• Socialism...Seriously

  • A Brief Guide to Human Liberation
  • By: Danny Katch
  • Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (496 ratings)

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Socialism...Seriously

By: Danny Katch
Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
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Publisher's Summary

Opinion polls show that many people in the US prefer socialism to capitalism. But after being declared dead and buried for decades, socialism has come to mean little more than something vaguely less cruel and stupid than what we have now. That's not exactly going to inspire millions to storm the barricades.

Danny Katch brings together the two great Marxist traditions of Karl and Groucho to provide an entertaining and insightful introduction to what the socialist tradition has to say about democracy, economics, and the potential of human beings to be something more than bomb-dropping, planet-destroying, racist fools.

©2015 Danny Katch (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Socialism...Seriously

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  • M.
  • 03-02-18

Anyone serious about Socialism AVOID this book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you have never been exposed to the very basics of Socialist thought, Socialism: Seriously by Danny Katch might be for you. Katch does highlight how true Socialism was not tried in the USSR, and what is stated in the Communist Manifesto - but beyond that, there is nothing of value for the "serious" Socialist or student of Socialism in here.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not sure yet...

Which character – as performed by Dara Rosenberg – was your favorite?

Dara was a good narrator. She brought life to the words written - unfortunately, there isn't much substance to what is being said. She did the best she could with lackluster work.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Socialism...Seriously?

Almost the entire book. This could have been a 1 hour primer on what Socialism is - but whenever the author tries to delve into solving the problems of Socialism, he fails to address even one major concern.

Any additional comments?

Just to frame my review here in the proper context: I am a college graduate, fairly well educated, and have been a strong proponent of Democratic Socialism for many years. I have studied the Communist Manifesto, as well as many critiques of Socialism, and understand the economic underpinnings of both Capitalism and Socialism. I think that Socialism could work - if some changes were made to it overall. The thing is, I don't know what changes should be made exactly - and so I got this book, hoping that the author might pose some new solutions to old problems, or revolutionize the way I think about classic Marxism. Also, to be up front, I stopped listening to this book with 45 minutes left (it is a 6 hour book, so I finished it - more or less) because I was so frustrated with the lack of content.

The problem with this book is that it is idealist to the extreme: Katch speaks about an idealist Socialist future in the terms of "wouldn't it be great if _____ worked?! Imagine that!" I would love it if the ideal were true, too - but it isn't. Imagination is no substitute for real solutions. Katch fails to address even ONE major problem encountered in Socialism: The Problem of Worker Incentive, how basic human greed necessitates the need for physical currency (which was discovered early on by the USSR), how a true Socialist society run by Councils (Soviets) is so filled with bureaucracy that it causes major slowdowns, etc. By the time I got to chapter 10, I was absolutely amazed that not even ONE of these issues was addressed or even mentioned in passing. It is truly astounding.

The only two things Katch tries to tackle, and fails in addressing, is the stifling of creativity in a Socialist system and the banning of religion. These two are right at the end of the book, as if they are an afterthought - but the first is one of the biggest problems in Socialism. Without innovation and creativity, the economy inevitably stagnates. This ties into the Problem of Worker Incentive - but Katch's solution is just "well, people will do their best... it is also a problem in Capitalism so why bring it up?" The brushing off of this majorly important topic and then trying to switch into how it is also a problem today is such a logical fallacy and so deceptive that this is where I started literally getting angry with this book. The addressing of religion is no less condescending to the reader: The argument is "if we were in Socialism, there wouldn't be a need for religion. This is because religion is a comfort for people, one that they NEED under Capitalism, so since Socialism will provide their every need religion will die out naturally." This is such a reductionist and insulting view of religious belief and how the human psyche works that this is where I just turned off this book in frustration. Maybe more idiotic things are spewed at the very end - but I didn't get there. It feels unfair to review a book without fully completing it - but I cannot stand one more trite, idealistic piece of nonsense read to me from here.

If I could rate this 0 stars, I would. The performance is the only thing that makes it tolerable - the rest of it is garbage suitable only for kindling. AVOID.

28 people found this helpful

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A sloppy argument

To be up front I’m someone who believes in capitalism, but that is not why I was disappointed by this book. I had really hoped for a good exposition of what socialism was and why that system would be better than capitalism. But what I got was a book that just made vague claims of why capitalism was bad and socialism would be awesome. The author also claims that none of the attempts as socialism are real socialism and that is why they have failed. Yet he never sets out criteria for what real socialism would look like and how the problems that caused issues previous iterations would be resolved. I really was sad this book did not have more depth as I would love to read a more cogent argument as to why socialism is good to better understand my views.

27 people found this helpful

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Danny needs to mature and read more

Written for the pliable young. Little talk of mechanics of both socialism and capitalism read Mises, Marx, Rothbard, Engels, Lange, Riesman. This book is a was of paper and time

25 people found this helpful

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Pure garbage

Felt like propaganda and someone pushing an agenda instead of a thoughtful, unbiased view of socialism. Opinions presented as facts to justify absurd criticism of unrelated things.

23 people found this helpful

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Seriously Entertaining and Seriously Sincere

This is hands down the most entertaining socialist manifesto you will ever hear, well, since "Lenin's little known Big Bathroom Book of Bolshevik Jokes."

Danny Katch will do his best to persuade you that Socialism is not only a good system in theory, it's a real world alternative to capitalism. As a writer, he is bold and funny, and might convince "today's daydreamers and whiners" to embrace a different economic model.

