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The Cost of Talent

How Executives And Professionals Are Paid And How It Affects America

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Known for his extensive writings on professional ethics, law, and labor relations, Derek Bok returns with a persuasive claim that the compensation being paid to top executives, lawyers, and doctors cannot be justified in the most revealing study done yet regarding the compensation practices in various professional fields.

As the American economy becomes more complex, the demand for able, highly educated people increases constantly with a steady growth of importance. But when considering the leverage of high pay and extravagant benefits, it is possible that talented individuals will be lost to the appeal of exaggerated compensation, putting the work that they are completing in danger.

Bok argues that compensation paid to top executives, lawyers, doctors, and economists does not offer a significant benefit, nor is there evidence that large bonuses and other financial incentives produce better work. Additionally, he presents the concept that the lucrative rewards of Wall Street, elite law firms, and medical specialties deprive poorly paid but vital teaching and public service professions of desperately needed talent.

The Cost of Talent asserts that America must enter a new period of national development by rethinking the values, motivations, and priorities that are reflected in our compensation practices in order to better serve the nation’s long-term interests.