In Defense Of A Liberal Education by Fareed ZakariaIn Defense Of A Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria

In Defense Of A Liberal Education

byFareed Zakaria

Paperback | April 12, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$20.10 online 
$20.95 list price
Earn 101 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


The liberal arts are under attack. The governors of Florida, Texas, and North Carolina have all pledged that they will not spend taxpayer money subsidizing the liberal arts, and they seem to have an unlikely ally in President Obama. While at a General Electric plant in early 2014, Obama remarked, "I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree." These messages are hitting home: majors like English and history, once very popular and highly respected, are in steep decline.

"I get it," writes Fareed Zakaria, recalling the atmosphere in India where he grew up, which was even more obsessed with getting a skills-based education. However, the CNN host and best-selling author explains why this widely held view is mistaken and shortsighted.

Zakaria eloquently expounds on the virtues of a liberal arts education—how to write clearly, how to express yourself convincingly, and how to think analytically. He turns our leaders' vocational argument on its head. American routine manufacturing jobs continue to get automated or outsourced, and specific vocational knowledge is often outdated within a few years. Engineering is a great profession, but key value-added skills you will also need are creativity, lateral thinking, design, communication, storytelling, and, more than anything, the ability to continually learn and enjoy learning—precisely the gifts of a liberal education.

Zakaria argues that technology is transforming education, opening up access to the best courses and classes in a vast variety of subjects for millions around the world. We are at the dawn of the greatest expansion of the idea of a liberal education in human history.

Fareed Zakaria has been called "the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation" (Esquire). He is the Emmy-nominated host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, contributing editor for The Atlantic, a columnist for the Washington Post, and the best-selling author of The Post-American World and The Future of Freedom. He lives in New...
Title:In Defense Of A Liberal EducationFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.18 × 5.48 × 0.5 inPublished:April 12, 2016Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:039335234X

ISBN - 13:9780393352344

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome little book! If you're looking for an overview, this book is fantastic. Zakaria writes eloquently but accessibly about the resounding benefits of a liberal education. What some reviewers have labelled unnecessary such as anecdotes from his own life/background, not only add to the work's fun-factor, but are actually indicative of a liberal education. By that, I mean that there are schools of thought that state that researchers as well as non-fiction writers in general, ought to provide some cursory information about their own backgrounds so that they expose their own possible bias (we all have bias and anyone who denies this is in desperate need of a liberal education haha!). Zakaria is very straightforward about his background and possible sources of bias. The book is divided into 6 short chapters. They are succinct yet well-developed, and Zakaria successfully points out political factors without using politics to polarize - a difficult feat. I really don't mean to offend, but I've seen a few reviews here from people who have seriously unrealistic expectations for this book. If you want a scholarly, meta-analysis, why are you reading this? This is a book by a highly-educated policy adviser, yes, but it is not a peer-reviewed study, and Zakaria doesn't pretend it is. Seriously. It's one guy's educated opinion that he backs up with some sources, not a Harvard researcher. Also, there's a certain irony in this outlandish expectation given the subject matter at hand...
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from In Defence of a Liberal Education Excellent read. Well written, the argument for a liberal education is well articulated. A must read.
Date published: 2015-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Makes you think. This is a good book for parents and kids to consider their future. Down the road you may need those social/art/philosophy skills to help round out your education and employability down the road.
Date published: 2015-05-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Liberal Arts grad? Enjoy this! The beginning to this is great. A rousing defense of the liberal arts: from the author's personal enchantment with them to a potted history of their teaching through the ages. Makes me proud to have multiple liberal arts degrees. But the rest of it, though written well, is tired territory. The liberal arts as teaching you how to be a learner in the knowledge economy. The liberal arts to be saved through the application of technology. The liberal arts as the future. Just waiting for that inspirational defense of a liberal education on its own terms. And why does it have to be a defense or justification? Let it be a proud statement of their glory.
Date published: 2015-05-04

Editorial Reviews

Smart. — Nicholas Kristof (New York Times)

An accessible, necessary defense of an idea under siege. — New York Times Book Review

In Defense of a Liberal Education brilliantly and provocatively argues that the university is much more than a vocational school. The flight from the liberal arts is leaving us impoverished. Zakaria's book couldn't have come at a more valuable moment. — Malcolm Gladwell