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How to Be Right

...in a world gone wrong
Narrated by: James O'Brien
Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of How to Be Right, written and read by James O'Brien. 

Forget agreeing to disagree - it’s time to learn How to Be Right.

Every day, James O’Brien listens to people blaming benefits scroungers, the EU, Muslims, feminists and immigrants. But what makes James’s daily LBC show such essential listening - and has made James a standout social media star - is the careful way he punctures their assumptions and dismantles their arguments live on air, every single morning.

In How to Be Right, James provides a hilarious and invigorating guide to talking to people with faulty opinions. With chapters on every lightning-rod issue, James shows how people have been fooled into thinking the way they do and in each case outlines the key questions to ask to reveal fallacies, inconsistencies and double standards.

If you ever get cornered by ardent Brexiteers, Daily Mail disciples or little England patriots, this book is your conversation survival guide.

‘I have had a ringside seat as a significant swathe of the British population was persuaded that their failures were the fault of foreigners, that unisex lavatories threatened their peace of mind and that ‘all Muslims’ must somehow apologise for terror attacks by extremists. I have tried to dissuade them and sometimes succeeded.... The challenge is to distinguish sharply between the people who told lies and the people whose only offence was to believe them.’ (James O’Brien)

©2018 James O'Brien (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

essential reading in these scary times.

fantastic, important amd relevant book in the current climate of disinformation and the rise of the far right.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not long enough

Such a great book! My only issue was that it could have been much longer. I wish it were a 15-hour tome, as I could literally listen to the profound logic emanating from Mr O’Brien all day.

I found myself feeling a little more hopeful at the end that others are also abhorred at the anti-enlightenment direction some countries are heading in. This shared perspective allows me to at least wish that those on the right side of history will push back and carry humanity back on to the progressive path.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful and scary

A deep analysis of what drives the narratives in the heads of so many people and how they are manipulated and taught not to think. Unfortunately those who don’t think won’t listen to it or read it because in their own minds they are already “right”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A real treat

James perfectly articulates my own feelings and thoughts in this audiobook. I am always so glad to hear that James has certainty where I have certainty, and ambivalence where I have ambivalence. This book is a real treat - all James - no ads, no traffic reports or PM questions just pure James. Can't wait for its sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An Articulated Triumph

O’Brien masterfully distracts the western 21st century malaise topic by topic while never losing sight of the overall picture. He has an ability to articulate the seemingly most intractable debates in clear and illuminating ways; of particular note was chapter 7 where he deftly casts the veil off structural inequalities by analysing the inextricably interconnected granular incentives at play in individuals lives. The result is both terrifying and instructive, perhaps not surprising given the realties of our society.

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  • Gino
  • 06-12-19

I only purchased this because of the 1Star reviews

I would not have normally purchased this but I was inspired to do so by all the negative reviews from people who’ve clearly never read it.

I thought it could have dived deeper but, nevertheless, It should be core text for aspiring journalists.

Moral leadership is an essential characteristic, but far too limited, in those with power and influence. This book will help empower those driven by positive vocation and make the weaker squirm and it will hopefully challenge their complicity in wherever the divisions in our society lead us.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Fox
  • 11-02-18

I had high expectations & they were surpassed.

I’m a grumpy man who will agree 90% with James but like to concentrate on the 10% we may differ. I found myself slightly annoyed that after this book it’s up to 99%. I save the 1% so I don’t look like a fanboy.
Really well read & meticulously thought out.
He was kind & tried to be understanding to people he didn’t necessarily agree with.
Makes sense of much we feel ourselves but are to frustrated to articulate.
Oh I’ve found a complaint. Too short. Needs a second in the series.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaggy
  • 11-15-18

Smart, thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining

I first came across James O’Brien when he presented Newsnight and after seeing his blistering and frequently hilarious interviews with the ‘great and good’ I quickly became a fan. I was therefore disappointed when he departed to pursue his career on LBC but was quickly consoled after listening to his shows. I agree he can be abrasive and some of his takedowns can sound cruel but this book gives an excellent explanation as to why he reacts so strongly to people who base their views on conjecture rather than objective facts.
This audiobook reproduces some of his most startling conversations and although they are acted, much of the passion of the original discussions is well reproduced. James has famously strong views on Brexit and this is something he is currently admired and reviled for. He does however demonstrate a willingness to consider the views of others and has the humility to say he simply doesn’t know the answer on occasion.
This is a fascinating insight into the mind of a man who wants to be right not to satisfy his ego, but because it is the right thing to be. I hope he gets the opportunity to present on television again but in the meantime this book does a great job of filling the gap.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • 06-20-19

