Everyone's a Winner: Life in Our Congratulatory Culture

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Overview


Every kindergarten soccer player gets a trophy. Many high schools name dozens of seniors as valedictorians—of the same class. Cars sport bumper stickers that read “USA—Number 1.” Prizes proliferate in every corner of American society, and excellence is trumpeted with ratings that range from “Academy Award winner!” to “Best Neighborhood Pizza!” In Everyone’s a Winner, Joel Best— acclaimed author of Damned Lies and Statistics and many other books—shines a bright light on the increasing abundance of status in our ...
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Everyone's a Winner: Life in Our Congratulatory Culture

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Overview


Every kindergarten soccer player gets a trophy. Many high schools name dozens of seniors as valedictorians—of the same class. Cars sport bumper stickers that read “USA—Number 1.” Prizes proliferate in every corner of American society, and excellence is trumpeted with ratings that range from “Academy Award winner!” to “Best Neighborhood Pizza!” In Everyone’s a Winner, Joel Best— acclaimed author of Damned Lies and Statistics and many other books—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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sociologist Best (The Stupidity Epidemic) takes on the idea of status abundance in contemporary society. "At the newsstand," he explains, "I can find magazines rating the best colleges, hospitals, high schools, employers, places to live..." to such an extent that "Several times each day, I encounter claims that someone has been designated excellent by somebody else." Best (no pun intended) examines the implications of "status inflation" from several perspectives, including in the proliferation of the "hero" designation, the U.S. News college ranking system, and in K-12 education, there discussing the different approaches most of us take when considering our often failing school systems: "opportunity" advocates (concerned with racial/economic divides), and the more staunch "mastery tradition." The former argue for more recognition to boost self-esteem; the latter are concerned that rewarding sub-par students creates unrealistic expectations. Best presents both sides with clarity and vigor and is clever but never condescending. "Status affluence suggests that contemporary society has found more ways to assure more people that their lives have value and meaning," he notes, and despite the inherent humor to be found in this, Best finds something profound in our willingness to treat our world as meaningful. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Clever but never condescending. . . . Best finds something profound in our willingness to treat our world as meaningful. "--Publishers Weekly

"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."--Choice

"This is a very entertaining read."--Bookloons Reviews

"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."--Times Higher Education

"An enjoyable introduction to cultural sociology. . . . Enjoyable and easy to read writing style."--Sociological Research Online

Choice

“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.”
Bookloons Reviews - Bob Walch

“This is a very entertaining read.”
Times Higher Education - Les Gofton

“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.”
Sociological Research Online - Tristan Kennedy

“An enjoyable introduction to cultural sociology. . . . Enjoyable and easy to read writing style.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520267169
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/2011
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,005,799
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet 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.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments

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

Notes
References
Index

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    To to below on res three

    You are right about Emberclan, I still can't find Thunderclan, it must have been misspelled in the ad, help me find it please. And about judging the clans to my own standards, these are just typical standards people have when coming to clans, would your standards be any different? If they are I would LOVE (like legitly I am not being sarcastic) to know so I can adjust to nore standards for clans then my own

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