The Inner Level

How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Wellbeing
Narrated by: Finlay Robertson
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Inner Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, read by Finlay Robertson.    

Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, the answer to all these hinges on inequality.  

In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. 

It sets out the overwhelming evidence that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. A deep well of data and analysis is drawn upon to empirically show, for example, that low social status is associated with elevated levels of stress, and how rates of anxiety and depression are intimately related to the inequality which makes that status paramount.  

Wilkinson and Pickett describe how these responses to hierarchies evolved, and why the impacts of inequality on us are so severe. In doing so, they challenge the conception that humans are innately competitive and self-interested. They undermine, too, the idea that inequality is the product of 'natural' differences in individual ability. 

This audiobook sheds new light on many of the most urgent problems facing societies today, but it is not just an index of our ills. It demonstrates that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lays out the path towards them.

©2018 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-24-20

Bind blowing

Incredibly interesting, it's very accessible even for non-specialist. It really changed the way I look at the world now. Highly recommended

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  • Calum Buchan
  • 01-23-20

Is research driving ideology or ideology driving research conclusions?

Compelling presentation of data around inequality but conclusions seem to be a little bit uncritical of the socialist solution. It’s as if the 20th century didn’t happen. That said, still worth a read if you still think “greed is good”.

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  • wellbeing
  • 12-18-18

A powerful argument well made

A wider understanding of these challenging issues are vital to conceptualise and implement societal change.

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  • Ed Freshwater
  • 12-04-18

Thoughtful, challenging

I hesitate to say the performance is quite flat which makes this a tougher listen, but the writing is superb. a genuinely brilliant follow up to their previous work.

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  • chimene
  • 11-15-18

Essential Reading for the Privileged Classes

Drawing on countless peer reviewed studies, Wilkinson and Pickett folllow on from The Spirit Level with analysis that illuminates the causes of poor social outcomes. I love the way that this marvellous work validates what we all instinctively know to be true - that inequity creates suffering and the greater the gap in the income ratio, the more extreme the misery.

Encouraging a compassionate and unjudgemental world view, the Inner Level shows that all of us are moulded by our economic reality. It emphasises the likelihood that we follow the dominant modes of behaviour embedded at each layer of the economic order. A modern take on the idea that 'there but for the grace of God go I' - the Inner Level carries an urgent message to society to rein in income disparity and embrace community-centred economics before we reach a tipping point of neo-feudal oppression.