Customer Reviews for

Working Poor: Invisible in America

Average Rating 4.5
( 53 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A job very well done!

Mr. Shipler is as interesting to listen to as to read! It is quite apparent that the federal poverty level is not accurate to conceal the continued downward spiral of the what was once the middle class. The average pay for an employee of walmart Lowe's Target or Home ...
Mr. Shipler is as interesting to listen to as to read! It is quite apparent that the federal poverty level is not accurate to conceal the continued downward spiral of the what was once the middle class. The average pay for an employee of walmart Lowe's Target or Home Depot is probably what the minimum wage should be.Many companies overstate the value of benefits to employees to exaggerate their 'overall value', a combination of wages plus benefits(many of which the employee cannot afford to partake of) which makes even your average retail worker look like they are 'doing good' but in reality are not. I know of many who barely have enough to eat and some who have been homeless while working(working very hard i might add) let alone save for retirement or a home. Until America wakes up to the suffering within it, the ranks will continue to grow with functionally poor workers.

posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not bad

I honestly do not remember much about this book just a couple of months after reading it. I guess that says enough about it.

posted by 1407765 on May 30, 2009

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  • Posted February 25, 2013

    Making the Invisible Noticed After researching the many

    Making the Invisible Noticed

    After researching the many well written books on poverty and homelessness in America, I decided to read The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David Shipler. Throughout the book, the author describes how many Americans get trapped in poverty, struggling all their life to escape. Without proper education and skills, combined with difficult housing situations, the working poor population of America often never stop working entry level jobs, making monthly payments and surviving off less than desirable conditions. Shipler immersed himself in the topic and performed years of research and observation on the working poor families in America, and by reading this book I think that one can not only further learn about the difficult living conditions of millions of fellow Americans, but it will also help the reader further appreciate how much entry level workers do at their jobs everyday.
    While I was reading this book, I noticed a few powerful messages and themes. The first thing that struck out as very interesting to me was how the author describes the lack of goods of entry level workers, even though they deal with these items everyday. Examples of this are a man that works at a car wash, but can not afford a car himself; a school teacher that can not afford schooling or babysitting for her own children while she is at work. The second major theme that I noticed as I read this book is how nearly impossible it is to escape from poverty once a family is in this situation. To pay the bills and get food on the table for the whole family, often times families have to borrow money to pay for everything that their minimum wage income does not cover. Once they have some debt, it just keeps growing, and this sucks someone into a never-ending cycle. To make more money, one must gain more skills or more education; the difficult thing is, to gain these things, it costs a lot of money, concluding that it is very difficult to escape poverty in America.
    I really liked how the author did a lot of research and involved himself in the culture of the topic. This helps spread the message and stories straight from the source: the millions of working poor Americans. I didn’t dislike much about this book, but if I had to list one thing, it would be how it was a little hard for me to keep a valid attention span while in the middle of the book, but only at rare times.
    Someone should read this book because it really helps one understand that there are millions of other Americans going through similar struggles. I would also recommend the book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, to anyone that enjoyed The Working Poor: Invisible in America.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    review

    When i first started reading this book, i thought it was going to be one of those boring books, that talks about how much people make, and a bunch of numbers that i didnt care to read about. I was definitely proved wrong. It really gives you a different perspective on the economy and poverty. There are a large majority of people out there that go to work everyday just to barely get by. I enjoyed this book because in reality you always hear how well off people are, how they have these good paying jobs, and for once its a book talking about how the lower class is surviving and the stories behind the faces you see everyday. It shows how no matter who you are, everyone has there failures in life, some bigger than others, but it doesnt mean you can't overcome them and still set out to be the best you are able to be. The life stories in this book are inspiring and touching,it makes you think twice about how you view someone. It lets you know how the American System works, how screwed up it is, and how most companies will try and get away with paying there workers as little as possible. Nothing will ever be changed, unless we as a nation try and do something to change it ourself.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2007

    A job very well done!

