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30 review for The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jake Goretzki

    I found this well meaning, but all rather tentative and wet behind the ears. I don’t want to doubt its sincerity - I’m just not hugely surprised that a few years on from its publication, examples of ‘ordinary people’ changing politics remain rather scarce. Ordinary people will not ‘take power and change politics’ in the 21st century. At most, they’ll make small inroads, and perhaps advance some finite correctives. The actions of Carne Ross’s ‘ordinary people’ aren’t what marketers call ‘scaleabl I found this well meaning, but all rather tentative and wet behind the ears. I don’t want to doubt its sincerity - I’m just not hugely surprised that a few years on from its publication, examples of ‘ordinary people’ changing politics remain rather scarce. Ordinary people will not ‘take power and change politics’ in the 21st century. At most, they’ll make small inroads, and perhaps advance some finite correctives. The actions of Carne Ross’s ‘ordinary people’ aren’t what marketers call ‘scaleable’. We need institutions and representatives for those to be fair, of scale and competently run. As Churchill possibly said (and definitely said on a Twitter meme), ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others’. Ordinary people are busy, you see. Whenever I read about that fabled appetite for people to have more involvement in decision-making and consultation, and the panacea it seems to offer, I think: can anyone do w/c 3rd April as I’m booked up that week? Every year I witness the struggle of eight people to attend a compulsory AGM of the owners of my building. It’s the bit where we decide we need to repair the roof as Flat 8’s telly is getting rained on. Even then, it’s a bind. We all hate doing it - even though it’s in our self-interest. Even then, a third of the owners don’t come. Ross’s programme isn’t scaleable. Tellingly, his examples of successful modern anarchic practice are very thin on the ground and often just curiosities. Porto Allegre: okay, maybe. New Orleans: they’d had a massive natural disaster and we behave differently in those circumstances, right. The Spanish Civil War: that’s going back a lot and isn’t a context we’d want to or be able to replicate. Gandhi’s salt march: fair enough, but as Ross says, a certain World War and rapid decolonisation process contributed to events there too. Meanwhile, I’m altogether unconvinced of the lessons of suicide bombing (matters of taste aside); those circumstances are exceptional and overwhelmingly driven by the promise of celestial reward (those 72 virgins) and by brainwashing; they frankly don’t offer a transferable life model for anyone. There aren’t lessons about life to be learned from people who believe ‘you love life / we love death’ (no more than there are lessons to be learned on health and wellness from crack addicts). To be sure, I can see the potential role of tactical, ground-up, grassroots quasi-anarchic action when it comes to those finite - and often small - ‘fixes’ and ‘correctives’. ‘This is wrong / unjust / callous, so let’s mobilise’. ‘Hollaback’ and #everydaysexism are probably good examples. But show me, do, a ground-up, grassroots answer to the problem of deciding on planning permission for loft extensions in a London borough or allocating healthcare spending. How do you answer those big, bad, boring high level questions. Show me the grass roots, ground-up approach to fishing quotas between Ireland and Iceland. Some of Ross’s diagnoses border on the hopelessly dreamy and quaint: how, honestly, how was a ‘non black and white’ solution to the Libyan revolution going to prevent a crushing by the Gaddafi regime of the Benghazi uprising? What were those ‘many various non-military but nonetheless coercive measures’ Ross speaks of. Host a free festival, maybe? Ross asks too ‘I wondered why Britain refused to lift a finger to help the Saharawis, even though the ministers and officials concerned were decent