There was enough interesting stuff in here for a 3, and the general thrust of “we need to actually look at data” and “different geographies/politics/cultures have different productivity” I agree with. Some stuff about affirmative action not being effective that I want to look into more.

But he seemed to ignore his own charter to suit his main points. Apparently black crime/single parent familes/etc started increasing in the 60s, which he blames on the “welfare state”. This read like bad sociology - maybe true, but seems equally likely at face value that causation could flow the other way? At least should have been explored or referenced. He also points out that looking at quintile distributions doesn’t make sense, since 50% of people start at the bottom and work their way to the top as they age and increase their income. Ok, maybe true, but what does that mean? Does it actually invalidate any points about inequality? Which ones? Women aren’t paid as much men because they don’t have as much continuous survey - quoting a single reference from the 70s - why would that be? Does the data seem suspect? Etc etc…

I think I’m spoiled having just read some science books that are much more about “what do we know” rather than “here is why I’m right”. It’s probably accurate that we actually know very little about the things Sowell writes about, and a more useful book would acknowledge that.

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