    Mr. Shipler is as interesting to listen to as to read! It is quite apparent that the federal poverty level is not accurate to conceal the continued downward spiral of the what was once the middle class. The average pay for an employee of walmart Lowe's Target or Home Depot is probably what the minimum wage should be.Many companies overstate the value of benefits to employees to exaggerate their 'overall value', a combination of wages plus benefits(many of which the employee cannot afford to partake of) which makes even your average retail worker look like they are 'doing good' but in reality are not. I know of many who barely have enough to eat and some who have been homeless while working(working very hard i might add) let alone save for retirement or a home. Until America wakes up to the suffering within it, the ranks will continue to grow with functionally poor workers.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2013

    Having to read this book for my economics class, I¿m glad I did

    Having to read this book for my economics class, I’m glad I did so. I would have never thought anyone would have to go through what I read in the book. Having to have to worry about how to feed their kids, how to make it to work on time, not having enough money to pay bill, is a sad truth that many go through dad by day. It was an eye opener to appreciate my family and education that I receive each day. Not to take anything for granted because many don’t have the opportunities that I have. The stories Shipler shares in his book is exactly what no one wants to grow up and have to worry about. This book did an excellent job depicting the many lives in America that are right on the poverty line that are in a constant struggle. For me it wasn’t just an assignment that I had to do but a reality that could await for anyone if one is not wise in the choices they make in life. After every page that I read, I took it as a mini lecture of life. To learn from the mistakes others have made is very important.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    When I first got this book I thought it was going to be boring,

    When I first got this book I thought it was going to be boring, but I judged it wrong. I really like it because the
    people he writes about are the ones who sew your clothes, do your gardening, pick up your crops, and hand you
    your coffee at the local convenience store. They are your neighbors, your fellow citizens, maybe some of them are
    even your friends. And relatives. 

    The working poor, invisible in America tries to discover why in a land of plenty we have so many who go without
     the very basics like food, shelter, education and health care. Those who do without are working are working the
    very jobs others say they should take.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    Mitt Romney and Carl Rove should read this book before making an

    Mitt Romney and Carl Rove should read this book before making any more comments about a world sbout which they know nothing. The majority of the 47% are working with their hands and trying to survive on wages most of us would find too small to imagine. Shipler allows us through his interviews and their reports to travel to a foreign land, the land of hrad work with few rewards.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2011

    Highly Recommended--Reality lies within its pages!!

    The Working Poor by David K. Shipler, really explains how people in America that are on the border of the poverty line or under the federal poverty line struggle to maintain an honest living. While some people in the middle class or upper class take things for granted we never stop to realize that some people who really have nothing in comparison are struggling to stay alive. Although some of the people made some bad choices in the past, this book describes their struggles to try to get back on a steady route. But they are average people black, white, asian, latinos who are trying to earn an honest living and trying to pay their bills and work full time rather than go on welfare. So I highly recommend you read this book because in the end you will be able to understand and follow the lives of a few people and were they are now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    Not bad

    I honestly do not remember much about this book just a couple of months after reading it. I guess that says enough about it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    I´m Impressed By All Readers Reviews !

    Presently The U.S. Is Facing Economic BailOut Of The Big Money Entities Resulting From 'InAppropriate Mortgage and Credit Practices'. I am looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the time that all of the readers put into submittng a review on this subject...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    What the reader must consider is that all too often the workers Shipler speaks of are worse off than those they serve. There is a very good chance that if a worker at the hotel you stay in, restaurant you eat at, or the Walmart,Lowe's,Home Depot,etc. you shop at has that job as their only income with no spouse to help, pension,side business, investments,inheritance,etc. they may be struggling to have a basic place to live, eat or maintain a car. I know several who have lived out of motels or their cars or skip meals or drive cars illegally not because they want to but because they cannot afford not to. The employers mentioned pay low, usually offer little or no overtime and have bonus plans that amount to little practical help. Many people in these jobs are subject to restricted job opportunities or are facing the hostility so endemic to workers over 40 in the marketplace and are as such captive workers for these businesses. Many of these workers have most impressive backgrounds but are simply out of luck and forced to help customers who are light years beyond them in financial stability.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2006

    The problem cannot be overstated!

