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The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us by [Frank, Robert H, Philip J Cook]
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The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 290 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"A major contribution to the debate about causes and consequences of inequality in America"
--The New York Times Book Review.

"Should be at the forefront of everyone's attention"
--Lester C. Thurow, Los Angeles Times

"Frank and Cook break new ground by linking the win-at-all costs mentality to economic and cultural problems."
--Business Week

"A fun, informative, and provocative read"
--The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Book Description

New from the bestselling author of The Economic Naturalist - now published in the UK for the first time

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1109 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Digital (3 Jun. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PJ6FSY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #239,206 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book seems to miss entirely the point that life is not and should not be judged on a strict monetary cost/benefit basis. People are not motivated solely by money. People who strive to reach the top and narrowly fail are not necessarily wasting their time. They might well benefit greatly from having made the effort and from the experience gained. And that benefit could be a monetary one but not necessarily. Sadly, the book struck me as a thinly disguised example of the economics of envy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although a little dated Frank provides a very useful critique of how neo-liberal capitalism has created an ever greater level of inequality within most modern societies.
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Format: Paperback
As CEO of the Santa Felite Corporation, I feel that it is impossible to understand the economy of the United States with out this book. I've had some of the same thoughts as these authors for quite a few years now. One of the top ten books of the century, I think I can.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a university module: 'The economics of film and television'. I was very much a beginner with economics, having not taken anything to do with it before, but I really enjoyed this book.

I found it easy to understand, but not because the ideas were really basic- just because it was written so well. It was really nice to read, enjoyable; like proper authors, not just people who are good at economics.

It was also quite compelling- I'm no expert at the topic, but still, they managed to persuade me to their point of view pretty easily!

Thoroughly recommend, either if you're studying the topic or just fancy a nice read on the subject area, from beginners to experts.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Read for Economists and Laymen 12 Jan. 2013
By Robert Mull - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some books seem best written for the advanced degree economist. Frank's book, on the other hand, is also a good read for the average citizen who is interested in understanding where our economy is today, how we got to this place, and possible paths forward. You will definitely feel better informed on the subject of our economy after reading Frank's book. I have heartily recommended it to all my friends, --- at least though that I think wish to advance beyond the sound bites of the political parties.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some novel ideas but weak on possible solutions 27 Aug. 2010
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author posits that markets of fixed size and involving zero sum winners (i.e., more inputs do not necessarily expand a market's size such as that for lawyers litigating anti-trust cases) where only 1 (or a very small number of players can win), have been growing and as a result that the top players, relative to everyone else, have seen their relative incomes grow. He cites, as examples of such players, movie stars, major league sports players and litigators at top law firms.

He makes the case that this is not socially beneficial for a number of reasons. One is that it leads to an over allocation of human resources to these fields. This happens as most persons are far too optimistic regarding their probability of being successful in such fields whereas, in reality, few would be. He provides considerable empirical evidence for the cast that such over optimism does exist. This leads to too many persons pursuing careers in such fields, a negative both for society and many of these same individuals as the overwhelming majority can never succeed in reaching the upper most pinnacles (or for that matter even being able to make a decent living in these fields).

In addition, these type of markets lead to great inequalities in wealth, too much conspicuous consumption and far too few resources allocated to public goods (i.e., schools, roads, etc.). With respect to the last item his argument is weak in that he does not make as strong a case for how increasingly inequality and conspicuous consumption lead to decreased spending on public goods.

The above arguments, in general, are novel and, more or less, logical. Where the book is weak, however, is in respect to the "solutions" proposed to remedy this problem. The author recommends implementing a more progressive income tax structure as a means of reducing the incentive to enter such markets. The main problem with this is that it would have to be raised significantly, from its current about one-third of top income earners income to, say, two-thirds (the author cites no specific numbers). This does not seem feasible, however, given the current political climate. In addition, raising the top rates does little to reduce the optimism most aspirants to these professions have in being able to make it to the pinnacles of these fields. Hence it does not tackle the true source of the misallocation problem.
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind of a socialist soap box book but I like the technology aspect 13 Feb. 2016
By Jonathan B - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kind of a socialist soap box book but I like the technology aspect. Read with a grain of salt.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 Jun. 2016
By Dr. Hans Schniewind - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written. Convincing points.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot has changed since 1995 26 July 2015
By L. V. Cipriani - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All in all, a pretty good book, but a lot has changed since 1995 when this book was written.

Some of the markets where "winner took all" are very different today than 1995, when this book was written. The best example of that is in the music and entertainment industries. In 1995 what you got to hear was mostly decided by big name gate keepers pushing big name entertainers. You have many more choices today. Some of those choices are worse, as good, or better than what was available before. What's important is the gate keepers don't get between us and what we want to see and hear. Most "winners at the top" of the entertainment market aren't making nearly as much as they used to. Big entertainment companies like SONY have seen their music sales revenue hammered. More entertainers are making some money. More entertainers are touring, fewer are making huge money selling music with little touring. Basically the pyramid has gotten flatter and wider. The bias at the old gate keepers was to push the biggest names, to the biggest markets, all to maximize revenue. As a result many talented people worked in obscurity or just gave up. Today you can watch cute cat videos online all day if you want to. You can listen to music made at the beginning of the jazz age. You can watch a South Korea prancing around like a fool. You can watch obscure films or listen to obscure music and never listen to the Rolling Stones, Madonna, or Lady Gaga again in your life. Now that's progress!

There's been progress in other markets too. You can buy direct products made by people all over the world today, not just whatever happens to show up at your local retailer or Amazon (by the way, it was established 1994). The cost of manufacturing certain products has been coming down, so that helps increase the number of producers, and the variety of products available. This is progress too!

There still are markets where "winners take all", sports stars or corporate stars are great examples of that. Other examples are the usual assortment of local monopolies and highly regulated markets who pay off politicians; e.g., taxi-cab monopolies are a great example of that, another are barber and cosmetology schools that get laws passed to require hair braiders to spend thousands of dollars on useless course work.

In those markets where "winner takes all" still sometimes the best solution is to change laws to free up competition or reduce barriers to entry.
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