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The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead

Callahan, David

ISBN 10: 0151010188 / ISBN 13: 9780151010189
Published by Harcourt, 2004
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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This Stated First Edition book is Autographed and inscribed by the author on the title page. This book is in fine condition. The binding is tight and pages are clean. It appears to have not had use. The dust jacket is in very good condition with minor bumps and scuffs. The inscription reads: "To Eileen, Best.". Bookseller Inventory # 017938

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are...

Publisher: Harcourt

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title


From Publishers Weekly Newspapers have reported on many cases of corporate fraud at the highest executive levels in the past two years, but Callahan cites other instances of people going to often questionable lengths to succeed. It's estimated that half of all major league baseball players are taking steroids to enhance their strength and performance. Many attorneys regularly overstate their hours to stay competitive with their colleagues. To get into the right college, high schoolers will turn in papers written by tutors, while their parents shop for psychologists willing to diagnose a learning disability to gain extra time on the SAT. Callahan, director of public policy center Demos and frequent TV commentator, has a simple explanation for this proliferation of cheating. In a cutthroat economic climate, everybody wants to get ahead, and decades of deregulation have made it easy to bend the rules. He further argues that when the middle class sees wealthy cheaters get away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, it inspires them to follow suit. A fairly obvious premise, to be sure, but the book's strength lies in tying together assorted detailed descriptions of cheating throughout the system and explaining the connections between disparate acts like r'sum' inflation, tax evasion and illegal downloads. He offers straightforward, commonsensical solutions, including increased funding for federal enforcement agencies. Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Cheating, argues author David Callahan, is no longer the exclusive purview of lowlife criminals, slick hucksters, and shady characters with ace cards shoved in secretive places. Now everyone's doing it and because everyone sees everyone else doing it, they keep on doing it. Callahan says the trouble begins in America's brutally competitive economic climate, which rewards results and looks the other way when it comes to the ethical and even criminal transgressions of those who come out on the winning end. Certainly there is no shortage of examples of cheating from the business community, and Callahan nimbly dissects the dishonest actions of the usual suspects (Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing) to demonstrate how that same mentality extends out to our educational system, amateur and professional sports, the news media, and even the lives of common citizens who, while they would never think of themselves as being cheaters, are nevertheless inclined to commit the occasional act of beneficial fudging. And while honesty is a nice ideal, Callahan says that cheaters cheat because, contrary to oft-repeated axioms, cheaters win: the chances of being caught are shrinking as are the punishments meted out should one be nabbed, and the benefits of a successful cheat far outstrip any potential threat. Further, Callahan posits that otherwise upright folks who would not cheat are drawn into the practice out of fear that they simply won't be able to make it in modern society otherwise. There's a lot of material for Callahan to work with here, given that every instance of cheating is fair game as source material and is able to be used to construct a theory of epidemic. And the range of material is so broad and the basic argument ("we cheat more") so simple that The Cheating Culture feels a bit like a Newsweek trend piece writ extremely large. Still, it must be noted that Callahan really had all that material to work with and that fact alone is compelling evidence that his premise is dead on. --John Moe

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