if Unchecked and Unbalanced will be released on the Kindle?

michael writes:

Ryan- Sowell's book is ranked #108 for books overall on Amazon. U&U is #108,110.

Loof writes:

One problem and distinction needed to trust expertise is between those who are clear and those who confuse. Sewell clearly distinguishes between experts as intellectuals whose end product are ideas without real consequences; and experts whose end product come to ground with real consequences: i.e. civil engineers building bridges. I’m confused, though, how these two expert economic professors express the same phenomenon. The only phenomena seen with their professed knowledge and professorial power is appearing to be unaware that they are exceptional experts whose end product is ideas--or perhaps professing libertarian ideals. Combined with pie-in-the-sky mathematical models and up-in-the-air mechanics maximizing self-interest and utility the whole profession of economics appears unchecked and unbalanced about the discrepancy between abstract knowledge and enpowering a perpetual motion machine – and, thereby, always coming to ground with the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Ryan Vann writes:


I couldn't see past the top 100. How are both Sowell and Kling number 108 though? Also, seems economists should become dieticians instead, they would move more books. I can see it now, the Economist's Diet, by Tyler Cowen. I'd part with a couple pence for that one.

Colin Fraizer writes:


Sowell is 108. Kling is 108 times 1000 plus 110. (Actually, Dr. Kling had risen yesterday, but has since fallen to 112,112. I attribute that mostly to the lack of a Kindle edition. 8-)

You can see the rank in the "Product Details" section of the books page. Search for " Sales Rank". You can also sometimes see a book's rank by category in the same section.

Best regards,
--Colin Fraizer

[Dr. Kling, please excuse my endless hectoring for Kindle editions. I just don't want any more paper books. FWIW, I'm ready to use that awesome Amazon invention "one-click"--which may deserve eternal patent protection--as soon as the Kindle edition becomes available.]

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top