people’. Try doing that. The only platoons you’ll mobilise will be a hundred Trotskyists bearing ‘Hands off Western Sahara’ placards. Neither is his program really democratic. What about consent in its wider sense? What if one didn’t make those town hall meetings at Porto Allegre as one was putting up shelves in the neighbouring town that day? Grassroots organisation is all very wholesome and authentic viewed from afar, but it’s also as hostage to hobbyists and political cranks as ‘bad old politics’. (How do you rally a thousand Baby Boomers? Tell them someone’s building a school in the area). Witness the online petition: shrill, populist scourge of our times. (Whenever I receive a petition on social media, breathlessly clamouring for the voice of disenfranchised Guardian readers to be heard, I feel a powerful urge to forward the sender a petition asking government to introduce the ‘death penalty for peedofiles (sic)’ or ‘a total ban on imigration(sic)’ that has ten times the number of signatories, then ask them if they still believe petitions are the path to enlightened lawmaking. (By the way, I found Ross over-egged how putrefied modern politics is and the perniciousness of lobbying in particular - we do still have MPs and elections and manifestos, y’know. It’s not all big, bad ‘corporations’). I also took some issue with Carne Ross’s ‘road to Damascus’ outrage with UN sanctions on Iraq and the suffering they caused. Sure, sanctions added to suffering - but the brutal police state they were directed at that slaughtered and starved its own citizens and was refusing to cooperate with the UN played the lead role in that suffering. (The same argument against sanctions interestingly wasn’t used against when it came to South Africa). Prior to those sanctions, Saddam Hussein was massacring Kurds and putting his opponents on butcher’s hooks; I can’t help feeling that that behaviour alone merited the ostracism and boycott measures that Ross recommends in his list of to-dos. (By the way: David Kelly was not hounded to suicide. He committed suicide. He was ill. Just like Ted Hughes didn’t kill Sylvia Plath; Sylvia Plath was ill). I also felt that Ross’s growing disaffection with the diplomat’s ivory tower and the intangibility of ‘national interest’ was a little hard to take seriously. Of course national interest isn’t some fixed idea - it’s a confection. ‘National interest’ isn’t captured in a mission statement captured on Post-Its agreed at a workshop attended by 60 million Brits. But it’s not some dark art either. All countries have it. And I’d love to know what national interest looked like if it were guided by a committee of the Haringey semi-retired. Ross’s epiphany reminded me of a butcher who’d become a vegetarian after seeing how sausages were made. I felt like asking him: “You knew what a butcher did, right?”. Lastly, a quiet word about advertising and marketing. This is the nth contemporary book I have read where the writer takes a moment out to decry the evils of consumerism and advertising, as touchstone of the corruption of our mean old times. Advertising is always the 1950s Vance Packard-level villain (him of ‘The Hidden Persuaders’, making us buy things we don’t want). Listen, mate: getting people to buy things that they don’t want is almost impossible. Advertising and consumerism don’t create needs or inadequacies in people. People bought iPods because iPods were stunningly useful (to ascribe that to a desire to mirror ‘white cords’ is laughably reductive). That pair of Tevas you’re wearing: you bought them because you like them and they make you feel happy. Teva didn’t make you buy them. So, well meaning but a little limited. I don’t foresee a revolution of ordinary people. We stick with representative democracy because, frankly, ordinary people are having a quiet evening in. Ordinary people are knackered and have better things to do. Ordinary people outsource political and institutional decision-making for the same reason they outsource dentistry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wessel van Rensburg

