The Spirit Level

The Spirit Level

Why Equality Is Better for Everyone

Book - 2010
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Penguin Putnam
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone is the most influential and talked-about book on society in the last decade - now updated with a new chapter on the controversy the book has ignited. Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Australians? The answer: inequality. This groundbreaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show:
  • How almost everything - from life expectancy to mental illness, violence to illiteracy - is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is
  • That societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone in them - including the well-off
  • How we can find positive solutions and move towards a happier, fairer future
    • Urgent, provocative and genuinely uplifting, The Spirit Level has been heralded as providing a new way of thinking about ourselves and our communities, and could change the way you see the world. 'A big idea, big enough to change political thinking'
        Guardian 'A remarkable new book ... the implications are profound'
        Will Hutton, Observer 'The evidence is hard to dispute'
        Economist Richard Wilkinson studied economic history at the London School of Economics before training in epidemiology and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School and Honorary Professor at University College London. Kate Pickett is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. Her work with Richard Wilkinson on The Spirit Level was shortlisted for Research Project of the Year 2009 by the Times Higher Education Supplement, and their book was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman.


Gardners
Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? The answer: inequality. This book provides hard evidence to show: how almost everything - from life expectancy to mental illness, violence to illiteracy - is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is.

Publisher: London : Penguin Group, 2010
Edition: Updated ed.. --
ISBN: 9780241954294
0241954290
Branch Call Number: 305 Wil 2010
Characteristics: xvii, 374 p. : ill
Additional Contributors: Pickett, Kate

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VRMurphy
Dec 01, 2014

The edition I received had an additional section in which the authors reply to their critics, which was interesting. Yes, choosing which countries to include are going to skew the results, but this book is still an interesting read. I found the written portions pretty tough going, so after a while read the charts and skimmed the commentary. The fact that I agreed with the hypotheses would have some factor in how I received the information.

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22950004968244
Jan 19, 2013

If you read this book the also pick up

The Spirit Level Delusion
Fact-checking the Left's New Theory of Everything
By Snowdon, Christopher

It's an intelligent dissection of the methods and arguments used in Spirit Level.

One interesting one is that they cherry pick countries that they include. If the include Singapore and Hong Kong, countries with high levels of inequality, many of the results in Spirit Level would be quite the opposite.

Spirit Level is good for a reading list on how to lie with statistics.

b
betweenthelines
Sep 13, 2012

An interesting book..but a long winded read for sure...more of a thesis than anything else...but exposes the tipping points of society-hopefully the info about the vast inequalities that are systemic will not be dismissed...
Cheers!

e
eastvanbookfan
May 21, 2011

The title is perfect, IMO. There is so much counter-intuitiveness in this book. Why would the rich be better off with less money, cars, toys than the rest of us? Impossible, I'd say but this book shows why it's in their interests, as well as ours. Equality is Better for Everyone (as the title says). I've been left feeling happier and hopeful about the world and I recognize I'm part of the problem.

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