Sandel is not about guilt-tripping anxious parents of front-row kids; they’re suffering too, he says. But the credentialed have come to imagine themselves as smarter, wiser, more tolerant — and therefore more deserving of recognition and respect — than the noncredentialed ... But we are left with an important issue Sandel does not address: the targeting by the right wing of colleges themselves ... So now’s a good time for both sides to sit down for a very serious talk, with The Tyranny of Merit required reading for all. And invited from inner-city, suburban and rural schools across the land should be those who warmed seats both in the front row and in the back.
... a cogent, penetrating critique of meritocracy, which, he argues persuasively, has trammeled our sense of community and mutual respect ... Sandel’s proposals for change are less convincing than his deeply considered analysis ... A stimulating examination of a divisive social and political problem.
... [a] bracing sociopolitical treatise ... tart prose ... the book’s centerpiece is a stinging attack on universities as temples of meritocracy that nevertheless reinforce upper-class privilege rather than helping the disadvantaged. Sandel, however, only makes a few concrete suggestions for dethroning meritocracy, including college admissions by lottery. Still, he offers a rich, incisive analysis of how the meritocratic ideal contributes to contemporary political crises.