The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America

Daniel Brook, Author
Daniel Brook, Author . Times $23 (274p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8065-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-1276-1
Paperback - 274 pages - 978-0-8050-8801-4
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Twenty-something journalist Brook sees the best minds of his generation scrivening away as corporate lawyers and accountants, and he's furious about it. His fresh and striking pay-gap polemic laments the plight of "educated, idealistic young people" who must choose whether "to be a sellout or a saint"—that is, whether to take a lucrative corporate job or to eke out a pauper's existence in creative or nonprofit work. "The new economic realities," Brook writes, "are shaping people's lives, closing off certain career and lifestyle options. They are reducing freedom." Brook marshals facts and interviews to make his case for "more egalitarian economic policies." Decrying recent economic shifts that have widened the chasm between private and public sector employment, he skewers centrist "New Democrats" as well as usual-suspects such as William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan. Brook preaches too narrowly to the choir (proclaiming that "as is plain to see, the conservative philosophy is wrong"), and his solutions are limited to calling for "truly progressive taxation" and insisting that "the public sector should pay its professionals more." Still, many readers will wince in recognition of their work/life compromises. "Corporate America is riddled with secret dissenters," Brook notes; he does a real service asking why it must be this way. (June 1)

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