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Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs Hardcover – May 4, 2015
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Winner of the 2016 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book, Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association
Co-Winner of the 2016 Distinguished Book Award, Sociology of Law Section of the American Sociological Association
Co-Winner of the 2016 Silver Medal in Career (Job Search, Career Advancement), Axiom Business Book Awards
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2015
"Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs is an academic book with the requisite references to gender theory and Marxist concepts of inequality. But read it carefully and it becomes something far more useful--a guide on how to join the global elite."--Economist
"[Rivera's] richly described account is mesmerising--and horrifying."--Gillian Tett, Financial Times
"[Pedigree] provides an insider look at how top-notch places hire, and explores how their processes serve those with the most privileged and affluent backgrounds."--Bouree Lam, The Atlantic
"Sociologist Rivera has written an exceptionally useful study of how hiring for elite starting jobs is actually done in the US. This insider study shows how the top investment banks, law firms, and consulting companies hire only from a double handful of leading universities, law schools, and business schools. . . . This significant sociological study will also likely be read as a how-to manual."--Choice
From the Back Cover
"In this riveting account of how the nation's top investment banks, consultancies, and law firms choose employees, Lauren Rivera goes inside the recruitment process, interviewing the interviewers and sitting in on their decision meetings. This eye-opening book exposes how the American elite keep the best jobs for themselves."--Frank Dobbin, author of Inventing Equal Opportunity
"Pedigree provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at the hiring processes for elite jobs. Rivera's thoughtful ethnographic observations illuminate exactly how social class matters, and how the display of cultural skills can be crucial for job seekers to gain access to elite positions. It is an eye-opening book."--Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania
"Rivera identifies the myriad ways that class influences every stage of the hiring process at top-tier firms, showing how it is that individuals from affluent backgrounds have come to dominate the most elite segments of the American labor market. She pulls back the curtain time and time again, revealing how processes that are apparently class, race, and gender neutral are anything but."--Elizabeth A. Armstrong, coauthor of Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality
"Pedigree sets a new standard of rigor for qualitative social-science research. Rivera shows how educational stratification in the United States is particularly pronounced and caste-like at the gateway to elite professions, and how the boundary between elite colleges and the elite firms that recruit from them is so fuzzy as to be only ceremonial."--Mitchell L. Stevens, author of Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites
Top Customer Reviews
"Pedigree" is not a "how-to" guide for joining elite firms. (Again, I'm not exactly sure why it's being promoted as such.) Rather, the book is an easy-to-read text that details/gives an overview of Rivera's research on hiring practices at a few investment banking, consulting and law firms. The insight the book offers is certainly not new for anyone familiar with these industries, but Rivera (heavily influenced by Bourdieu) offers a succinct, beautifully written sociological analysis of a world that is foreign to many -- and one that has not received much attention from academics.
I found the book a pleasure to read, though I found Rivera's analysis slightly repetitive and her presentation of nontraditional candidates who succeeded in accepting offers (chapter 10) lacking. I do look forward, however, to following her work in the future, and I am impressed by her life story (from a single-parent home in L.A. to Yale to Northwestern's Kellogg). Overall, this is a great read for scholars/professionals/laypeople who are interested in exploring the state of our "meritocracy" and are excited by the growing publication of "popular" books about American educational inequality ("Our Kids;" "Privilege;" etc).
Rivera has done society a service by illuminating the unspoken norms against which all applicants to these top employers are judged. These norms, like the need to show participation in a team sport (or similar significant time commitment in a familiar group activity), or the ability to seize and hold the floor in a conversation about serious subjects, are unremarkable features of upper class life. However, they are not the natural outcomes of being raised in a poor family, and outside of attending a boarding school on a scholarship, there is nowhere you can go to learn them. So, although none of these norms overtly discriminate against applicants who are not rich, white Anglo-Saxons (though there are incidents of blatantly illegal discriminatory acts in the book too), their net effect is to largely screen out people whose lives do not resemble those of the wealthy. The book is worth reading in order to see this process in action, or for would-be applicants, even to structure your college years and take other non-obvious steps in preparation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was excited for this book to be great because it is an innovative topic but having gone through much of what they discuss I didn't find the thesis particularly well supported and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Taylor
Great read. I love the time Lauren A Rivera dictated to in developing hands on experience before writing the book. ESP companies were a great choice to focus on.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting take on the job recruitment process. I would definitely recomend to any college students interested in pursuing careers in consulting/banking/lawPublished 4 months ago by Adam
Pathetic, whiny liberal, wants-a-participation-trophy s***e. Don't waste your time.Published 5 months ago by Gary Slinger
I wanted to give this book 4 stars because of its rigor, but I'm going with 3 stars because the book annoys me. Why am I annoyed? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Irfan A. Alvi
The author shows through extensive and detailed study the impact of class (socioeconomic status) on hiring at elite firms. Read morePublished 6 months ago by elizabeth carroll
Teacher had us read this for class. A very insightful book on the inner workings of stratification within the hiring process of elite companies. Read morePublished 6 months ago by HeatSeekingGhostofSex