Thomas Sowell (/soʊl/; born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
Born in North Carolina, Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. He dropped out of Stuyvesant High School and served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Upon returning to the United States, Sowell enrolled at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1958. He received a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1959, and earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.
Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell University and University of California, Los Angeles. He has also worked at think tanks such as the Urban Institute. Since 1980, he has worked at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he presently serves as the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy. Sowell writes from a libertarian conservative perspective. Sowell has written more than thirty books, and his work has been widely anthologized. He is a National Humanities Medal recipient for innovative scholarship which incorporated history, economics and political science.
Sowell’s latest book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies, was published in 2020.