Download Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy Audiobook

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy Audiobook, by Christopher Hayes Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Chris Hayes, Christopher Hayes Narrator: Christopher Hayes, Chris Hayes Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9780449010068
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,232 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy. Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another –  from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball – imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters. How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite--one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it. Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit – utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom – produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives. Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age. Download and start listening now!


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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 2/11/2014

    " This is one of those books I want everyone to read. It made me think about politics and society in different terms and now I want to hear more from Chris Hayes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 P | 2/5/2014

    " Key concept, social distance, which allows the very rich to care only about themselves so wee al look like the 47 percent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will | 1/6/2014

    " I cannot recommend this book enough. It gave me a new framework with which to analyze current events, and it really distilled and clarified a lot of very opaque problems I have with the way the world works. You should read this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kifflie | 1/1/2014

    " Hayes gives a well thought-out argument about why the US system is so screwed up right now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 12/5/2013

    " Chris Hayes is not only the host and guiding force of the most intelligent and civil political talk show since "Firing Line," but also the author of "Twilight of the Elites," a timely and persuasive book. It argues that the very concept of meritocracy is flawed, and that its failure is in part responsible for our growing disillusionment with society's institutions. Each meritocratic elite will devise a host of ways to maintain its position and perpetuate itself, severely limiting upward mobility in the process. Sure, an occasional member of the lower classes may rise, but the mechanisms of meritocracy insure that such persons identify with the elite itself, thus depriving the regular citizenry of its most gifted potential leaders. This self-perpetuating elite will eventually develop its own insular and aggressive subculture, inevitably becoming out of touch, ill informed, and incapable of making intelligent, objective decisions. The resulting incompetence may be seen all around us: the Iraq war, the Catholic pedophile scandal, the inadequate response to Katrina, and the recent financial crisis. Our society operates on the assumption that if we work for equality of opportunity, we need not strive for equality of outcomes, but Hayes argues that, unless we find some means of lessening the widening income gap, the insularity of our elites--and their wrongheaded decisions--will continue to wreak havoc and produce disillusionment. The obvious solution is a return to a more distributionary tax policy, and Hayes--a cautious optimist--believes this could be achieved by a revolutionary activism that transcends party lines, encompassing both the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party. I can't claim to be as optimistic as Hayes, but he makes a compelling case and enriches it with a wealth of examples and anecdotes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 11/22/2013

    " Both frightened and warmed the cockles of my bleeding liberal heart. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kyle | 11/14/2013

    " Chris Hayes needs to write more often. This is a fantastic piece and is very thought provoking! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 10/29/2013

    " Leans a little too left, but pretty solid. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie | 10/15/2013

    " Chris Hayes took pretty much everything I stand for and put it into a book. This is something that everyone who cares about equality should devour. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathie | 6/26/2013

    " Good book, kind of a slow start but once I was into it, it was great reading. Confirms that all decisions made in America are by the top 1%, be it finance, government or religion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacquelyn | 4/8/2013

    " Even reading the acknowledgements was a joy! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tobias | 1/23/2013

    " A really fantastic account of the ways in which American institutions have, one after the other, failed to deliver and the ways in which American elites have become far removed from the people they govern. "

About the Author

Christopher Hayes is Editor at Large of the Nation and host of Up w/ Chris Hayes on MSNBC.  From 2010 to 2011, he was a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.  His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times MagazineTime, the American Prospect, the New Republic, the Washington Monthly, and the Guardian. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Kate and daughter Ryan.