The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Heather McGhee

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD - One of today's most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone--not just for people of color.

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Book Information

Publisher: One World
Publish Date: 02/16/2021
Pages: 448
ISBN-13: 9780525509561
ISBN-10: 0525509569
Language: English

What We're Saying

February 17, 2021

It is progressive economic conventional wisdom that racism accelerates inequality for communities of color, but what if racism is actually driving inequality for everyone? READ FULL DESCRIPTION

January 13, 2022

Heather McGhee's brilliant and beautifully written book examines the origins of the zero-sum narrative that is used to divide us as individuals and undermine us economically, and asks us to embrace instead the power and possibilities of the Solidarity Dividend. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

January 12, 2022

In the lead up to announcing the Porchlight Business Book of the Year (coming tomorrow, January 13th!), we have been sharing excerpts from each of the eight books on the shortlist for the award. Today, we have one from the Big Ideas & New Perspectives book of the year, The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 16, 2021

We didn't get everything we were hoping for out of 2021, but we got a lot of great books! READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 18, 2021

"The authors who make up this year’s Porchlight Business Book of the Year Awards longlist gift us with a feast of new ideas to explore and, even more valuable, a renewed sense of possibility.” READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 15, 2021

The best Big Ideas & New Perspectives books of the year take a magnifying glass to established expectations, unpacking why those ideas and norms exist, how they impact us all, and the many possible ways to go about changing them. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 14, 2022

The 2021 Porchlight Business Book of the Year has been released in paperback, and we have 20 copies available! READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD - One of today's most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone--not just for people of color. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND THE WASHINGTON POST - LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL - "This is the book I've been waiting for."--Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist Heather McGhee's specialty is the American economy--and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm--the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country--from parks and pools to functioning schools--have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world's advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare. But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can't do on our own. The Sum of Us is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.

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