Narrator, Dara Rosenberg delivers Danny's book with the comic timing of a seasoned stand-up comic. She hears every note of sarcasm and of real feeling. A+ job.

23 people found this helpful

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AS EXPECTED

This is the exact Babble I thought it would be. “Those fascists are making too much money!!” Sniff sniff
“This time Socialism will be done right!!” Sniff
“Trust the system and we will lead you too the fair and happy Promised Land!!”
That’s what the folks in the Soviet Gulags thought too!!!
DON’T BUY THESE LIES!!!

20 people found this helpful

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Author is confused between capitalism and government regulation

The author is blaming capitalism for problems caused by government regulation and force/violence. Government gangs still exist in what the author is suggesting. There is no attempt at a synthesis between capitalism and socialism.

18 people found this helpful

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Not so much about Socialism

I was searching for a book about Socialism which this book is not so much. It's more about being anti-capitalism and believing that just because Socialism is not capitalism, it would solve all its problems, and all other humans problems too. Like racism, sexism and such! To my opinion that's preposterous.
Most of the content of this book is just berating on the obvious problems of capitalism and almost nothing on how Socialism would work in a realistic environment. On the very contrary, when the book gets to that point, the author goes on telling a fantasy he imagines to be somewhat realistic, I think.
Maybe that's the pun in the title I didn't get before buying this book, but I don't think there's nothing serious here.

13 people found this helpful

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Socialism for beginners

A great tool for cutting through such a dense topic & for getting oriented on the basics of socialism, which can be hard for those new to both the concepts & the community. Highly recommended.

11 people found this helpful

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A modern primer for beginners

I finished this book in one sitting. Immensely readable and relatable for a modern audience, taking into account the challenges of past socialist experiments and putting them into a broader global context. Some reviewers seem upset that this is not a blueprint for a socialist utopia, but the author goes to lengths to pronounce that socialists disagree what that utopia should look like and how we should get there. If readers want more depth on the nuts and bolts, try some of Katch's other books, or books by Terry Eagleton, Richard Wolff, Bhaskar Sunkara, Nathan J Robinson, Marx/Lenin/Trotsky, or actual histories of socialist states. Otherwise, this is a friendly, accessible moral argument for socialism that is fun to read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Brian & Kim Westman
  • 06-21-19

Laughable - seriously.

Im trying to find a credible argument for socialism. This book is totally ridiculous. Where it makes simple arguments for why capitalism is terrible (i agree its broken), it argues over simplistic reasons for why 'this vision' is plausible. Of course, the author tries to explain that other socialist models didn't work, mostly because it was the wrong type of socialism everywhere else so far, but fails miserably. It does cover some of the changes in broken capital models and climate change, but with impossible, only in dreamland, solutions. Ironically, the author calls for a uprising of millions for a better world, but seems to count the current support for such radical change as the absolute minority. Typically, it ignores the human need for consumerism. If you want a really simple, easy life with little desire. This is your model. Still worth leaning how others think tho. Those who want this, could separate themselves already

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-21

Alt title: Strawman: What is Capitalism Anyway?

1 hr in and I want to die.....
I really wanted an intelligent arguement and for my silly optimism I get slapped in the face by a strawman in the first chapter.
Yet again we have a Socialist who understands Capitalism as "but you have more than meeeee! That's soo meeaann!" and takes no notice of the Absolute gain in wealth and material comfort Capitalism has brought the world. Anyone notice we aren't living in freezing, drafty stone castles anymore?

The arguments for Socialism are wildly idealistic, unrealistic and historically ignorant and the counter arguments against the 'right wing', which in this book means everyone who's not a socialist, boil down to "So you want everyone to starve? You love evil don't you, you xxxist and xxxism!". And annoyingly, that's not a strawman.

For the sake of the Author:
Capitalism works because if I'm great at making chairs and you aren't, but have money. And I want money more than I want the chairs I can very easily replace. And you want a chair more than the money you have. Good news! We can exchange my chair for your money and both of us walk away having gained from the exchange (In our own opinions).
The free market is this mechanism scaled up, which is why, for the most part, it works great for assigning an agreed upon value to labour or products, which is why I assume I got this book for free.....

......because your opinion on politics is worthless

4 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas Richardson
  • 11-01-21

heavy on stories & jokes, thin on data & evidence

I'm interested in socialism, fairly liberal and have plenty of criticisms of capitalism as we see it today. however this book is not really convincing at all. the book seems to be written for people who have already decided that socialism is correct and just need arguments. it's not written to convince people who are genuinely on the fence. In first chapter the author strangely argues everything is getting worse, despite it being well established that war, terrorism, poverty, disease, hunger and prejudice and discrimination are literally the lowest they've ever been in human history. from there it was all downhill.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chay Morris
  • 10-20-21

This helped me alot.

A 'mostly' thoughtful and pragmatic introduction that has helped me massively make a bit more sense of the complex ideas, values and role socialism has. I will be referring back to this, it's given me much to think about, and soothed alot of uncertainty I had about my own vague beliefs, I feel much more comfortable calling myself a socialist after reading this, after years of struggling with doing so due to the complexity and vagueness of the term.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam p.
  • 09-27-21

Cliched slogans made into a book. Dissapointed .

should of been called The marxists rant on all that is wrong with America

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-29-22

Cute but nonsense

A nonsensical and limited view of the potential of a socialist utopia. Very little substance to any arguments. This propaganda piece reads like it was written by a teenager with no experience outside of a university. I was so hoping to be sold on a socialist worldview, but based on this book, socialism is doomed to be the subject of the daydreams of fools & tyrants. The narrator was great