MixedFinancial Times (UK)... a book as depressing as it is gripping ... Unacceptable reads at times like a rushed attempt to flesh out the colourful indictment and subsequent court reporting, when it could have dug much deeper. There is little on the effects of parents’ cheating on their children, for instance, and the reactions to the scandal of the examiners and the universities get scant treatment ... This broader context awaits a more comprehensive treatment than Unacceptable offers.
PositiveThe Financial TimesFarrell has double credentials as a Yale sociology professor and a native of Wyoming. That helped him gain access to secretive wealthy residents, and he does a good job in exploring the attitudes not only of the poor — the focus of many previous researchers — but also the rich. He describes their delusions that poor local employers such as builders are friends, and the ironic frustrations of some with arriviste financiers and Silicon Valley billionaires ... This book makes for uncomfortable reading in its criticism of the rich, although the author’s sources are saved personal embarrassment because they have been anonymised ... It is not the lightest read: the text is fortunately not overburdened by too many academic theories. But Farrell has divided the chapters into rigid themes, and so has missed an opportunity to tell narrative stories and explore the relations between rich and poor in a more natural way ... He might also have expanded on that other trope of philanthropy: a belief by the rich that they are more effective in giving directly than financing the state through their taxes.
MixedThe Financial Times (UK)...a readable tour of the search for immortality through the eyes of some leading personalities involved ... this book does little to explore the motivations of the \'customers\' who lend their support — and ultimately their bodies — to the cause. It is dominated by the heroic narratives of the big men (most here are male, as are the clients), paying far less attention to the views of underlings, dissenters and outsiders with critical insights into the organisations described, the strategic choices made and the scientific difficulties ... Walter touches on stem cell and regenerative therapies and the injection of young people’s blood into older people; tantalises readers with the dramatic longevity of bowhead whales and orange roughy fish ... But there is not much to support his underlying faith that the cause will ultimately succeed ... Walter might have gone further and reflected in greater depth on the philosophical and practical implications of living forever, not least overpopulation ... For now, immortality remains science fiction.
Anthony Abraham Jack
MixedThe Financial TimesSome of Jack’s most intriguing and depressing insights, though, concern the group he focuses on least: the upper-income students. Some appear shockingly selfish, with extravagant lifestyles that include trips on private jets, renting luxury venues for parties, and redecorating their dorm rooms ... Understanding what happens to these different groups if or after they graduate demands more attention, as does preparing them for higher education. And more focus should be directed to enhancing community colleges rather than elite institutions. But Jack provides important insights into challenges of equal access that are far from solved.