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What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets Paperback – 2 May 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241954487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241954485
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

One of the most popular teachers in the world (Observer)

Sandel is touching something deep in both Boston and Beijing (Thomas Friedman New York Times)

The most influential foreign figure of the year (China's Newsweek)

Few philosophers are compared to rock stars or TV celebrities, but that's the kind of popularity Michael Sandel enjoys in Japan (Japan Times)

One of the world's most interesting political philosophers (Guardian)

What Money Can't Buy selected by the Guardian as a literary highlight for 2012 (Guardian)

America's best-known contemporary political philosopher ... the most famous professor in the world right now... the man is an academic rock star [but] instead of making it all serious and formidable, Sandel makes it light and easy to grasp (Mitu Jayashankar Forbes India)

An exquisitely reasoned, skillfully written treatise on big issues of everyday life (Kirkus Reviews)

Sandel is probably the world's most relevant living philosopher (Michael Fitzgerald Newsweek)

Mr Sandel is pointing out [a] quite profound change in society (Jonathan V Last Wall Street Journal)

Provocative and intellectually suggestive ... amply researched and presented with exemplary clarity, [it] is weighty indeed - little less than a wake-up call to recognise our desperate need to rediscover some intelligible way of talking about humanity (Rowan Williams Prospect)

Brilliant, easily readable, beautifully delivered and often funny ... an indispensable book (David Aaronovitch Times)

Entertaining and provocative (Diane Coyle Independent)

Poring through Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel's new book ... I found myself over and over again turning pages and saying, "I had no idea." I had no idea that in the year 2000 ... "a Russian rocket emblazoned with a giant Pizza Hut logo carried advertising into outer space," or that in 2001, the British novelist Fay Weldon wrote a book commissioned by the jewelry company Bulgari ... I knew that stadiums are now named for corporations, but had no idea that now "even sliding into home is a corporate-sponsored event" ... I had no idea that in 2001 an elementary school in New Jersey became America's first public school "to sell naming rights to a corporate sponsor" (Thomas Friedman New York Times)

A vivid illustration ... Let's hope that What Money Can't Buy, by being so patient and so accumulative in its argument and its examples, marks a permanent shift in these debates (John Lanchester Guardian)

In a culture mesmerised by the market, Sandel's is the indispensable voice of reason ... if we ... bring basic values into political life in the way that Sandel suggests, at least we won't be stuck with the dreary market orthodoxies that he has so elegantly demolished (John Gray New Statesman)

What Money Can't Buy is replete with examples of what money can, in fact, buy ... Sandel has a genius for showing why such changes are deeply important (Martin Sandbu Financial Times)

Michael Sandel ... is currently the most effective communicator of ideas in English (Guardian)

Sandel, the most famous teacher of philosophy in the world, has shown that it is possible to take philosophy into the public square without insulting the public's intelligence (Michael Ignatieff New Republic)

A book that can persuade people that the rules of the economy don't just reflect our values, they help to determine them (Ed Miliband New Statesman)

Fascinating exploration of the alarming encroachment of market philosophy on so many aspects of our lives (Alexander McCall Smith The Herald)

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His legendary 'Justice' course is the first Harvard course made freely available online (www.JusticeHarvard.org) and on television. Hiss work has been translated into 15 languages and been the subject of television series in the U.K., the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and the Middle East. He has delivered the Tanner Lectures at Oxford and been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne, Paris. In 2010, China Newsweek named him the "most influential foreign figure of the year" in China. Sandel was the 2009 BBC Reith Lecturer, and his most recent book Justice is an international bestseller.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not read yet but Sandel is genius. The book is great quality and hardback which i hadn't realised. Excellent value and quick service..Book without marks other than a tiny bend in the dust cover.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok, but somewhat limited. Doesn't go far beyond the obvious.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating and immensely readable given the subject matter, which could easily have been rendered dry by less expert treatment. Sandel is a rare philosopher with a brilliant grip on markets. This is exactly what philosophy should be: interesting, relevant and impassioned.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Sandel always manages to combine a philosophical outlook with clarity and humour. He always impresses and I have a huge admiration for him
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book and seller! Worthy to buy!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Michael Sandel. His series on Justice show what an inspired and inspiring teacher his is. He clearly has great affection for his students and they for him. Video clips are also available of Sandel discussing and debating in other contexts.

This book, though, was a disappointment. In essence it is a long list of things that should not be for sale, but which are. His response to these issues is to use his binary approach e.g. 'there are two reasons why this is wrong', 'this causes two problems'. This is a linguistic tic that he uses both in lecturing and in writing. I have often tried to get to the bottom of why there are only two reasons, or two problems!

I got the impression that the writing of this book was rushed. It certainly would have benefited from a very thorough edit. As it stands, the book is often repetitive and sometimes inconsistent. Just one (not two!) examples will suffice - and I accept that it is not the most obvious one. In the book, Sandel has being writing about the crowing out effect. However, later in the book he writes of 'crowding out', in quotation marks, as indicated. It is as if he was introducing a new idea.

I found this book interesting for a very shallow reason. I enjoyed reading the odd things that could be bought. This either shows me up as a not particularly well rounded person or perhaps it is a reflection on the idea that the debate on these issues never goes very deep. On the other hand, Sandel's voice shines through the book, along with his wonderful, quirky sense of humour. It is, perhaps, rare that you can find yourself laughing out loud white reading a political philosophy book.
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By a on 27 Mar. 2017
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
not the book I expected
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Format: Paperback
In the U.S. Congress, some public can listen to the debate, but for the days you will have to wait your turn. The solution to that is offered by the company through which you rent a person who would stand in line for you. If you're a lobbyist and you need to listen very important discussion time of some homeless will be helpful who would thereby earn his $ 50 Something innocuous like standing in queue, as the most experienced, is particularly worrying in China where you stand in line for days or you have to pay the priority. At the hospital.

The issue of standing in the queue is the subject of the first chapter of the book written by most famous Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel. After the hugely successful 'Justice' Sandel explores and discusses the moral limits of markets. In the introduction he is defending against possible sentence that the book criticizes market economy: "The difference of the market economy is the following - the market economy is a good tool to increase productivity, but market society is a way of life in which the market value pervades all aspects of human endeavor." The era of market triumphalism ended, and since then things have started in the wrong direction; from the beginning of the crisis the public, instead to banks and the stock exchange speculators, turned anger to the government, to the politicians.

Why the issue of standing in queue is worrying? Economists, however, say that standing in queues is inefficient waste of time, shows that the offer did not meet the demand as a basic rule of economics. Pay someone to stand in line for you will improve efficiency by making people put a price on their time. But is it moral to look at it in this way, dividing people into those who can afford it and the other ones?
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