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Them

Why We Hate Each Other - and How to Heal
By: Ben Sasse
Narrated by: Ben Sasse
Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
5 out of 5 stars (635 ratings)
Regular price: $27.99
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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing American Adult, an intimate and urgent assessment of the existential crisis facing our nation.

Something is wrong. We all know it.

American life expectancy is declining for a third straight year. Birth rates are dropping. Nearly half of us think the other political party isn’t just wrong; they’re evil. We’re the richest country in history, but we’ve never been more pessimistic.

What’s causing the despair?

In Them, bestselling author and U.S. senator Ben Sasse argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, our crisis isn’t really about politics. It’s that we’re so lonely we can’t see straight—and it bubbles out as anger.

Local communities are collapsing. Across the nation, little leagues are disappearing, Rotary clubs are dwindling, and in all likelihood, we don’t know the neighbor two doors down. Work isn’t what we’d hoped: less certainty, few lifelong coworkers, shallow purpose. Stable families and enduring friendships—life’s fundamental pillars—are in statistical freefall.

As traditional tribes of place evaporate, we rally against common enemies so we can feel part of a team. No institutions command widespread public trust, enabling foreign intelligence agencies to use technology to pick the scabs on our toxic divisions. We’re in danger of half of us believing different facts than the other half, and the digital revolution throws gas on the fire.

There’s a path forward—but reversing our decline requires something radical: a rediscovery of real places and human-to-human relationships. Even as technology nudges us to become rootless, Sasse shows how only a recovery of rootedness can heal our lonely souls.

America wants you to be happy, but more urgently, America needs you to love your neighbor and connect with your community. Fixing what's wrong with the country depends on it.   

©2018 Ben Sasse (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“Sasse is highly attuned to the cultural sources of our current discontents and dysfunctions...Them is not so much a lament for a bygone era as an attempt to diagnose and repair what has led us to this moment of spittle-flecked rage...a step toward healing a hurting nation.” (National Review)

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  • MLHanna
  • Laingsburg, MI United States
  • 11-09-18

Has some VERY valid points

Mr. Sasse has some very good points and lots of food for thought. As a committed Democrat, I appreciated his respectfulness and reinforcement of civility. My concern comes from his expression of purported understanding of Democratic (party) issues, which are understandably lacking in depth and nuance. Still, he is to be commended for giving it a valiant try. And as I said, many of his points are extremely salient.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Eye Opening

Ben's book has inspired me to come to the table and break bread with others who have different views than myself- to truly listen to them. Even more, he has encouraged me see the similarities I have with other people instead of our differences, so that I can become a more open, social, and empathetic person. I wish everyone in America would read "Them." If that happened, I believe the result would be more of us willing to come togther as an empathetic nation of neighbors to find solutions.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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ALL Americans, especially PARENTS should read this

There are very few books that belong on the “all Americans should read this” list, but this is certainly one. I am sick of being angry at “the other side” and this book helped me understand why that happens to me personally and to America as a whole. Sasse also provides some practical solutions to 1) reduce habits that produce the anger and 2) replace them with workable positive steps that all Americans can take to help put the "UNUM" back in "E Pluribus Unum."

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Read This!

Even if you don't agree with the authors prescription for healing our country, this book will help you see the political and social climate in our country in a new way. He does a remarkable job staying apolitical, even using example of "bad acters" from the right. If you choose not to read this book because he's a conservative, you're doing yourself a disservice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Breen
  • CYPRESS, TX, United States
  • 12-04-18

Probably the best book I've read this year!

As a centrist moderate who voted for Beto i would heartily recommend this book to anyone. I've read a lot of books talking about the current state of America lately and this one nails it.

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Had much higher hopes

I had high hopes that this book would transcend liberal-vs-conservative and present a balanced, logical perspective on what’s happening in our society and what to do about it, together. Unfortunately, it does not. To start, the author repeatedly fails to differentiate between causation and correlation. His arguments are rife with heuristic traps (even as he warns others to beware of such biases.) For example: He grew up in a small town rooted in traditional family and community values (the “the small town gym on a Saturday night”). To There was no socioeconomic strife (nobody knew who was rich and who was poor - it didn’t matter), he writes. Therefore, he implies, adopting traditional family and community values will reduce strife and help us heal. The fact that his community doesn’t reflect the vast majority of US communities (it was rural and almost entirely racially and culturally homogeneous) doesn’t factor into his reasoning, nor does the notion that his own impressions as an adolescent were unlikely to reflect the aggregate emotional health and well being is his community. What’s more, he spends a great deal of time explaining how conservatives and conservative ideas have been wrongly characterized by liberals, and little or no time exploring the reciprocal point of view. For such a well-educated, articulate author, these biases and errors of reasoning turned what I hoped would be a discussion about reconciliation into just another book about the virtues of conservative ideology.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Jasche
  • Greendale, Wi
  • 10-19-18

Them, Us.

This book focuses on our society and the complexity of the ever changing world around it. It incorporates all aspects of our life, such as friends, family, education, community and technology. It offers ideas for us to become a better community and live a more fulfilled life. I tip my hat to Senator Sasse for writing a non-partisan book about how we all can stop the political bickering and how we can start coming back together.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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flawed, but worthwhile

While Sasse occasionally falls prey to logical errors in his arguments, they mostly pertain to the fine points (and when the errors do occur, they are usually a result of stretching an argument in his eagerness to prove that government aid is unhealthy and non-traditional families destructive), and the broad strokes of theory remain compelling.

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Are the Republicans and Conservatives open...?

Although this helps to understand the conservative point of view. I feel that this book is more useful to conservatives that deny to acknowledge that the country is changing and that human dignity applies to all kinds of people. Good lessons, I'm just not the target and I'm not sure that the correct audience is willing to listen.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A sane approach to our American Divide

Sasse speaks with a strong, friendly voice. You can tell he was a college professor. Lots of excellent references that are relevant to his topic. Very even-handed approach.
The loss of community as a reason for the hyperbolic political atmosphere- this explains so much!