• Golden Gates

  • Fighting for Housing in America
  • By: Conor Dougherty
  • Narrated by: Conor Dougherty
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (209 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Time 100 Must-Read Book of 2020 • A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • California Book Award Silver Medal in Nonfiction Finalist for The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism Named a top 30 must-read Book of 2020 by the New York Post • Named one of the 10 Best Business Books of 2020 by Fortune • Named A Must-Read Book of 2020 by Apartment Therapy • Runner-Up General Nonfiction: San Francisco Book Festival • A Planetizen Top Urban Planning Book of 2020 • Shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice

“Tells the story of housing in all its complexity.” (NPR)

Spacious and affordable homes used to be the hallmark of American prosperity. Today, however, punishing rents and the increasingly prohibitive cost of ownership have turned housing into the foremost symbol of inequality and an economy gone wrong. Nowhere is this more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fleets of private buses ferry software engineers past the tarp-and-plywood shanties of the homeless. The adage that California is a glimpse of the nation’s future has become a cautionary tale.

With propulsive storytelling and ground-level reporting, New York Times journalist Conor Dougherty chronicles America’s housing crisis from its West Coast epicenter, peeling back the decades of history and economic forces that brought us here and taking listeners inside the activist movements that have risen in tandem with housing costs.

©2020 Conor Dougherty (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The cost of buying a single-family home or even renting a small apartment in a convenient, desirable location is one of the most pervasive conundrums facing Americans today. Perhaps no other phenomenon drives income inequality as starkly as housing.... While Dougherty provides plenty of macro-level research about housing across the nation - and especially in San Francisco - the major strength of the narrative occurs at the micro level...poignant and thought-provoking.... A readable, eye-opening exploration." (Kirkus)

"Golden Gates is a terrific work of explanatory journalism. If you want to understand the colliding forces that have turned the San Francisco Bay Area into a housing powder keg and threaten to engulf many more cities across the country, you need to read this book." (John Carreyrou, New York Times best-selling author of Bad Blood)

"A tour de force. It’s a rare book that mixes careful, nuanced reporting, painless economics lessons, interesting history of California, and pitch‐​perfect humor, but Dougherty has written one.” (Cato Institute)

What listeners say about Golden Gates

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loud, clear starts of sentences that end with mumbling a and whispers

Great book overall. Very interesting subject and story.
However, the recording makes my skin crawl. I’m constantly adjusting the volume to hear the mumbling by the reader only to have my ears blown when the reader raises his voice after beginning a new sentence. By chapter three, this recording became a chore, with half of my brain trying to hear the story, and the other half of my brain controlling my hand to work the volume. I don’t know if this is another “authors should never read their own books” argument, or if this is just an overlooked technical issue with recording. Either way, it was rough.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting and important but ultimately falls short

Basically just both-sides an entire debate on housing without really offering any real solutions. Interesting way to discuss the issue but I honestly wanted more data or a solutions-oriented approach at the end rather than a “well both sides don’t help this issue”.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 08-30-21

Great book but where’s the sound engineer

This kind of book needs to be read by the author although trained readers are usually much better. Why didn’t someone check the sound better? The up and down cadence of his voice was irritating.

1 person found this helpful

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Essential Reading

Essential reading for the issue that affects nearly everything in society: housing and affordability. Well-written and insightful narrative. You won't see housing the same way after hearing this book.

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Amazing Book! Great Stories and Very Relevant Info

As someone who is new to the AH space, this book was full of relevant info and education on the many complexities of the space, but delivered in a fun and easy to understand way.

1 person found this helpful

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Great!

A case study of sorts about the complicated world of affordable housing. Doesn’t argue one way or another, presents facts and follows people who decided to take a stand around certain housing politics.

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A narrative history of the US housing market

If you ever wondered why the housing market is so screwed up, read this book. It is an exceptional narrative of how events of history and misguided policies laid the foundation for the crisis we face today

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A Top Find

Fantastic mix of tough realism and heartfelt optimism, this book is a frank and entertaining look into the world of the housing policy we live in, how we got here, and the amazing people fighting to move us forward.

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Outstanding Story and Housing Crisis Analysis

I have just completed listening to Conor Dougherty's book, Golden Gates, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I teach a graduate level course on the Berkeley Campus at the University of California, and a number of our classes have focused on the housing crisis in California. I have read several of Conor's articles in the New York Times describing the background of the crisis, but Golden Gates really put everything in an incredibly provocative and informative context. Occasionally, when the author is the narrator, it loses something in presentation. However, Conor's narration was outstanding, as was his book. I highly recommend Golden Gates to anyone interested in learning more about the background to and approaches to resolving the housing crisis in California and throughout the nation.

1 person found this helpful

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Solid view of housing politics in California

The housing crisis isn’t new, it’s been a steadily evolving menace in California since the 50’s, an issue unlikely to be solved anytime soon.

Great modern overview of how we got here, and those working to create solutions.

1 person found this helpful