British social reformer Robert Owen once declared that "man is the creature of circumstances." A century and a half later, his famous words still ring true. While many adopt a fatalist approach, believing that their lot in life is inevitable, in fact a number of highly complex social factorsdetermine the outcome of our socioeconomic status and integration into society. It may seem unfair, but the conditions into which we are born largely determine the various courses that our lives take.In their highly readable overview authors Lorne Tepperman and Nina Gheihman look to the social inequalities that arise from such circumstances - including those of class, gender, race, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation. In doing so, they uncover the startling observation that in any givensociety these various manifestations of inequality show similar patterns, revealing a cultural predisposition (or "habit") that favours and promotes inequality. Associated with these social inequalities are a number of hidden costs, ranging from unnecessarily high rates of physical and mental illness, addiction, violence, and crime. With inequality on the rise in Canada, the increase of these social problems is an unsettling reality. In order to addressthese major inequalities - and to resolve their associated social problems - we must first overcome this underlying habit that connects them all. If that is our societal goal, and the authors argue it should be, we must be prepared to change the way we think about politics, culture, society, andourselves.