Occupation: Author, American Enterprise Institute scholar
"I'll be shocked if there's another book this year as important as Charles Murray's Coming Apart," proclaimed New York Times columnist David Brooks. Murray's 1984 book about welfare, Losing Ground, established him as a public intellectual; his 1991 book about race, The Bell Curve, sparked a megacontroversy. This year, with Coming Apart, about the widening class gap, Murray returns to center stage. Among his proposals for narrowing the class divide: eliminating unpaid internships, the SATs and bachelor's degrees as job requirements.