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Publisher's Summary

Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), spent four years traveling the country and asking economists, futurists, labor leaders, CEOs, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, and political leaders to help envision the US economy 25 to 30 years from now. He vividly reports on people who are analyzing and creating this new economy - such as investment banker Steve Berkenfeld; David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International; and Andy Grove of Intel.

Through these stories, we come to a stark and deeper understanding of the toll technological progress will continue to take on jobs and income and its inevitable effect on tens of millions of people. But there is hope for our economy and future. The foundation of economic prosperity for all Americans, Stern believes, is a universal basic income. The idea of a universal basic income for all Americans is controversial, but American attitudes are shifting. Stern has been a game changer throughout his career, and his next goal is to create a movement that will force the political establishment to take action against something that many on both the right and the left believe is inevitable.

©2016 Andy Stern (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[Stern] does a solid job of making his case without waxing too wild-eyed...This is a book eminently worth talking about." ( Kirkus)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator should find another job.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Change the narrator.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Couldn't get to the end.

Would you be willing to try another one of Chris Sorensen’s performances?

Yes. If another narrator.

Do you think Raising the Floor needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Don't know I couldn't get through it.

Any additional comments?

This narrator is extremely distracting, to the point that I couldn't even concentrate on the material presented. He sounds like a robot. Every sentence is read like it is the ultimate statement of the entire book, and also ends with drawing out last word. He excessively over-articulates. Very annoying!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Book is hyperbolic. Narrator is not an asset.

If I review this book in a quip, it is that I went in an avid supporter of the concept of a universal basic income, and I had to do my very best to still support the idea that both Stern and I support after listening to his book, because I found it in many places hyperbolic and exhausting. He lays out really only the far left justification for UBI. This is not a book that is likely to convince moderates, let alone libertarians, which is unfortunate, because many moderates and conservatives also support UBI. He speaks to a number of entrepreneurs, but his conversations with them are often antagonistic, and then his post-hoc consideration of them is often combative. It is also almost purely an emotional argument. What I had been looking for was a book that rigorously analyzed the viability of UBI and the factors that would make it succeed - this is really only a book on the motivational aspects. There is almost no critical analysis. There is discussion of pilots and trials elsewhere in the world, but almost none of it is critical and it is very surface. For instance, this book really takes no critical look at the challenges that have emerged in European implementations.

As another example of the surface nature of the book, he attacks Piketty, but he does this after admitting that he only read the first 60 pages of his book, and he clearly does not understand the full argument or the data Piketty provided.

The far leftishness of this book is also interesting in that Andy Stern is a really interesting character - he left SEIU to do this work, and he makes the argument, interestingly, that unions may not be the right vehicle for 21st century equity, something I did not expect to hear in this book (although it's a good argument). Outside of these unexpected departures, however, the tenor of the book is predictable from the outset.

In the end, this book is really only a strong recommend to individuals on the far left who have not considered UBI - in that case, he makes a strong argument that UBI might be a better use of US government funds than the myriad of current programs we offer as a social safety net. For everyone else, I guess the message is just that if we want to get this done, we're going to have to figure out how to get along, hold our noses, and just get this done.

The narrator is another issue... he has an exaggerated speaking style, that when meshed with some of Stern's more unreasonable positions, sounds comedic and absurdist. The narrator in this case, probably more than any Audible book I've listened to, is a serious disservice to the book.

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  • DF
  • 05-27-18

Interesting content terrible reading

The content is so interesting that it’s a shame the reading makes it almost unlistenable

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

More about Progressive Social Agenda then UBI

Would you try another book from Andy Stern and Lee Kravitz and/or Chris Sorensen?

Probably not.

What was most disappointing about Andy Stern and Lee Kravitz ’s story?

First 3/4 of book is about writers career in unions. Then instead of discussing UBI individually it blends it into a multi-faceted proposal including ideas such as raising the minimum wage, universal health care, shortening the work week and stronger unions.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Chris Sorensen?

Probably not.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really.

Any additional comments?

I gave it a fare chance. I wanted to expand my understanding of universal basic income and challenge my thinking. Unfortunately the subject was buried so deep in other ideological topics it was difficult to do so.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book, content. Well researched. All.

Would you listen to Raising the Floor again? Why?

Yes, however, the speaker/reader was really difficult to listen to. too pathetic, so much emphasis on his own performance that it takes away from the book. Reader should not be an artist/performance but the bridge to the listener. And, automatically, you associate the reader to the author to some degree. And I cannot imagine that Andy Stern wants to be associated with this voice/reader...

What other book might you compare Raising the Floor to and why?

Post Capitalism by Paul Mason. Although coming from a very different angle there are interesting parallels.

Did Chris Sorensen do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

No. Didn't like his voice at all!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing & Revolutionary

Absolutely amazing! An idea who's time has come and will make enormous positive impact for all of humanity.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful & I'll definetly share with everyone

The book was a bit "wordy", and could be 15% shorter without losing and information and would probably make it a more effective read. But overall a great book and I will recommend it profusely.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful

I loved it. listen to it and really consider all it has to offer. This is a real solution for all.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-19-18

An important voice

Andy Stern's book, Raising the Floor, joins the chorus of progressive voices in favour of Universal Basic Income. What sets this book apart is the personal story of its author, which is prominent on its pages and which gives me hope. The author's point of view feels very refreshing, since it's so rare to find a union guy - let alone a big league ex union boss! - who understands how obsolete the old labour markets are in responding to rapid structural changes.

Stern isn't afraid to challenge many taboos of the American left while retaining the spirit of solidarity that animates the labour movement. He sees how New Deal social democracy needs to change as a result.

I don't think he goes far enough in abandoning the piecemeal legislation, pro regulation, pro big government mentality, since he advocates for raising the minimum wage and mandating a shorter work week, but at least he acknowledges that these are, at best, short term policy solutions, while a UBI ought to be the long term solution.

Even if, as a libertarian, I disagree with him on many details, I admire his commitment to bipartisan dialogue and open-minded attitude into assessing the risks and rewards of the future. This should be mandatory reading for all social democrats across Europe and the United States.

Note about the audiobook: The voice performance sounds a bit strange in its accents and inflections, but it's perfectly adequate.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-16-18

Book good, narrator not so much

The narrator was putting me off for the whole book, made it difficult to listen, but that is just my personal taste I guess. The book is worthwhile to read and the experience of the lead author definitely puts some weight behind the concepts discussed in the book.