Ambitious and disturbing. . . Markovits forcefully interrupts the comfortable bath of self-flattery in which our well-graduated professionals pass their hours.
New York Times Book Review
"The Meritocracy Trap defines a central issue of our age: the rise of new elites who, unlike their aristocratic forebears, seem to have the moral high ground. The system is rigged in a different way, but it's still rigged all right."
We've been waiting for the Big Book that explains America's wrong turn. Daniel Markovits has supplied it. The Meritocracy Trap is a sociological masterpiece a damning indictment of parenting and schools, an unflattering portrait of a ruling class and the economy it invented. Far too many readers will recognize themselves in his brilliant critique, and they will feel a rush of anger, a pang of regret, and a burning desire to remake the system.
Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind
Provocatively weighing in on growing inequality, Daniel Markovits weaves a disturbing tale of merit and social division. Pulling no punches, he warns us that meritocracy is a trap, fetishizing certain skills and endless assessments. Markovitz shows in exquisite detail the perverse link between an upper class education and elite jobs and how together they enrich the few, while devaluing and demoralizing the rest.
Jerry Brown, former governor of California
At once wide-ranging and rigorous, subtle and penetrating, Markovits's book is revelatory both in its particulars and in its big picture. Anyone who wants to argue about the merits of meritocracy must take account of this book.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law, NYU and author of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity
Daniel Markovits has written a bold, brave critique of the meritocracy-backed version of inequality that prevails today. He argues persuasively that meritocracy is destructive and demoralizing for winners and losers alike. Challenging conventional wisdom, Markovits shows that technological change is not a fact of nature that happens to increase the value of highly credentialed workers; instead, the prevalence of credentialed elites calls forth technologies that bias the labor market in their favor and hollow out the middle class. This is a splendid book that should prompt soul-searching among meritocrats.
Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
The system is rigged. And the culprit, Daniel Markovits argues, is meritocracythe same ideal that was supposed to promote fairness. Brilliant, lucid, and urgent, The Meritocracy Trap exposes a national catastrophe.
James Forman Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own