The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett

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This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them-the well-off and the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem-ill health, lack of community life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populations-is more likely to occur in a less equal society. The book goes to the heart of the apparent contrast between material success and social failure in many modern national societies.The Spirit Level does not simply provide a diagnosis of our ills, but provides invaluable instruction in shifting the balance from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us, and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone. It is, in its conclusion, an optimistic book, which should revitalize politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organize human communities.

About Kate Pickett

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Richard Wilkinson has played a formative role in international research and his work has been published in 10 languages. He 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 Senior Lecturer at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. She studied physical anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at Berkeley before spending four years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago.
Published April 23, 2010 by Bloomsbury Press. 400 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better Richard Wilkinson and Kate PickettAllen Lane £20, pp320.

Apr 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level

The Guardian

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There are problems with this approach, and some of the relationships look rather weak, but on Wilkinson's home turf, health, the links between outcomes and income inequality do appear strong, and disturbing.

Feb 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level

The Guardian

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But The Spirit Level also contributes to a longer view, sitting alongside Richard Sennett's 2003 book Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality , and the epidemiologist Michael Marmot's Status Syndrome , from 2005.

Mar 13 2009 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level


The book The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkerson changed my views about what causes our most persistent, intractable, and consequential problems in modern societies, here in the United States and elsewhere.

Apr 06 2013 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level

The Bookbag

Summary: A meticulously researched and richly documented argument that proves how, in developed societies, inequality is connected to numerous social ills and how greater equality has a positive effect on the whole society and not just the poorest.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level

The New York Review of Books

Using US Census reports, I estimate that since 1985, the lower 60 percent of households have lost $4 trillion, most of which has ascended to the top 5 percent, including a growing tier now taking in $1 million or more each year.1 Some of our founders foresaw this happening.

Feb 23 2012 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level

Stanford Social Innovation Review

For example, inequality may have a stronger impact on the poor living in unequal societies, than the poor living in equal societies, but it may not have any effect on the rich living in different societies, or it may even improve the well being of rich living in unequal societies.

Feb 28 2010 | Read Full Review of The Spirit Level

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