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Revolution?!

Both of these books were begun in 2010 but I just finished both of them. Because they are non-fiction and deal with a variety of topics, they are the kind of books that you can pick up and put down, and often you want to because each chapter contains some pretty heady stuff.

The Freedom Manifesto: How to Free Yourself from Anxiety, Fear, Mortgages, Money, Guilt, Debt, Government, Boredom, Supermarkets, Bills, Melancholy, Pain, Depression, and WasteThe Freedom Manifesto: How to Free Yourself from Anxiety, Fear, Mortgages, Money, Guilt, Debt, Government, Boredom, Supermarkets, Bills, Melancholy, Pain, Depression, and Waste by Tom Hodgkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tom Hodgkinson is the editor of the Idler, a British magazine about, well, being an idler. This book encapsulates his philosophy. In essence, it's about living your life on your own terms, remembering the important things like fun and doing for yourself. It is very much a cry out against materialism and consumerism. He cites a variety of authors, some well-known, some not, in support of his beliefs.

While enlightening and thoughtful, it's often amusing and droll. There are many British references in it that may not be familiar to American readers. Not everyone can live the life he imagines (and tries to live), but there are times I want to hand this book out on street corners to everyone who looks stressed out and bored with contemporary life. It's fun and worth reading, even if I'm not quite ready to purge all my belongings and start gardening in the middle of nowhere.


The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New ProsperityThe Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity by Matt Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author, who was a White House aide during the Clinton administration and who works as a consultant, examines some "dead ideas," i.e., ideas that we take for granted in our world that are holding back potential prosperity. A quick summary of the "dead ideas" he examines:

    Our kids will earn more than we do.
    Free trade is always good.
    Companies should provide for their employees (i.e., benefits like health insurance).
    Taxes always hurt the economy and must be lowered.
    Education should be dealt with at the local level.
    Money follows merit.

Miller does a great job showing first how these ideas have gotten entrenched and then how they limit us as a nation. Then, through examples, he shows how "destined ideas" can overthrow the dead ones very effectively. In the end, he really calls for critical thinking about some of our basic assumptions about economics and the nature of corporations. His ideas are timely, well thought out, and worth serious thought.


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