A breath of fresh air in a shit slinging culture

The beat book I have come across in a long time. It’s an excellent, common sense educational approach to the toxic drip feeding conveyer belt of deceit and manipulation from the establishment and self serving individuals rhetoric and approach to seeking and maintaining power. Not only does the author see through the bull shit of people, he is able to engage people in such a way that it’s not entertaining but also insightful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • raywynne
  • 06-20-19

Makes so much sence

Captivating from start to finish. I learned a great deal and intend to approach things differently from now on.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Maxi-D
  • 06-03-19

Modern life is rubbish. but this book is goodish

putting bias aside as I've been listening to Mr. J.o.B now for what must be coming up to 5 years I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. O'Briens commentary on everything from political correctness to Islamophobia burns white hot with relevance and honesty.

while I am doubtful about the longevity of this book in terms of shelf life (it's always going to be a problem in terms of relevance when writing a book about "modern" issues) as a relatively "fresh out of the oven" title I found it wonderfully refreshing...how itll stand up in 12 months time however is debatable.

Cracking non the less.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • G. Lusk
  • 05-31-19

Worth a Listen

I’m a big fan of James’s radio show so I downloaded the book. It’s an interesting listen but not really anything new to what I hear on a daily basis when he tries to enlighten the “gammon”

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jo Jevons
  • 05-19-19

I’ll listen to this again and again

Introduced to this by my husband and it has been hugely refreshing and enlightening. I can not recommend it enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Raz
  • 11-01-18

The second most important book I read this year

Made me realise that democracy without education is never going to work.
The future belongs to hate preachers. James is not one of them. He is just exposing some victims of hate propaganda to whom the future looks brown.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • muchcacho
  • 05-01-19

Hypocritical

This book makes some interesting points near the start, but about halfway through from the feminism chapter onwards the wheels start to fall off and the author seems to no longer be able to keep a lid on his biases and any pretence of "unveiling the facts by asking deeper questions" disappears as he refuses to ask any questions of the dubious double standards particularly of feminism.

The later section on the housing market is decent, but the last chapter about Trump (and I'm no supporter of Trump) is just an exercise in hypocrisy. He berates one caller saying "you can't answer a question with another question" only to do exactly that to the next caller. Then snidely comments that "those who can't play the ball play the man", yet can't complete any entire sentence when it concerns anyone connected with Trump without throwing in playground insults.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-19

Well, he isn’t wrong

A great listen, and made even better by the fact James reads it himself which helps enormously when he goes into battle with the actors he has in place for the callers.
I will say James O’Brien has changed my views on Brexit.
It’s very easy to see how Brexit did happen when I have harboured the same views as most English that immigrants are a source of our problems and we are still somehow at war with Germany.
I note how my views were skewed and not just in the referendum but for many years prior by right wing media and papers. Stories in the paper that he talks about, including the flag of St George not being allowed are stories I remember very well from long ago that I had formed the same lazy view as his callers.

I would ask anyone that is a Brexiteer to listen to the entire audiobook but skip the Brexit chapter until you have listened and formed a view that you probably agree with most things that James says and then listen to the Brexit chapter and ask yourself, is he wrong?

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-19

No Massive Revelations

No massive revelations to be had in terms of questioning peoples thinking and perspective on the subjects covered - especially if one is well read, well informed, and, on that note ... generally well in the head!

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  • paul
  • 03-28-19

Loved it

James O’Brien arms us not only with his words but with his passion to fight back against the swirl of madness not just in politics but in the mind of the common man. It’s not about winning but getting to the truth, and O’Brien invites us to see how and where to start tacking the fragile and arguments so prevalent in society today.

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  • Book Reader 13
  • 01-10-19

Amazing how angry people get by being asked simple questions

An uplifting tale of how a boy was bitten by a radioactive spider to develop the world’s thickest skin.

Quite how O’Brien remains so calm, measured, and compassionate when confronted by such hostility, is quite remarkable.