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on 21 November 2015
As it happens I studied statistics at university so I could follow/balance the arguments. I suspect a "non-technical" audience could do with a bit more basic understanding. That said, it is a chilling critique on our modern political obsession with "competitive-wealth" rather than "common-well being". No politician should be allowed within 200miles of Parliament until they have read and understood its message.
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on 17 November 2009
This book was recommended to me by a Professor of Sociology. You may therefore think that that it would be too dry and dense a read. This is not the case. Whilst not a Steig Larsson page turner it is well written and makes a well argued and for me rather surprising point.

Initially I was concerned that their statistical analysis was incorrect. Having completed the book I now suspect that they have just not presented the detail in order to make the book more accessible.

That more equal societies treat the poorer members of society better is quite logical and commonly understood. That more equal societies improve the lot of everyone in that society is a quantum change in thinking. The authors of course do not consider that having the second £billion materially improves anyone's happiness, health, longevity etc. You have to decide for yourself if this is true or if you even care. However, from my observations it is true.

I would make this book compulsory reading for all political candidates. For every one else I would suggest that they ask their MP what they intend to do about it.
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on 14 August 2015
A very necessary book - proving beyond doubt, with a multitude of facts, that we'd all be much more content if the gap between rich and poor were not so huge: we humans tend to value ourselves by comparing ourselves with others rather than in absolute terms - and that's what we have to snap out of. "The Spirit Level" shows it can be done and has already been done in many other countries.
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on 1 November 2011
Every one should read this book.This book lays the foundations for most of the ills in our society,and why equality matters.
This book should be rammed down every politician and those advocating that greed is good for society.An equal society is healthier,wealthier and socially more desirable.This book will not convince those on the far right and pro-capitalist fundamentlists,and the selfish and greedy in society.i don't give damn about them.
I am a businesman and i do not want my grandson to be brought up in a greedy,selfish society.I always tell my sons that most businesmen are crooks,but most crooks are not businesmen.
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on 10 April 2018
Disturbing and fascinating read. It can be quite complex at times so best read when there are no distractions around.
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on 21 March 2013
To any political thinkers or sociologists this is well worth a read. It is not quite groundbreaking in its ideas but it is certainly valiant and meticulous in its compilation of research. The book is in one word... impressive. It uses a variety of different and largely reliable sources to push home its point; any claim, and I know some people have criticized this book, that data from the World Health Organisation and the United Nations (which are used frequently in this book) is bias or wrong is probably rather unfounded and I would also guess rather well funded. It provides an excellent argument for greater equality, though it does not really suggest which way to go about it, an argument which is especially relevant now as austerity measures across the Western world drive the wealth gap further apart.
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on 30 July 2010
This is a book that makes you think! As part of a team delivering critical thinking to final year education degree students we are using this very readible book to develop critical thinking. The authors cite a wealth of data to support their premise that the more unequal a society the worse that society actually feels - its an interesting concept that where there are extremes that society will never really be successful even if like the US and the UK it has the infrastructure and wealth for success - the gap between the haves and the havenots is too unequal and the society imposes its own stress on the haves making them unhappy!
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on 17 November 2013
This book is pivotal in developing an understanding of how inequality is at the root of so many of our social problems. A real antidote to the constant benefit-bashing that goes on at the moment. The book successfully demonstrates the true cost of the divide between the rich and poor (and those in between) and illustrates this well with diagrams and statistics.
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on 8 August 2010
Wow! A cracker of a book! I have, for a long time, felt that inequality was both morally wrong and harmful to the quality of life for all of us. With this book, Wilkinson and Pickett have done us all a great service by bringing together the results of their own and other people's research which shows that this is more than a feeling - it is a conclusion which is unavoidable for anyone who values evidence rather than self-interested opinion.
It is possible to quibble with some of the statistics. For example, where we are dealing with opinions, say to investigate aggression by asking a question like - Do you think you would do better than average in a fist fight, it is not clear that the distribution of the data is "normal" in the strict sense used by statisticians. That is an assumption, however, which is made by the standard calculation of regression (used by the authors). But even if they had used a safer form of analysis for those instances where it would be appropriate (like the Kendal Rank Correlation Test), I am sure the same or very similar results would have emerged.
You have to read this book to the end - every word. Some of its critics have clearly not done that, for the quibbles they have raised (in this list of reader criticisms for example) are answered fully in the later chapters.
My only reservation is that Wilkinson and Pickett have not dealt very directly with my own main reasons for hating inequality - (1) the distortion of the supply system which it causes (e.g. building houses for the rich is much more profitable than building them for the poor), (2) the greater access to political power for the rich which it enables (buy a peerage or make donations which ensure a lucrative contract) and (3) and the ability of the super-rich to filter, edit and distort the information we all receive through the news media (Fox News).
Read this book. Please read it. And if you do feel, in the interests of balance and open-mindedness, that you do need to read that other book (The Spirit Level Delusion, by Snowdon) then please also read the Equality Trust Website where you will see that Snowdon's objections have been comprehensively demolished.
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on 25 June 2015
An amazing, epiphany inducing book! It seems so insightful when reading it through first time but, on reflection all the salient points seem so obvious. It's clear, concise and based on evidence (well, incontrovertible correlations). It's a must read. It was suggested to me and I couldn't be more grateful for that suggestion!
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