Picture of book cover


“I have been waiting a long time for

 someone to write this book, and Jeff

 Schmidt has done it.  He exposes, in

 crystal-clear prose, the inevitably

 political nature of the professional

 in our society, and, most importantly,

 suggests a strategy for resistance.

 This is an extraordinary and valuable

 piece of writing.”


 -- Howard Zinn,

    Author of A People’s History

    of the United States



“A radical, disturbing, and provocative

 look at professional life.  It offers a

 profound analysis of the personal

 struggles for identity and meaning in

 the lives of today’s 21 million

 professionals.  The book will shake up



 -- Andi O’Conor

    Ohio University



“A witty, incisive, original analysis of

 the politics of professionalism --

 especially with respect to those fields

 in which professional training involves

 an education in how to become oblivious

 to the political role of one’s



 -- Michael Berube,

    University of Illinois



“A blistering critique of how knowledge

 workers have been subordinated in

 America.  Finally, a book that tells it

 like it is.”


 -- Stanley Aronowitz,

    Author of The Jobless Future



“This book should be read by anyone

 thinking about embarking on a

 professional education in any field,

 as well as by those who wonder why their

 dream job doesn’t seem so dreamy after



 -- Politics and Prose bookstore,

    Washington, D.C.



“Schmidt analyzes the true meaning of

 being a professional and the sacrifices

 that professionals make to achieve their

 career goals.  He challenges them to

 think outside the box -- to use their

 intuition and their attitude to provide

 for a better society.”


 -- Carrie Crystal Van Driel,

    Public Citizen



“A freewheeling, thought-provoking

 examination of the way ideological

 control is exercised over an

 increasingly important section of the

 working class -- the professionals.”


 -- Nature, Society, and Thought



“I found Disciplined Minds while planning

 a course that deals with the social

 role and moral responsibility of

 intellectuals, and after I finished

 reading it I whooped with joy.  It is

 the perfect book to engage students on

 these issues -- well researched,

 powerfully argued, and clearly written.

 Even conservative students with politics

 at odds with Schmidt's find the book

 valuable because of its (sometimes

 painful) honesty and clarity.  In

 addition to using it in my course, I

 wish I could make Disciplined Minds

 required reading for my faculty



 -- Robert Jensen

    School of Journalism

    University of Texas at Austin



“Schmidt has hit the bull’s-eye.”


 -- The Texas Observer



“Your employment is terminated --



 -- Physics Today


Author interviews...
The Biological Physicist (pdf file)
(American Physical Society,
Division of Biological Physics)
Canadian Undergraduate Physics Journal (pdf)
January 2006 issue
Carta (published in Italian)
Italian State Radio (2 min 11 sec RealAudio)
Education Review
The Adjunct Advocate
Z Magazine
Sex and Guts magazine
Washington City Paper
Radical Teacher
Processed World (see pages 93-94 in pdf file)
Workplace (issue 6.2)
Workplace (issue 4.2)
Business and Society Review
Nature, Society, and Thought
Frontline (India)
International Socialist Review
Self-University Newsletter
Physics and Society
(American Physical Society,
Forum on Physics and Society)
Review of Radical Political Economics
Texas Observer
Higher Education Review (England)
Social Anarchism
The Antigonish Review (Canada)
Interchange: A quarterly review of education
Teaching Sociology
(American Sociological Association), v. 31, no. 2
Public Citizen News recommended reading
Politics and Prose pick list
IEEE Spectrum annual “Editor’s Picks” list
Chronicle of Higher Education article
Nine more reviews are posted at Amazon.com
Get the book!
 Click Here or on the button below
 to go to the book’s listing at Amazon.com.
 The paperback version is in stock.
 Use Disciplined Minds in your courses
 and provoke your students to question
 some of their most basic assumptions!
 Disciplined Minds works well in
 courses in sociology, education,
 business, labor studies, STS
 (science, technology and society)
 and many other subjects.

Welcome to the
Web Site!

Who are you going to be? That is the question.

In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict “ideological discipline.”

The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional’s lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations and even democracy.

Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker and to pursue one’s own social vision in today’s corporate society. He shows how an honest reassessment of what it really means to be a professional employee can be remarkably liberating. After reading this brutally frank book, no one who works for a living will ever think the same way about his or her job.


Physics Today fires author
for writing Disciplined Minds...

More than 750 scientists and others protest firing.  Noam Chomsky helps solicit signatures.

Scientists’ human rights committee issues public report

Physics education researchers condemn firing

American Association of Physics Teachers session attendees protest firing

Majority of physics academic staff at University of Ottawa condemn firing

Sixteen former Physics Today staff members protest firing

Pro-bono lawyers take legal action

Protests force Physics Today to reveal its unsound case...
* CEO Marc Brodsky issues statement
* Physicists reject Brodsky’s arguments
Press release from the book’s publisher
Lingua Franca magazine report
Chronicle of Higher Education report
Physics World report
State rejects Physics Today’s charge of employee misconduct
National Writers Union protests firing
Albert Einstein -- Time Thief!
From Writer’s Bloc Online (National Writers Union, D.C. Local)
Washington Post item
National Association of Science Writers reports protests
From ScienceWriters
Readers write...
Three degrees in English, organizer Michelle Squitieri
Water plant operator
Premed undergraduate Jonathan Armstrong
Physics professor Denis Rancourt
Medical doctor Susan Rosenthal
and graduate student Roberto Jankowski-Alfonso
Activist Windy Cooler
Recent particle physics PhD
Biochemical engineer Brendan Touhey
Scientist Peter Hargraves
Matt L.
Leadership scholar Ruth Guzley
Physics graduate student
Assistant professor
Electrical engineering PhD student
From the book...
The entire book has been read on the radio!
You can listen to or download the audio files.
Radio journalist Lyn Gerry read Disciplined Minds on her program
Unwelcome Guests, which is broadcast on a National Public Radio
affiliate and several other stations.  Listen to programs 176 to 201 in
the Unwelcome Guests archive.
Table of contents
Amateurs and professionals (excerpt from chapter 8)
Ideology and professionals (excerpt from chapter 1)
Narrowing the political spectrum (excerpt from chapter 8)
About the author...
Jeff Schmidt was an editor at Physics Today magazine for 19 years, 
until he was fired for writing this provocative book.  He has a PhD 
in physics from the University of California, Irvine, and has taught 
in the United States, Central America and Africa.  Born and raised 
in Los Angeles, he now lives in Washington, D.C.
Write the author: jeff@disciplinedminds.com
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
Cloth / 304 pages / April 2000 / ISBN 0-8476-9364-3
Paperback / 304 pages / December 2001 / ISBN 0-7425-1685-7