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Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of…
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Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (edition 2018)

by Anand Giridharadas (Author)

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5351534,916 (4.14)24
An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can'except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. We see how they rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; how they lavishly reward "thought leaders" who redefine "change" in winner-friendly ways; and how they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm. We hear the limousine confessions of a celebrated foundation boss; witness an American president hem and haw about his plutocratic benefactors; and attend a cruise-ship conference where entrepreneurs celebrate their own self-interested magnanimity. Giridharadas asks hard questions: Why, for example, should our gravest problems be solved by the unelected upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by lobbying and dodging taxes' He also points toward an answer: Rather than rely on scraps from the winners, we must take on the grueling democratic work of building more robust, egalitarian institutions and truly changing the world. A call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike.… (more)
Member:pqfuller
Title:Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
Authors:Anand Giridharadas (Author)
Info:Knopf (2018), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, 304 pages
Collections:To read
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Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Loved this book. This has been a topic I've been very interested in. I feel like for the last few years, I have been reading and listening to things that help to give me tools to describe why Silicon Valley makes me very uncomfortable and why I don't think it should be a model for the rest of society. This book goes a lot broader than that and I loved everything it covered. I loved it as a sociology major but I would recommend it for anyone. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
"The winners of our age must be challenged to do more good. But never, ever tell them to do less harm." These are lines from a speech given by Anand Giridharedas, the author of this book, at the Aspen Institute which eventually led him to write this book. It is the central theme and driving force for the book and it really crystallized for me something that I was having trouble defining. I believe in solving problems through government and we have totally abandoned that idea for the "win-win" based world of private philanthropy. As he says "when a society helps people through its shared democratic institutions, it does so on behalf of all, and in a context of equality." I miss those days. The distrust of government, exacerbated by the crimes of Watergate and then boosted by President Reagan in the 80s has left us wide open to those who "weren't interested in making politics work better, but insisting on their own proprietary power..." This book is fascinating and it benefits greatly from the author's acknowledged insider status. The questions it asks are important and not easy to answer, but in the end it made me feel better to have read it, to remember the way we used to work together to make systems better instead of just making them so some people could make egregious profits. If we EVER fix the tax system to get back to a reasonable set of rates (hell, even the Reagan rates would be better than what we have now), if we strengthen labor laws so we don't allow companies to classify everyone as a contractor and not provide any steady wages or benefits, and if we provide an education system that lifts everyone in public schools then things can get better. I am so tired of the ubiquity of business talk in all segments of life and the elevation of the entrepreneur to the pinnacle of our society. Fixing the systems is what we need to be doing, not throwing some band aids at the symptoms. As Mr. Girdharadas says, "Generosity is not a substitute for justice." Far too often now we "replace civic goals with narrower concerns about efficiency and markets." Government should not be run like a business. I think we can all see that now. I am going to look at all the candidates for public office and really throw my support to those that want to fix things not figure that a rising tide will raise all boats. My only complaint about this book is that a couple of times he seems to circle back and introduce someone we have already met and there is some level of repetition throughout the book, but it is a very readable and understandable book that makes extremely important points. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Successful business people often like to use the phrase “doing well by doing good”. Whether they are designing new apps and software that create a new market and so increasing the size of the pie (think Uber and Airbnb), or supporting philanthropic work, the author argues that the financial elites are able to look good without truly doing well by society.

He gives the example of those paying very low wages to their workers and denying them health benefits, but donating very large amounts to medical projects such as a new hospital wing or clean water in Africa.

He differentiates between critics whose demands for change tend to make business leaders shut down and ‘thought leaders’ who advocate small changes withing the system that make no fundamental changes – ie teaching women to use more assertive body language while speaking to men.

He also tackles globalization, which creates businesses without local taxes to support education, infrastructure and hospitals within a community.

This was a selection for my Real Life Book Club, and it gave lots of food for thought and great discussion. Not an easy read in such a politically divided time, but it definitely expanded the way I view many current topics.

” Talking about the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and using philanthropic solutions rather than political solutions: “One could forget, watching such a civilized group, that traditional politics is argumentative for a reason. It isn’t that politicians don’t know how to be nice, but rather that politics is rooted in the idea of a big, motley people taking their fate into their own hands. Politics is the inherently messy busines of negotiating and reconciling incompatible interests and coming up with a decent plan, designed to be liked but difficult to love. It solves problems in a context in which everyone is invited to the table and everyone is equal and everyone has the right to complain about being unserved and unseen. Politics, in bringing together people of divergent interests, necessarily puts sacrifice on the table. It is easier to conjure win-wins in forums like this one, where everyone is a winner. The consensus was a reminder of all the kinds of people and perspectives that had not been invited in. “ p220 ( )
  streamsong | Jan 28, 2021 |
No idea what point the book is trying to make. It's a criticism of rich people acting in their self-interest (what a shocker). I don't really disagree with anything written I just don't think I learned anything or read any novel ideas that made me think. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
I read most of this title on a substitute flight from San Francisco after my original one was cancelled, so I was in an uncomfortable seat and trying to zone out. I say this because it was an apt setting, as the very frequent flyer next to me flirted with the flight attendant and they each tried to one-up the other in their respective knowledge of the American Airlines fleet. The premise is that we have no good reason to assume that the most wealthy in our society should have taken charge of all that they do, too often try to use philanthropy as a substitute for real problem solving, and aren't even very skilled at what they rule over. And the fact that this small group has largely segregated themselves from the rest of us is a corollary, enforcing further his main point. If you want the public sector to be strengthened and reclaim its work that has been contracted out, Giridharadas has the ideas for you. ( )
  jonerthon | Jun 5, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anand Giridharadasprimary authorall editionscalculated
AlexRozCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lew, BettyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SpantomodaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stroh, MackenzieAuthor photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vorhees, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I sit on a man's back choking him and making him carry me, yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible . . . except by getting off his back.

Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence
Social change is not a project that one group of people carries out for the benefit of another.

Letter to Bahá'í from the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel
Dedication
FOR ORION AND ZORA
and the more than 300,000 children born today,
with hope that you will see through our illusions
First words
All around us in America is the clank-clank-clank of the new – in our companies and economy, our neighborhoods and schools, our technologies and social fabric.  (Prologue)
Her college mind heavy with the teachings of Aristotle and Goldman Sachs, Hilary Clinton knew she wanted to change the world.
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An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can'except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. We see how they rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; how they lavishly reward "thought leaders" who redefine "change" in winner-friendly ways; and how they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm. We hear the limousine confessions of a celebrated foundation boss; witness an American president hem and haw about his plutocratic benefactors; and attend a cruise-ship conference where entrepreneurs celebrate their own self-interested magnanimity. Giridharadas asks hard questions: Why, for example, should our gravest problems be solved by the unelected upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by lobbying and dodging taxes' He also points toward an answer: Rather than rely on scraps from the winners, we must take on the grueling democratic work of building more robust, egalitarian institutions and truly changing the world. A call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike.

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Contents: But how is the world changed? -- Win-win -- Rebel-kings in worrisome berets -- The critic and the thought leader -- Arsonists make the best firefighters -- Generosity and justice -- All that works in the modern world.
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