Synopses & Reviews
"Joel Best has a particular talent for making sociological ideas accessible to a broad audience. In Everyone's a Winner
, Best cleverly and entertainingly examines what he calls our increasingly 'self-congratulatory' culture. While not every book is a winner, this one surely is."and#151;David Grazian, author of Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society
"Joel Best has an uncanny ability to identify wildly interesting phenomena and help us better understand their sociological dimensions. His latest excursion on self-congratulatory culture provides an insightful analysis of our incessant quest for constant recognition and its social consequences. The book is a joy to read."and#151;Karen A. Cerulo, author of Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst
"Joel Best's lively prose and compelling examples paint a vivid portrait of the 'congratulatory culture' produced by the proliferation of awards, heroes, and rankings in modern America. Everyone's a Winner is a fascinating book, highly recommended for anyone interested in the status politics of contemporary society."and#151;Michael Sauder, coeditor of Inequality and Society
and#8220;Clever but never condescending. . . . Best finds something profound in our willingness to treat our world as meaningful. and#8220;
and#8220;In this pithy, witty, and wise little book, Best characterizes the college rankings arms race, the new hero, and the self-congratulatory US society. . . . Highly recommended.and#8221;
"This is a very entertaining read."--Bookloons Reviews
and#8220;We all want a way of getting the best for ourselves, but also solidity and a firmly grounded moral compass. He [Best] raises the interesting possibility that these ends are at least contradictory, and probably incompatible.and#8221;
and#8220;An enjoyable introduction to cultural sociology. . . . Enjoyable and easy to read writing style.and#8221;
and#8220;This is a very entertaining read.and#8221;
“An enjoyable introduction to cultural sociology. . . . Enjoyable and easy to read writing style.” Les Gofton - Times Higher Education
"The way that Best explains how to move from an abstract theoretical concept into the realm of observation and measurement is clear, thorough and powerful."
Every kindergarten soccer player gets a trophy. Many high schools name dozens of seniors as valedictoriansand#151;of the same class. Cars sport bumper stickers that read and#147;USAand#151;Number 1.and#8221; Prizes proliferate in every corner of American society, and excellence is trumpeted with ratings that range from and#147;Academy Award winner!and#8221; to and#147;Best Neighborhood Pizza!and#8221; In Everyoneand#8217;s a Winner, Joel Bestand#151; acclaimed author of Damned Lies and Statistics and many other booksand#151;shines a bright light on the increasing abundance of status in our society and considers what it all means. With humor and insight, Best argues that status affluence fosters social worlds and, in the process, helps give meaning to life in a large society.
About the Author
Joel Best is Professor of Sociology at the University of Delaware and the author of Damned Lies and Statistics, More Damned Lies and Statistics, Flavor of the Month, and Stat-Spotting, all from UC Press.
Table of Contents
1. Life in an Era of Status Abundance
2. Prize Proliferation
3. Honoring Students
4. Everyday Heroes
5. Ranking and Rating
6. The Significance of Congratulatory Culture