More Money Than Brains: Why Schools Suck, College is Crap, and Idiots Think They're Right Hardcover – Apr 20 2010
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"More Money Than Brains is a ferocious defence of the arts and humanities against the philistine influence of Homo economicus (subspecies Goldman Sachsus). . . [Penny's] unflinching willingness to entertain puts her light years ahead of her Canadian competitors."
— Globe and Mail
"An unflinching indictment of North American education, politics and media."
— Toronto Star
About the Author
Author of the Canadian bestseller Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit (a Globe and Mail Best Book of the year), LAURA PENNY has a PhD in Comparative Literature, a MA in Theory and Criticism, and a BA in Contemporary Studies and English. She has worked as a bookstore clerk, a student activist, a union organizer, a university instructor, and her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Saturday Night, and Toronto Life. She lives in Halifax, where she teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
First, I found the book to be a little scattered. She wanders from point to point within her chapters as well as between them. Sometimes she's attacking the Right, sometimes she's discussing students, etc. It's not hard to link them together, but it does reduce the coherency and force of her argument. Which leads to my second point, the evidence for her argument. While I largely agree with her points, I suppose I'm more pragmatic in my desire for evidence. About 90% of her evidence is for the US, which is nice, but as a Canadian writer (and I'm a Canadian reader), more work on Canada would have been nice. I also would have liked to have seen her spend more time discussing the worth of a liberal arts degree instead of attacking the people who attack that kind of degree.
I agree with her that liberal arts can be beneficial to individuals and society as a whole. Unfortunately, I think her book will only serve as a mirror for people who already think that way. Her efforts to persuade people who value money more than brains might have been better served by providing them with reasons why they should change their beliefs rather than telling them that they stink for having them. Which is ironic, given that her complaint is about a society caring more about money than brains. Her book could have been a remedy toward that, but instead, it fails to offer enough (in my opinion) crucial evidence for why we should value brains more than we do.
The professional book critics quoted in the writeup here got it right. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who cares about culture or education.
Penny can't help but show her somewhat lefty orientation, but that's quite forgivable - nobody's neutral and if they were, they wouldn't be interesting. It does lead her into making fun of predictable things, such as Bushisms - yeah Dubya's gone, try mining for new material.
She does nail a few things, which probably makes this book worth reading if you're intrigued by the idea (as I was). So, feel free, if you're so inclined. Just don't expect to be blown away.
a) People who study liberal arts/ humanities are better and smarter than people who study other subjects.
b) We need a liberal government to solve our education problems, because we can trust "the brains" who are employed in the public sector but not the "bullies" in the private sector.
c) Liberal= Brains. Conservative = Idiot Bullies.
d) Public schools are the only viable option for k-12 education. All improvements, rulemaking, and funding needs to happen at the federal level.
e) People who provide tangible goods and services are are both objects of derision for their practical bent and must provide resources for those who pursue a pure education in the humanities.
I was hoping for a humorous but meaningful exploration about intellectual curiosity and social values and how they relate to problems and solutions in the educational system. This was not the book.