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Michèle Lamont's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Michèle Lamont recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Michèle Lamont's favorite book recommendations of all time.

In real life, Mitchell Stevens is a professor in bustling New York. But for a year and a half, he worked in the admissions office of a bucolic New England college that is known for its high academic standards, beautiful campus, and social conscience. Ambitious high schoolers and savvy guidance counselors know that admission here is highly competitive. But creating classes, Stevens finds, is a lot more complicated than most people imagine.

Admissions officers love students but they work for the good of the school. They must bring each class in "on budget," burnish the statistics so...
Recommended by Michèle Lamont, and 1 others.

Michèle LamontThis book is about the process by which American universities and liberal arts colleges decide who they will admit. (Source)

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Paying for the Party

How College Maintains Inequality

Two young women, dormitory mates, embark on their education at a big state university. Five years later, one is earning a good salary at a prestigious accounting firm. With no loans to repay, she lives in a fashionable apartment with her fianc�. The other woman, saddled with burdensome debt and a low GPA, is still struggling to finish her degree in tourism. In an era of skyrocketing tuition and mounting concern over whether college is "worth it," Paying for the Party is an indispensable contribution to the dialogue assessing the state of American higher education. A powerful expos� of... more
Recommended by Michèle Lamont, and 1 others.

Michèle LamontThe argument of the book is that the university is oriented toward facilitating the objectives of the upper middle-class, and that student life is oriented around a path that working-class students don’t have the resources to pursue. Thus, the university is contributing to the reproduction of class inequality in the way that students experience college. (Source)

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Engines of Anxiety

Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability

Recommended by Michèle Lamont, and 1 others.

Michèle LamontThis is a very important book. It connects the movement toward growing quantification of performance with growing inequality. The authors show that once law school rankings started being published, many of the law schools started adjusting their programs to improve their standing in the very dimensions that were being measured. (Source)

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Durable Inequality

Charles Tilly, in this eloquent manifesto, presents a powerful new approach to the study of persistent social inequality. How, he asks, do long-lasting, systematic inequalities in life chances arise, and how do they come to distinguish members of different socially defined categories of persons? Exploring representative paired and unequal categories, such as male/female, black/white, and citizen/noncitizen, Tilly argues that the basic causes of these and similar inequalities greatly resemble one another. In contrast to contemporary analyses that explain inequality case by case, this account... more
Recommended by Michèle Lamont, and 1 others.

Michèle LamontThis is a very influential book. Durable Inequality is a systematic analysis of how sociological identity strengthens inequality. (Source)

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Americans are taught to believe that upward mobility is possible for anyone who is willing to work hard, regardless of their social status, yet it is often those from affluent backgrounds who land the best jobs. Pedigree takes readers behind the closed doors of top-tier investment banks, consulting firms, and law firms to reveal the truth about who really gets hired for the nation's highest-paying entry-level jobs, who doesn't, and why.

Drawing on scores of in-depth interviews as well as firsthand observation of hiring practices at some of America's most prestigious firms,...
Recommended by Michèle Lamont, Angela Pham, and 2 others.

Michèle LamontThis book has been recognized as quite important. Lauren Rivera analyzed the culture of the elite employers, focusing on law firms, investment banks and management consultancies. She sat in on job interviews and the deliberative process of elite firms assessing applicants. Her argument is that class shapes the selection process. (Source)

Angela PhamAn academic exploration of how coveted legal, financial, and consulting jobs are filled, which is frustratingly unfair and tipped in favor of the wealthy. But every chapter offers lessons that any job seeker can benefit from. I reworked my resume because of this book. I interview candidates more thoughtfully now, too. (Source)

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