BookBrowse Reviews The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson

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The Spirit Level

Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

By Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson

The Spirit Level
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  • Hardcover: Dec 2009,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2011,
    352 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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Based on 30 years of research, this book examines how economic inequality determines the health and well-being of a society.

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.

Epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett studied income inequality in America's 50 states and the 23 richest countries in the world - excluding those with populations below 3 million, those that are tax havens, or those from which they could not get reliable data - to track the effect of income equality on quality of life, health and life expectancy, rates of violence, social mobility, and educational performance. What they found is that equality and inequality are infectious: the more economically equal a society, the happier, healthier and more sane and peaceful it becomes - not just for ...

A note regarding the title: The Spirit Level has two meanings - while one will be obvious to all, the other maybe lost on those who are not British. A "spirit level" is the common British term for what others refer to as a bubble level - a device used for determining whether a surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Thus the title could be read as referring to both the balance of equality and also the spirit of the people engendered by that balance.

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