Pay Check: Are top earners really worth it?

Who deserves what they earn?  Seldom has this question been more relevant than now, as senior executives grab outrageous salaries while the companies they manage go bankrupt, and British parliamentarians fiddle their expenses. From jargon-spouting consultants to the financial “whiz kids” undertaking risky deals, oversized pay packets are justified on the flimsiest of grounds – that the recipients possess extraordinary talent without which no company or organisation could prosper. But the evidence suggests otherwise. This book explodes the myth of “talent”, and shows how the term has been deliberately misused and abused.  Pay Check aims to win capitalism back for those who actually take the risks, and expose those who merely snatch the rewards.

Short-listed for:
- Foyles Award for Paperback Original Non-Fiction, 2011 –


About the author

David Bolchover is a management writer. His best-selling first book, “The 90-Minute Manager” (2002), looked at the lessons that business managers can learn from football managers. His second book, “The Living Dead” (2005), counters the orthodoxy about stress and overwork. It was serialised in The Times, and was named as one of the books of the year in Management Today. ”Highly commended” in the Watson Wyatt Awards for HR journalism in both 2007 and 2008, he has written extensively for The Times, Economist Intelligence Unit, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph and others. He holds an MBA from Cass Business School and a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He spent twelve years working in the international insurance industry.

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Praise for Pay Check

Pay Check is a bold and impassioned book, rich in wry humour, thoughtfully argued throughout…highly persuasive…the starting-point for a worthy and necessary discussion about the nature of “talent”.- The Economist

[Bolchover's] criticisms of the way top pay is handled crisply and with good use of data. Many of the hand grenades he throws hit their targets. He is withering about the clichéd term “talent”, which is used to justify excessive pay.- The Financial Times / Los Angeles Times

A great little book- Merryn Somerset Webb, Editor, MoneyWeek

A must read for anyone interested in the topic.- Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School

The answer – and the solution – [to excessive pay] lies in an excellent book by the business writer David Bolchover called Pay Check.- Johann Hari, GQ Magazine

A useful reminder for remuneration committees to start asking: how much is too much?- Management Today

Just learn from — and enjoy — the delicious demolition of corporate executive pay you’ll find in these pages - Institute for Policy Studies, Washington

The book strongly questions the case for multi-million pound City bonuses and pay deals in the face of the financial crisis and recession.- People Management

As David Bolchover points out in his new book, Pay Check, senior executives pay lip service to talent but rarely do anything concrete about it.- HR Magazine

This is a thoughtful, persuasive and well-written book.  It is a timely and powerful contribution to the debate about the corrosive effects of the banking bonus culture.  I commend Mr Bolchover’s work to anyone who cares about the future of capitalism.- Luke Johnson, Chairman Channel 4; Columnist Financial Times; Entrepreneur.

There is, in my view, no better writer on the modern workplace than David Bolchover. With this book he has done it again. He has asked one of the questions that really matter.- Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

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