Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $18.00
  • Save: $5.56 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Spirit Level: Why Gre... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: There is no writing or highlighting throughout the book. The pages & cover have some wear. Overall, the book is in really good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger Paperback – April 26, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.44
$7.09 $4.04

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$12.44 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
  • +
  • The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future
Total price: $22.52
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Wilkinson and Pickett make an eloquent case that the income gap between a nation's richest and poorest is the most powerful indicator of a functioning and healthy society. Amid the statistics that support their argument (increasing income disparity sees corresponding spikes in homicide, obesity, drug use, mental illness, anxiety, teenage pregnancies, high school dropouts—even incidents of playground bullying), the authors take an empathetic view of our ability to see beyond self-interest. While there are shades of Darwinism in the human hunt for status, there is evidence that the human brain—with its distinctively large neocortex—evolved the way it has because we were designed to be attentive to, depend on, and be depended on by others. Wilkinson and Pickett do not advocate one way or the other to close the equality gap. Government redistribution of wealth and market forces that create wealth can be equally effective, and the authors provide examples of both. How societies achieve equality, they argue, is less important than achieving it in the first place. Felicitous prose and fascinating findings make this essential reading. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Wilkinson and Pickett make an eloquent case that the income gap between a nation's richest and poorest is the most powerful indicator of a functioning and healthy society…Felicitous prose and fascinating findings make this essential reading.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)

“In this fascinating sociological study, the authors do an excellent job of presenting the research, analyzing nuances, and offering policy suggestions for creating more equal and sustainable societies. For all readers, specialized or not, with an interest in understanding the dynamics today between economic and social conditions.” ―Library Journal

The Spirit Level will change the way you think about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, especially if you live in the United States. You will reexamine what it means to be successful, how you will seek and achieve personal satisfaction, and what you owe your fellow citizen.” ―Jo Perry, BookBrowse.com

“It has taken two experts from the field of public health to deliver a major study of the effects of inequality on society. Though Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are British, their research explores the United States in depth, and their work is an important contribution to the debate our country needs.” ―Robert B. Reich, from the foreword

“Might be the most important book of the year.” ―Guardian

“Fascinating and deeply provoking…The Spirit Level does contain a powerful political message. It is impossible to read it and not to be impressed by how often greater equality appears to be the answer, whatever happens to be the question. It provides a connection between what otherwise look like disparate social problems.” ―David Runciman, London Review of Books

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608193411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608193417
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I welcome this book. It is a superb summary of the problems that inequality actually creates. Inequality issues are often presented as being about the poor, but this book shows that we are all poorer for living in more unequal societies. Inequality is as bad for the rich as it is for the poor. Society is poorer as inequality becomes greater.

The impacts of inequality show up in poorer health, lower educational attainment, higher crime rates, lower social capital, lower trust, lower co-operation the more unequal the society becomes. Wilkinson and Pickett give us clear evidence for these statements.

For the last twelve years we have endured in the UK a Labour government that preaches equality (then wonders "equality of what?") whilst actually presiding over increasing inequality and reducing social mobility.

Wilkinson and Pickett present their evidence well, in summary and clearly. I have the benefit of having been reading the research work on inequalities over several years so I recognised their evidence. If you need further evidence then you could follow the references, or read some of Wilkinson's The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier earlier works, or Michael Marmot's useful book, "The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity." Their presentation of evidence is strong, and it is difficult after seeing their evidence to argue in favour of greater inequality at all.

Inequality is clearly a bad thing for a society, and its constituent individuals.
Read more ›
7 Comments 197 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Pickett and Wilkinson have put together a very interesting study of the results of income inequality on societies. They examined the wealthiest countries in the world, comparing the top and bottom 20 percent for income, as well as all 50 US states. What they found in their comparisons, which use data from WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and numerous other reputable scientific organizations, is that those societies where income inequality is greater have increased social problems across the board.

Among the wealthiest nations, Japan was found to have the least inequality between the wealthiest and poorest, and the US and the UK to have the highest. Rates of such problems as lack of trust between people, mental health issues, teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates and crime were found to be higher along the same continuum as the income inequality scale. The continuum was identical among the 50 US states.

Pickett and Wilkinson found that countries or states which expended more public funds on education and welfare also had lower rates of the problems they studied, which flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that using funds in this fashion creates social problems. They provided some interesting possibilities for relieving the inequality gap, including employee ownership of companies and increase taxation of the super-wealthy.

Overall, this is a fascinating look at the sociology of income equality. The problems in unequal societies were not limited to those at the lower end of the spectrum, as one might expect, but were found all the way across the board. Well worth reading for those with an interest in sociology.

(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)
Comment 64 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents the thesis that many ills of today's society (obesity, mental illness, rates of drug abuse, ...) can be attributed to large income inequality. The authors make this point using two-dimensional scatter plots, with income inequality on the x-axis, the prevalence of some form of social ill on the y-axis, and dots in the plot representing individual countries. These plots generally show a positive correlation between income inequality and various social ills.

As a statistician, I would like to comment on the soundness such argumentation: unfortunately virtually all graphs are plagued be a confusion of correlation with causation. The authors typically argue that, since measurements A and B are correlated, either A is causing B, or B is causing A. However, in almost all cases it is easy to find a third factor C that is causing A and B, meaning that the conditional correlation of A and B given C is zero.
(A silly example: Men tend play more computer games than women. Men also tend to be physically stronger than women. Hence, across the population there is a positive correlation between A="the amount of time spent playing computer games", and B="physical strength". But surely nobody would proclaim that playing a lot of computer games makes you physically stronger, or vice versa. In fact, this correlation disappears when controlling for C="gender".)

Figure 7.2 is a prime example of the flawed argumentation in this book. It shows income inequality on the x-axis and obesity rates on the y-axes for various developed countries, together with a regression line that apparently indicates a positive relation between these two quantities.
First of all, the result is entirely driven by a single country, the US.
Read more ›
9 Comments 103 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger