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Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
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.
About the Author
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS is the author of The True American and India Calling. He was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016, and has also written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. He is an Aspen Institute fellow, an on-air political analyst for MSNBC, and a former McKinsey analyst. He teaches journalism at New York University and has spoken on the main stage of TED. His writing has been honored by the Society of Publishers in Asia, the Poynter Fellowship at Yale, and the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
A New York Times bestseller | Named one of The New York Times "100 Notable Books of 2018" | Named one of NPR's "Best Books of 2018" | Named one of the Financial Times "Books of the Year" | Named one of The Washington Post's "50 Notable Works of Nonfiction" | One of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Best International Nonfiction” books of 2018 | One of the GreenBiz “10 Best Climate and Business Books of 2018”
“Entertaining and gripping . . . For those at the helm, the philanthropic plutocrats and aspiring 'change agents' who believe they are helping but are actually making things worse, it’s time for a reckoning with their role in this spiraling dilemma. I suggest they might want to read a copy of this book while in the Hamptons this summer.” —Joseph E. Stiglitz, The New York Times Book Review
“Anand Giridharadas takes a swipe at the global elite in a trenchant, provocative and well-researched book about the people who are notionally generating social change . . . Read it and beware.” —Martha Lane Fox, Financial Times, “Books of the Year 2018”
“Impassioned . . . That Giridharadas questions an idea that has become part of the air we breathe is alone worth the price of the book, and his delicious skewering of the many who exalt their own goodness while making money from dubious business practices makes for entertaining reading.” —Bethany McLean, The Washington Post
“One of the most insightful and provocative books about what’s going on in America that I’ve read in years.” —Senator Brian Schatz (Hawaii)
“The past years have seen some outstanding books on how philanthropists and their dollars have shaped public policy . . . [Anand Giridharadas] zeros in on what he sees as a glaring hypocrisy among affluent elites: that while many well-meaning (and well-off) Americans claim to want to improve society's inequalities, they don't challenge the structures that preserve that inequality, not wanting to jeopardize their own privileged positions.” —Jessica Smith, NPR, “Best Books of 2018”
“Important . . . [An] empathic tone gives the book its persuasive power to touch the hearts of even those readers, like myself, who are the targets of its criticism.” —Mark Kramer, Stanford Social Innovation Review
“An extraordinarily important book.” —Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief, Huffington Post
“Important . . . [Winners Take All] levels a devastating attack on philanthrocapitalism.” —Benjamin Soskis, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
“Indispensable . . . A lacerating critique.” —Chris Lehmann, In These Times
“Provocative and passionate . . . This damning portrait of contemporary American philanthropy is a must-read for anyone interested in ‘changing the world.’” —Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)
“A challenging, provocative & bold book. I don’t agree with all of Anand’s critiques . . . but I encourage everyone to read the book & think hard about his take on the social sector.” —Mark Tercek, CEO, The Nature Conservancy
“Giridharadas makes a compelling case . . . [He] ultimately succeeds with Winners Take All by adopting a temperate approach that creates space for a conversation.” —David Talbot, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Anyone following the debate about the role of philanthrocapitalists, corporate foundations or tech billionaires in solving the world's problems will want to watch for this new book.” —Jena McGregor, The Washington Post
“[A] landmark new book.” —Darren Walker, president, The Ford Foundation
“[Giridharadas] has delivered a clarion call that will be a fixture on my syllabus and bookshelf.” —Megan Tompkins-Stange, assistant professor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan
“This is a very difficult subject to tackle, but Giridharadas executes it brilliantly . . . This must-have title will be of great interest to readers, from students to professionals and everyone in-between, interested in solutions to today’s complex problems . . . Winners Take All will be the starting point of conversations private and in groups on alternatives to the status quo and calls to action. An excellent book for troubled times.” —Booklist
“In Anand’s thought-provoking book his fresh perspective on solving complex societal problems is admirable. I appreciate his commitment and dedication to spreading social justice.” —Bill Gates
“An insightful and refreshing perspective on some of the most vexing issues this nation confronts. This is an important book from a gifted writer whose honest exploration of complex problems provides urgently needed clarity in an increasingly confusing era.” —Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy
“A trenchant, humane, and often revelatory investigation by one of the wisest nonfiction writers going.” —Katherine Boo, author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers
“Winners Take All is the book I have been waiting for—the most important intervention yet regarding elite-driven solutions, a vitally important problem to expose. The book courageously answers so many of the critical questions about how, despite much good will and many good people, we struggle to achieve progress in twenty-first-century America. If you want to be part of the solution, you should read this book.” —Ai-jen Poo, director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
“A brilliant, rising voice of our era takes us on a journey among the global elite in his search for understanding of our tragic disconnect. Thought-provoking, expansive, and timely.” —Isabel Wilkerson, author, The Warmth of Other Suns
“Winners Take All boldly exposes one of the great if little-reported scandals of the age of globalization: the domestication of the life of the mind by political and financial power and the substitution of ‘thought leaders’ for critical thinkers. It not only reorients us as we lurch out of a long ideological intoxication; it also embodies the values—intellectual autonomy and dissent—that we need to build a just society.” —Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger
“In this trenchant and timely book, Anand Giridharadas shows how the winners of global capitalism seek to help the losers, but without disturbing the market-friendly arrangements that keep the winners on top. He gives us an incisive critique of corporate-sponsored charities that promote frictionless ‘win-win’ solutions to the world’s problems but disdain the hard, contentious work of democratic politics. An indispensable guide for those perplexed by the rising public anger toward ‘change-making’ elites.” —Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets