The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us
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The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Disney chairman Michael Eisner topped the 1993 Business Week chart of America's highest-paid executives, his $203 million in earnings roughly 10,000 times that of the lowest paid Disney employee. During the last two decades, the top one percent of U.S. earners captured more than 40 percent of the country's total earnings growth, one of the largest shifts any society has en...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Penguin Books (first published 1995)
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Robert Frank and Philip J. Cook have written a most interesting book that explains why the salary of a typical American executive today is 120 times that of the average manufacturing worker when it was 35 times that in 1974; why "the incomes of the top 1 percent more than doubled in real terms between 1979 and 1989, a period during which the median income was roughly stable and in which the bottom 20 percent saw their income actually fall by 10 percent."

The authors reject the arguments that the...more
Mark Oppenlander
I hesitate to call something "important." Like many adjectives in our sensationalized media-circus of a world, I think that the word "important" has been overused. However, I don't think I can get away without using that term here. This book really draws attention to some concepts that we should all be aware of and that we should all probably still be talking about, even though the book first came out in 1995.

I found this title on a list of "best business books" provided to me by a colleague. Bu...more
Doc Opp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Ford
What's the adage: Go with the number two guy, 'cause he'll work harder than number one. The authors do good work in discussing weaknesses in a unregulated economy.
Edwin Seno
Dec 10, 2013 Edwin Seno rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: John Seno
The authors have given an interesting outlook to winner-take-all markets that I've always thought reflected the intrinsic functioning of the human civilization. I am a firm believer in capitalism and free markets so initially, I adversely found the book 'Marxist' in nature. But as I read it, I opened up to the remedies offered for a more equitable society. I at times found the illustrations very out-dated but I understand the book was published in 1995. Anyway, a very good read for anyone with a...more
this book explores the age old prisoner's dilemma in many fields and how, if left unchecked, could lead to lose-lose situation. Relative performance vs absolute performance is the key.

however it's still very hard to change, given the inertia and payoff (from an individual perspective). I thought what could be discussed more is what an individual could possibly do in order to break away from this syndrome. And hopefully the effort will somehow snowball into noticeable change that can benefit soc...more
Jul 27, 2011 John marked it as to-read
Standard economic theory tells us that free markets will efficiently balance supply and demand. But what if "supply" or "demand" are relative to the behavior of others in the market? Then the market outcome which is 'optimal' for each individual may not be optimal for scoiety as a whole. This book shows how, with a wide variety of examples.
Sean Chick
One of the only books to address this issue in the 1990s. Now it is hot button issue. I wish it was better written but otherwise I liked it.
Fred R
Interesting idea, and all the it gets stretched pretty thin. More evidence and less speculation would have helped.
I've read this book 5 times. Although the thesis isn't new, its application to contemporary phenomena is illuminative.
John Hoag
A belated thank-you to Ed Rosenberg for recommending this
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Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and a Professor of Economics at Cornell University's S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management. He contributes to the "Economic View" column, which appears every fifth Sunday in The New York Times.
More about Robert H. Frank...
The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class The Return of The Economic Naturalist: How Economics Helps Make Sense of Your World Luxury Fever: Weighing the Cost of Excess

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