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The Broken Ladder

Best Seller
The Broken Ladder by Keith Payne
  • Paperback $30.00

    May 02, 2017 | 352 Pages

  • Hardcover $28.00

    May 02, 2017 | 256 Pages

  • Ebook $14.99

    May 02, 2017 | 256 Pages

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“Drawing on experimental psychology, Payne argues that the amount of money you have is not the main determinant of well-being; what matters is how you feel about it. The problem of inequality is relational, not economic. Poverty unquestionably harms health, encourages bad decisions and creates instability. But the key message of Payne’s book is that people who are not deprived may act as if they are—because they feel relatively poor.”
—Aaron Reeves, Nature
“In a wide-ranging exploration of how we view ourselves in relation to others, Payne shows that ‘the social comparisons we make can alter how we see the world.’ . . . Smartly blending personal observations with recent research in psychology and neuroscience (his own and that of others), he details how our perceived relative position in the scheme of things plays a ‘critical role’ in shaping our biases, habits, and ideas. . . . In revealing vignettes, Payne describes how feelings of inequality help account for our political choices, unhealthy behaviors, racial prejudices, and tendency to seek meaningful patterns. . . . [Payne] provides valuable psychological insights into our daily behaviors.”
—Kirkus Reviews
The Broken Ladder advances a timely examination by a leading social scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality and the measures that people can take to lessen the harm done by inequality in their own lives.”
Publishers Weekly

“Keith Payne has written an eye-opening book with profound resonance for the state of our world. We all know that income inequality has dire economic and societal consequences, but The Broken Ladder shows that it has deep psychological impact too, affecting our decision-making, our mood and our health. A thoughtful look — and a rallying cry — into the way our environment shapes us all.”
—Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution and New York Times bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

The Broken Ladder’s examination of the consequences of inequality—of what it is like to be poor and to feel poor—is as profound as it is revelatory. Keith Payne is a lovely, graceful writer. Replete with gems of research studies, insights, and illuminating examples and implications, this book will change the way you think about your world.”
—Sonja Lyubomirsky , Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness

The Broken Ladder is an important, timely, and beautifully written account of how inequality affects us all. Though it surely plagues the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, Keith Payne expertly and engagingly shows that it also touches the wealthy and privileged. Payne marshals the cutting edge in psychology and neuroscience research to explain how inequality influences our political and religious beliefs, how we perform at work, and how we respond to stress and physical threats—and how we can combat its most insidious effects on our lives.”
—Adam Alter, Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School Business, and New York Times Bestselling author of Irresistible and Drunk Tank Pink

“Many books have been written on the effects of inequality on the economy. In The Broken Ladder, Keith Payne sheds fascinating insight into the pernicious effects of inequality on another complex system: human psychology.”
—Michael Norton, co-author, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending

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