    This is an excellent,well-written book! Companies often do not pay or offer good benefits because of poor profits but consider this: 1)1 car repair, 2 hours with an attorney, or the deductible on some employee health plans can equal most if not the entire 40 hour week paycheck for a Walmart,Menard's, Home Depot, Target, Lowe's,Days Inn,Holiday Inn,Shaws,McDonalds,Wendy's,7-11,regal Cinema,Blockbuster Video,Citizens or Bank of America and many,many more employees. 2)Companies are now integrating productivity,timekeeping and scheduling software together.By having select employees work harder and harder and harder, the productivity expectations go up and up causing fewer people to be working and servicing customers. Witness Lucent Technologies, Home Depot and others and you will see the trend. 3) Employees of Dunkin Donuts and Home Depot and more do not get regular employee discounts.Nor do they get commissions on sales. 4) Some companies such as a major retailer permit ongoing harassment by not balancing workloads(making some individuals work much harder than others)to skew productivity data,ultimately ending in job loss and poorer service to customers 5) Many employers in the USA apparently feel the worker should be happy to eat at all or have a home at all for their efforts at work. Does American business and policymakers care about their workers? Why do some companies allow hard dedicated workers to be harassed and languish while their detractors have virtual no show jobs? 6) More and more companies are using and implementing 'demerit' or 'point' systems for any deviation from work schedules no matter what the reason. Take an extra 1/2 hour to help a customer at a major retailer and the employee suffers because of it. Why are companies applying military discipline on civilian workers? Ponder this when you walk into a major retailer. 7) Why do businessmen allow salary multiples in the hundreds,thousand or tens of thousands to every dollar earned by a low -level employee? When is enough enough? The bible tells us when plowing our fields to leave some left over for the poor. Are businessmen doing this? 8)In Deuteronomy every 7 years debts should be extinguished. But our revolving credit system is based on years upon years of payback time all the while generating substantial interest and fees. Our system is designed to mask deceptions in the true modern poverty level by allowing people to acquire credit to offset income deficiences and perpetuating the illusion of supplemental income for DECADES.Do not address the poverty level and people will absorb the hit with credit. The country looks much more solid financially and egos are boosted for bragging rights as we point fingers at the poor nations of the world.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Whats holding back americas poor

    As I read about the many stories of poverty and suffering, in this book. I realized that some times the hard work and the dreams of success are some times not enough to stay out of poverty in America. This book portrays the poor as people who either have made very bad chooses in life or have just given up all together, with the occasional person who works hard and is over powered by sickness or other misfortune. I would like to believe that there are more people who have worked hard but have come across difficulties along the way, forcing them into poverty. The points made in the book are still very interesting and worth taking a look at. I would recommend this book to someone interested in the learning more about the roles of the poor in our economy, or about the politics involved in the poor of america.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    when I first started to read this book I wasn't interested but t

    when I first started to read this book I wasn't interested but than I started reading about the families that go through crisis and go through daily struggles just to make ends meet for their families. going to a job that only pays 4 dollars an hour and getting welfare checks get taken away everytime they get paid for on their checks which isn't much more that they get its an amazing book and I recommend it to everyone

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  • Posted March 9, 2014

    A "sister" book to Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel a

    A "sister" book to Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed".  Both books feature detailed accounts of approximately 1/3 of America's workers still not making a living wage after doing jobs most of us haven't done since high school.  Necessary before you talk about poverty in America.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Highly recommended.

    I like the approach used to write about such an important topic in current economic times.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    i love this book

    i love this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    This book was very eye opening and really showed me the true dif

    This book was very eye opening and really showed me the true difficulties of the working poor in America. Not only did this book teach me things i never knew but it made me realize that we take the simple things for granted. These people simply want to get their children through school and have fun going to the movies just like any middle class family. This book really showed me how difficult it is to climb the ladder of wealth. What upsets me is that no matter how hard these people try, they usually can't seem to get a raise and that is very unfair and upsetting to me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Esther

    A good message people work so hard but get so little

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2011

    You much check it out!!!

    While reading, I realized that many hard working people have to go through suffering to survive in this world. It does not matter where you come from or where you live, everyone has their ups and downs. This book portrays the lives of people holding themselves to not fall into poverty or who are in poverty. Either they made wrong choices or they had no other choice in life. The people in the book have to live from paycheck to paycheck. I recommend this book because the author analyzes the situations of real working poor people and makes you think about what this people have to go through every single day.

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  • Posted November 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Informative Book

    David Shipler does a great job in terms of investigating those who work but are still poor. He shows that poverty can affect anyone. This book reaffirms the insights that most Americans have, that the solution to our economic and social woes lay somewhere between the Republican and Democratic platform.

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