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France's Got Talent: The woeful consequences of French elitism [Kindle Edition]

Peter Gumbel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If France were a TV show, it would be "France’s Got Talent," a fiercely competitive contest to show off how clever you are. For the tiny number selected, the rewards are huge. These are the self-confident, sometimes arrogant, people at the pinnacle of French society, the government ministers and especially the civil servants in their cabinets, the CEOs of companies, the top financiers.
But unlike reality TV, this is not a contest that values a multitude of different talents: the winners tend to be the same sort of people from the same schools who take part in competitive exams for which they have prepared since childhood.
Unfortunately for France, the contest is bad for the nation as a whole. Those chosen aren’t always the best suited for the role, while the losers are marked for life. The entire contest is flawed.
At a time when France is struggling to maintain its place in the world, its pervasive culture of elitism is a handicap, not an advantage. Is it possible to change it?
Peter Gumbel, a veteran journalist who has worked for TIME Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, draws on international comparisons, academic research and extensive reporting from his 11 years spent in Paris as a foreign correspondent, to put France's elitist system under the microscope. But he also provides a compelling inside look at one of the pillars of the elitist system, the ultra-selective university Sciences Po, where he spent two years working in senior positions, including as Director of Communications, just as the institution plunged into the worst crisis in its 140-year history.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 364 KB
  • Print Length: 118 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CMMF0S6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #357,231 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Peter Gumbel is a veteran foreign correspondent based in Paris, where he writes books, teaches at the university Sciences Po and freelances for publications including TIME Magazine.

Before moving to France in 2002, he spent 16 years at the Wall Street Journal, working as a correspondent in NY, Paris, Berlin and Moscow. He also served as the Journal's Los Angeles bureau chief.

He has written three books about France. The most recent, "France's Got Talent," (the original French title is "Elite Academy") is an essay about the pervasive culture of elitism, and its woeful consequences. It was published in May 2013.

He has won several prestigious journalism awards, including two from the Overseas Press Club of America. In 2006, the London-based Work Foundation named him Journalist of the Year.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars France's Elite 19 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellently written essay on the elitist system in France and makes a fascinating read.
I recommend it to anyone interested in the business culture of other countries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wanted a wider perspective 15 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting short book - narrow perspective - I am sure the author could have widened it out a little ...however as far as it goes it is very insightful. Made me look again at the so called left in France's politics -
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