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What to expect

How did we become so divided and what do we do about it?

‘Analytically incisive yet infectiously optimistic, Fractured expertly diagnoses the deepest divisions in our society and provides an urgent manifesto for collective healing.’ David Lammy MP

This landmark book tackles a deceptively simple idea: the more we spend time with people unlike ourselves, doing things together, the more understanding, tolerant, and even friendly we become.

Combining fresh analysis with a wealth of fascinating examples, Jon Yates demonstrates the ways in which our societies have become disconnected, so that most of us spend less and less time with people who are different — as defined by age, race, or class, earning power or education.

By answering a series of surprising questions, Yates reveals a set of truths that will change the way you think about yourself and those around you. What unites the England football team, the iPod and Singapore? How did a city that funded its schools the least become the best place to grow up poor? How did Silicon Valley come from nowhere to dominate the tech industry? How did a village of Italian-Americans become incredibly healthy while smoking cigars, drinking red wine and never exercising? And why is talking to our friends about politics the worst thing we can do for our democracy?

Fractured is ultimately an optimistic book, showing convincingly how great people are when they’re united in diversity. It argues that the pandemic has created an unprecedented opportunity for us to come together. So we must forge a new ‘Common Life’ – a set of shared practises and institutions — that can strengthen the glue that bonds our societies, in all their diversity.

For the health of our democracy, our society, and our economy, the time to act is now.

Critics Review

  • ‘Yates brings together some remarkable stories to help us think about a Common Life. Offers practical and provocative ideas.’ Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury 

    ‘Perceptive and timely … not only diagnoses our societal ills, but offers an easily digestible prescription. I finished this book with my optimism restored, and you will too.’ Iain Dale, author of Why Can’t We All Just Get Along

    ‘Yates is the British heir to the great US sociologist Robert Putnam; his book should be our Bowling Alone, a text that everyone in politics should be reading and digesting.’ James Kirkup, The Spectator

    Fractured marshals evidence that societal segregation is imposing significant costs. … Mr Yates is doing his bit [to solve that] … Intriguing ideas.’The Economist

    ‘Yates’s thoroughly researched book lends the subject renewed urgency by showing how rifts in society may be undermining our health, democracy and security.’ New Statesman

    ‘Deeply wise, meditative, timely and practical. The book fizzles and crackles along and in no time at all you will be at the end, reading about 32 ways to improve your, and everyone else’s lives. Act on #32 and buy this book, right now.’ Sir Anthony Seldon

    ‘This is the post-pandemic manifesto we need. Vividly written, with a clear diagnosis and specific proposals for overcoming our ills, it is also a challenge to the intellectual status quo.’ David Goodhart, author of Head Hand Heart

    Fractured is a very welcome source of stories, insights and practical proposals. If you want to really think about the issue of division, this is a book for you.’ Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA

    ‘A beautiful and wise book.’ Remi Adekoya

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