A Bit of Sowell

When principle trumps professional gain

Being a great fan of the American economist Thomas Sowell I recently purchased and read his autobiography A Personal Odyssey. It’s interesting to read about the experiences that shaped, in my view, one of the most prolific living economists around today.

Sowell, almost 90 years old, has written over 50 books on economics, politics, and legal and social issues. But what makes him unique is how he unpacks and places complex issues at the feet of general readers.

This skill, he notes, was built after receiving tough but warranted criticism of his early fictional writing. ‘Once I realized how little I knew about writing,’ Sowell says, ‘I could start to learn.’

‘I did acquire an appreciation of the beauty and power of plain writing,’ he adds, ‘which helped me the rest of my life when writing non-fiction.’

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