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The Rent Is Too Damn High

What To Do About It, And Why It Matters More Than You Think

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


From prominent political thinker and widely followed Slate columnist, a polemic on high rents and housing costs—and how these costs are hollowing out communities, thwarting economic development, and rendering personal success and fulfillment increasingly difficult to achieve.

Rent is an issue that affects nearly everyone. High rent is a problem for all of us, extending beyond personal financial strain. High rent drags on our country’s overall rate of economic growth, damages the environment, and promotes long commutes, traffic jams, misery, and smog. Yet instead of a serious focus on the issue, America’s cities feature niche conversations about the availability of “affordable housing” for poor people. Yglesias’s book changes the conversation for the first time, presenting newfound context for the issue and real-time, practical solutions for the problem.

Customer Reviews

Exceptionally good argument from left and right about housing

As a dedicated urbanist, I've thought about many of the issues Yglesias covers, yet he digs out so many unexpected observations in 80 pages that I felt I hadn't even started to think or read about the topic.

After discussing the many ways in which zoning restrictions (including things that aren't usually considered zoning, like parking requirement) not only inhibit people from living where they want, but force them to move to "cheaper" cities where they, on average, will earn less money.

This is not an attack on suburbia or a glossy-eyes tribute to urbanity, but rather an insightful treatise on how zoning restrictions hurt people in almost all sectors of the economy and places in the nation. While Yglesias is a self-identified liberal, libertarians and free-market proponents will recognize the logic in his suggestions. The same is true for those who fear gentrification and new development as a tool for displacing the poor. Yglesias notes that without new development, a newly gentrifying area becomes even more expensive, driving out more lower-income people.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in urban planning, city and suburban economics or just a well-reasoned policy piece.

Convenient length, interesting topic

I liked the short punchy chapter length...this is definitely an eBook, readable in little chunks or over a weekend. And the topic is one that resonates and yet is unexplored...who hasn't encountered a weird quirk of zoning or land use regulations in their neighborhood? And yet Yglesias is the first person I've read put a meaningful broad perspective to it.

Curiously, it's a perspective that in principle could speak across party lines, but it seems instead more like a voice in the wilderness. I hope his ideas get broader circulation and get people thinking.

A clear treatment of an opaque subject

The author presents a clear, straightforward look at the ways in which zoning regulations distort the housing market and ties that in to how that distorted housing market ripples across the larger American economy.

I also like the fact that he uses the ebook format effectively; freed from the tyranny of page count, he delivers just enough text to lay out and support his argument, without padding or tangents designed to stretch the space out.

I look forward to reading more books by Matt in future.

The Rent Is Too Damn High
View in iTunes
  • $3.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Industries & Professions
  • Published: Mar 06, 2012
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 80 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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