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Hard Work Isn’t the Reason for Your Success

Some companies say they're meritocracies. But is a level playing field really possible?

Most people agree that it isn't fair when people get ahead because of whom they know or the fancy schools they went to. The utopian solution is meritocracy, a fair and unbiased system in which the quality of your work is all that matters, and good ideas rise to the top, no matter whom they come from.

On this week's show, Francesca and Rebecca explore meritocracy—is it real? Does it work? In industries such as technology, which holds itself up as a shining example of meritocratic management, the people who rise to the top tend to be the same people who'd rise to the top through older, more hierarchical systems. Are affluent white men just the ones with the best ideas? Or is there something else going on? We talk to Ryan Carson, the chief executive officer of Treehouse Island Inc., a coding school, about why he once believed in meritocracy and then—suddenly—didn’t.

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