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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.  

These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favour of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the promise that 'you can make it if you try'. And the consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fuelled populist protest, with the triumph of Brexit and election of Donald Trump.  

Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the polarised politics of our time, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalisation and rising inequality. Sandel highlights the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success - more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility and more hospitable to a politics of the common good.

©2020 Michael J. Sandel (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Tyranny of Merit

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a unified theory of discourse as we know it

such a phenomenally good concept, I think the tyranny of merit beautifully explains european and American politics now. I would love to recommend it to friends but unfortunately the book is too repetitive and solutions to the problems explained are weak. I wish he had a better editor! just listen to his interview on the podcast reasons to be cheerful you'll save 10 hours

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Thought provoking and rewarding

I’m new to Audible so I don’t know if it’s usual for the author to read but Michael Sandel’s voice is so distinctive that it’s an essential element to my overall assessment. I found his thesis struck a profound cord with me and one that society as a whole should be clamouring to hear. One needs to concentrate of course but he lays out his argument methodically and calmly by which I mean that his tone is neutral, not judgement as I at first expected, and won me round convincingly over the course of the book. His analysis makes eminent sense of many events of recent past and gave structure to my own unarticulated thoughts.

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Towering, complete, perfect

Every academic, professional, cosmopolitan, graduate, higher than average income earner (or should we say “taker”, should read this book in front of a mirror and then ask whose fault it is that Brexit, Trump and other forms of populism are unravelling liberal democracies.

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Well written critique of meritocracy

Sandel's book is a lucid discussion of the 'rhetoric of rising'. it's an informed critique of meritocracy/credentialism and its role in the rise of right-wing populism.
Sandel's reading is to be commended too.

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Beautifully humane, almost spiritual

Loved the message and gave me warm fuzzy feelings.
Completely resonated with the message of returning to humility and being less harsh towards those who are not lucky enough to have certain traits deemed to be of "value" and "high in merit". A stance against elitism, and one that stands with many people driving the populist movements.

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A really important book

I am a fan of Michael Sandel's clarity of thought and reliable moral compass, and this book does not disappoint. It makes explicit some of the ideas that are so much part of our social fabric that they are like the water we swim in, invisible and absorbed by osmosis -- and it sets forth the most plausible and realistic assessment I have ever heard of the causes of the current wave of populism, not only in the U.S. but across the world.

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Highly recommended

A well read and comprehensively put argument that's enjoyable and accessible to non academics. Thank you 🙏

It would be interesting and helpful for further reading if the audio book included a bibliographic document .

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One of the most important books ever written

Michael brilliantly discusses the divisive issues we and our future generations face. Merit has encroached on every fabric of society and contributed to the huge divide that may end terribly for us all.

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For anyone who has ever asked “how the hell did we end up here?”

This book posed as many difficult questions about the future as it answered about the past. And it answered many. It’s always good to listen to Michael speaking in a way that I would imagine is his lecture style. Not that my SAT scores would ever get me a seat. We are at a crossroads. We know that the current system is broken. What is asked in this book is whether or not we know why? And if we agree with his hypothesis, are we part of the solution or do we collude in its continued existence because we’re part of the winning group? Are the turkeys going to vote for Christmas? I found it an excellent read and have already ordered a copy of Michael Young’s book to see how the Labour Party could have so completely mis-read what he was saying. I suspect our Society lacks the humility to realise a 180 degree turn is needed. Machiavelli, wrote pithily about the problem
That this sort of change in position entails. I’m not sure we have the wisdom to embrace the change the world requires. Pity, it would be a much better place if we did.

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EXCELLENT

Thank you for this book.We needed it as a society to get our facts straight.

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  • Julio
  • 14-03-21

Great book!

Brilliant ideas to improve mankind and society. Even though it focuses on American society, the same principles apply to make other societies more humane and give their less favored members the opportunity of a happier life.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-12-20

Before revolution

Great analysis of the predicament most developed societies have landed. I find my own actions hugely influenced by the meritocratic bias. I never questioned it, I was on the receiving / winning side of that reality. It is really worth reconsidering the whole meritocratic construct. But, I am afraid not much of the criticism would ever be adopted, the rich and powerful will have too much too lose.

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  • Mr R Davies
  • 03-11-20

So important for our time of tumult

If only everyone could read this book, the world would have a chance of organising itself in a fair fairer and just way. Brilliant in every way:

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  • Seretse Small
  • 10-10-20

thought provoking and inspiring

loved it! will listen again. it has challenged my notions of systems of reward and success.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-20

Interesting point

This is the 4th books I read following Justice What is the right thing to do?, what money can’t buy? and Public Philosophy and this book by Mr. Sandel. When we look back in the past and it’s become even more evident now that society seem to praise on the more educated and success is measure on the level of wealth and opportunities to govern the less unfortunate and low income, in which would create even more inequality and income gap, to put Meritocracy in perspectives, we all need to understand the limit of merit system and how we look at our success that is suggested in this book, but in term of practical, it would be other challenging !