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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

A primer on Democratic Socialism for those who are extremely skeptical of it.

America is witnessing the rise of a new generation of socialist activists. More young people support socialism now than at any time since the labor movement of the 1920s. The Democratic Socialists of America, a big-tent leftist organization, has just surpassed 50,000 members nationwide. In the fall of 2018, one of the most influential congressmen in the Democratic Party lost a primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old socialist who had never held office before. But what does all this mean? Should we be worried about our country, or should we join the march toward our bright socialist future? In Why You Should Be a Socialist, Nathan J. Robinson will give listeners a primer on 21st-century socialism: what it is, what it isn’t, and why everyone should want to be a part of this exciting new chapter of American politics.

From the heyday of Occupy Wall Street through Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and beyond, young progressives have been increasingly drawn to socialist ideas. However, the movement’s goals need to be defined more sharply before it can effect real change on a national scale. Likewise, liberals and conservatives will benefit from a deeper understanding of the true nature of this ideology, whether they agree with it or not. 

Robinson’s charming, accessible, and well-argued book will convince even the most skeptical listeners of the merits of socialist thought.

©2019 Nathan J. Robinson (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Why You Should Be a Socialist

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“Why you’re already a socialist”

A vague book, albeit with much of the same humor and wit you would typically find in a current affairs article. First couple chapters can be completely skipped over as it’s mostly just Robinson talking about how he came to his political philosophy - not extremely enlightening or exciting to read. The rest of the book can sort of be summed up by this reviews title. He makes the case that if you’re not a moral monster - that is, if you want people to have healthcare and happiness, then you’re already a socialist. Rather than spell out how a successful socialist libertarian government would be structured, he opts for fleshing out the moral perspective of a good socialist. He often pits the worst capitalist arguments/personalities (Ben Shapiro) against the best and most respected socialist thinkers, making it seem like the only coherent choice is to be a socialist. He rarely “steel mans” a non-horrifying case for capitalism, even when he thinks he is. Rather than answer something like “who should control the means of production in a functional socialist society”, he opts for describing the varied perspectives within socialist thought. You are left wondering at the end of this book, if I am a socialist, then what the hell do I believe? Robinson would say that he has deeply described the moral philosophy and outlook of a proper socialist, but what people like me often want is a specific case for how innovation and wealth creation can coincide with collective/labor owned companies as the driving force. Is their any role for traditional profit motive in Robinson’s perfect socialist future? Is everything just a co-op like REI? Does government own the means of production? Why does socialism so reliably coincide with autocracy? You won’t find satisfying answers to those questions here. With that being said, it’s a funny book and Robinson narrates it well with his characteristic lovable-smugness shining through. However, all in all, I would recommend something else entirely if you want to understand specific implications of socialist thinking.

26 people found this helpful

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Light Yet Very Informative

I first heard Nathan J. Robinson when he recently appeared as a guest on The Hill. His views on today's politics were intriguing to say the least but he barely got the title of his book plugged before the interview ended. Thank goodness for the internet because I was able to find what I needed about him there and of course got more info on his book (The Hill later did another interview with him and plugged his book properly). Anyway, I enjoyed this book immensely even though I didn't need any nudge to take an interest in socialism. Great book and love the fact that he narrated it himself!

5 people found this helpful

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It tries to persuade "the other side"...

...but if you happen to hold any of those beliefs that the author wants you to leave behind, buckle in. Within the first couple of chapters your views will be presented using the whiniest, stupidest sounding voice the reader can muster. For a book that says it wants to convince people, it starts in the worst possible way: mocking the views of the people it wants to convince. Beyond that the first few chapters are so full of humblebrags and intentionally inflated language that I couldn't even get to the ideas it wanted to present.

4 people found this helpful

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most approachable book on socialism

This was such a great read. Books like these can sometimes feel a little condescending and can go over my head sometimes. Nathan's style of writing and easy to understand concepts make this one of the most approachable books on socialism I've read. Gift this to anyone and everyone

4 people found this helpful

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Very Good

Nathan is very well spoken and delivers a seriously moving message about Socialism’s place in American politics. Even people who don’t subscribe to Nathan’s views would love this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Robinson already wrote reviews for the book

No seriously. Check our Current Affairs. Robinson has an article dedicated to different reviews people from different mindsets may have. He even has his own.

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Highly Recommended

A boomer friend of mine recently asked me if "all you young people" really want a socialist society. I said I couldn't speak for seneral entire generations (I'm almost 30), but that personally all I was dead certain of was that "I'm real tired of capitalism." In Why You Should Be A Socialist, Robinson approaches a topic that has the capacity to overwhelm, depress, confuse, and bore with an incredible amount of humor, compassion, and clarity. The arguments are levelheaded and cover and discuss several common counterarguments. I'm still not sure I identify as a socialist, but this book is an incredible read and I highly recommend it. And jfc, there are no words for the depths to which I despise Ayn Rand.

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Too many holes to count

It is a newer work that ALREADY hasn’t aged well. Too many points that are too easy to dispute. Nothing new in the arena of ideas. As An American of Mexican decent, it seemed the author was too young to have seen the fruits of these seeds.

1 person found this helpful

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A great introduction to understanding socialism

This book does a great job setting up a foundational understanding of the goals and values of socialists broadly speaking. Many of the common base level arguments against socialism are addressed at length while maintaining a humorous tone. There is a long list of resources at the end of the book for those wanting to learn more about the broad socialist traditions in both a historical and modern context.

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Weak and Toxic

Many examples used in this book are anecdotal. It's an ugly attempt to justify destructive actions against the production, against the market and against the actual driving force of the society. And the utopian vision is very toxic. In terms of literature, this book is miles behind its ancestor, the Communist Manifesto. Nevertheless, its a Z's useful insight in to modern socialist minds.

1 person found this helpful