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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2018 Anand Giridharadas (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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)

"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)

"Provocative and passionate... This damning portrait of contemporary American philanthropy is a must-read for anyone interested in 'changing the world."" (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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Wow: A searing review a CHARADE we need to face squarely

I have long thought that Anand was “an interesting guy on the scene”.
His cogent observations and truth-telling experience are really a hopeful assessment of the new realities which are confounding for many of us. Valuable read. Worthy of your time, for sure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Stinging indictment of globalists

Really shows the paradox of the globalists. Their logic is inconsistent. Doesn’t really answer any problems, though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It's hard to know what to make of this book.

Giridharadas raises a really important question, and he offers the beginnings of an analysis that has the potential to really re-think our relationship with society as intellectual and economic elites. However, the question I am left with is whether his book, that criticizes the McKinsey way for cramming concepts into stock organizational schemes and criticizes Mr. Trump for having been the worst example of the very thing he campaigned against, is this same thing, itself. That is, Giridharadas offers interesting anecdotes and interview testimony from others like himself, but he never really goes beyond scratching the surface. He begins the book with a fairly pre-existing hypothesis and never critiques or tests this hypothesis. And as he, as he admits in the acknowledgements (which is, in many senses, the best chapter of the book and is well worth the listen), he has been, again and again, part of the problem himself.

I'm just not sure this book is also not part of the problem and not part of the solution. At its best, it presages the book that actually needs to be written, that actually critically analyzes and assesses this situation, and real investigation into potential answers and possibly scalable models for solving this kind of disproportionate and self-interested impact that we have as economic and influence elites (by way of disclosure I am a consultant and I am sure that I, too, am frequently part of the problem).

I do want to say, on the positive side, Giridharadas self-narrating is perfect. His style is perfectly matched to his writing. His fast talking, glib way of quoting his interviewees fits with the half-thought, intellectually lazy ideas he encounters. He was an outstanding narrator in all respects.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Richsplaining

When your last books you've read are by Chris Hedges and Matt Taibbi this sucked.

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Brilliant insights, heavy thoughts<br />

Anand is honest and bold you will love the book. The attention to detail is displayed in every chapter.

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Eye opening and thought provoking

This is a very well written, thought provoking book. It should help people reframe the major issues of our times.

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Great book presenting a new perspective

loved it! his perspective is unique.in the acknowledgements he tells the story of why he wrote this book

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Eye-opening. Now the world makes more sense.

This rings true to me. I really identified with the young Georgetown student's struggle to make sense of how best to contribute in a way that is congruent with her values.

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The Emporer has no Clothes

Anand has the courage to say - the Emporer has no clothes. As the crisis builds and hopocrisy amongst the elites reigns it is at least gratifying that some do recognize the real problem. Humanity has always operated by two principles: might makes right; and the many serve the few. Society always reverts back to the mean - the wolves just change their skins. Will we; can we learn? Anand suggests we "may" be able to.

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A brave and important book

As a Trump supporter this book helped me to realize that there are others out there who DO NOT support Trump, but feel the way that I do about the elitist oligarchy that is trying to make the world into their image. They preach transparency, but meet in Aspen or Davos behind security and locked doors to make decisions that impact all of us. Whether it is Trump or someone else, we need to elect leaders who will stand with those outside the etherial walls of the elitist enclaves. This book was the most refreshing one I have read in years. It is brave. It is required reading.

I don't give it 5 stars because some of the chapters go too long for my taste, but the culmination of the story is what matters.