    Very interesting in part, in particular in identifying the crisis of modern politics and nation states in solving modern problems. A little light on proposing alternative anarchist non hierarchical solutions. It does not critically take a look at institutions - what role they currently play and how they can be changed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    After reading so many dense, and frankly dull, books based around activism and politics this year, The Leaderless Revolution felt like a breath of fresh air. It's an easy to read and fully accessible book for anyone new to activism who is looking for a few pointers on how to get the ball rolling, whether through individual choices or collectively (though the problems of trying to do things on your own are briefly discussed). I also enjoyed the interesting background info of Carne's previous life After reading so many dense, and frankly dull, books based around activism and politics this year, The Leaderless Revolution felt like a breath of fresh air. It's an easy to read and fully accessible book for anyone new to activism who is looking for a few pointers on how to get the ball rolling, whether through individual choices or collectively (though the problems of trying to do things on your own are briefly discussed). I also enjoyed the interesting background info of Carne's previous life as a British diplomat which is present throughout the book and made it even more pleasurable to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beorn

    This is less of a wake up clarion call to arms for the everyman and more the high-brow musings of an affluent middle-aged white man on how the electoral, democratic and governmental organisation of most western countries has failed the populace. It's no galvanizing analysis of political and social events that spurs the reader on to taking action, getting out there and making a difference as you would get from say John Pilger. This seems to be far more akin to a stuffy editorial piece you would fin This is less of a wake up clarion call to arms for the everyman and more the high-brow musings of an affluent middle-aged white man on how the electoral, democratic and governmental organisation of most western countries has failed the populace. It's no galvanizing analysis of political and social events that spurs the reader on to taking action, getting out there and making a difference as you would get from say John Pilger. This seems to be far more akin to a stuffy editorial piece you would find towards the back of The Guardian than any recipe for social change. I could offer a more in-depth synopsis of the book but frankly it's hard enough to wade through each chapter full-stop let alone use it as a tool to effect change. A nice concept disappointingly let down by the highly exclusive high-brow manner in which it's transmitted.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ammar Hammoudeh

    I liked the concept of how ordinary people could be engaged to shape their political world. In other hand, the author doesn't suggest 'how to do it', alternatively, he keeps the door open for anyone to think of best way to set and apply tactical goals to achieve this strategic goal. I liked the concept of how ordinary people could be engaged to shape their political world. In other hand, the author doesn't suggest 'how to do it', alternatively, he keeps the door open for anyone to think of best way to set and apply tactical goals to achieve this strategic goal.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    An inspiring testament to and call for people to take control over their lives rather than depending on a government that continues to fail them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Viola

    https://organisemagazine.org.uk/2019/... The Leaderless Revolution | Reviewed by Stuart Barton. Carne Ross’ The Leaderless Revolution is refreshing because of its atypical perspective. Contemporary anarchist literature is often written by academics who have studied political theory, or by working class people, who have struggled in a Neo-liberal capitalist society, and understand the need for change. Ross is neither of these; a former British diplomat, he was a lead official at Britain’s mission a https://organisemagazine.org.uk/2019/... The Leaderless Revolution | Reviewed by Stuart Barton. Carne Ross’ The Leaderless Revolution is refreshing because of its atypical perspective. Contemporary anarchist literature is often written by academics who have studied political theory, or by working class people, who have struggled in a Neo-liberal capitalist society, and understand the need for change. Ross is neither of these; a former British diplomat, he was a lead official at Britain’s mission at the United Nations in New York dealing with Iraq. He was responsible for the policy on weapons of mass destruction and the pre-war sanctions. Ross states that Britain and their allies knew that Saddam Hussein did not possess significant WMD. Therefore, the sanctions and the subsequent invasion of Iraq were unjustified, and led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary civilian deaths. Rather than critiquing the establishment, their systems and institutions from the outside, Ross has been enmeshed in the inner workings of the machine, and has decided it is broken. This book is for those new to anarchism as a political theory, but who are dissatisfied with the state of the world, and yearn for something better. Many veteran anarchists’ first reaction to Carne Ross might be one of distrust – he was part of the establishment, he wears a suit, looks like a civil servant, and is still involved in international diplomacy, albeit advocating independently for marginalised groups. However, the fact that he is a non-conventional anarchist, might be Ross’ greatest strength. Brexit and Trump were arguably a result of people’s dissatisfaction with current systems, and a desire for radical change. Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have engaged a wide range of people not normally involved in radical politics. This seems a potentially fertile time for enlisting people to anarchism, and many might be more easily recruited to the cause by a well-spoken, respectable former diplomat, than a dreadlocked crusty with a black bandana over their face. Ross’ experience and former position afford him an air of respectability and legitimacy that may make his messages more palatable for many people. Ross eschews established examples of anarchism in action, such as the Paris Commune or Spanish Civil War, instead presenting more contemporary examples, such as the autonomous region of Rojava in North-eastern Syria, participatory democracy at the municipal level in Porto Allege, Brazil, or even communities’ abilities to respond to their own needs following emergency situations more effectively than the authorities and institutions entrusted to do so, as witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or the Grenfell Tower fire. Where Ross’ vision of an egalitarian society differs from many anarchists is his commitment to non-violence, and his suggestion of a gradual transition to an anarchist society, rather than through revolution. The belief that large worker-owned co-operative institutions could be built within a capitalist state, and that they would be so appealing, and productive, that the existing capitalist alternatives would simply wither away, demonstrates a naivety on Ross’ part. This book is a gateway drug, which will hopefully lead people to seek out stronger substances in the future. ■ Stuart Barton is a teacher and trade unionist, based in the West Midlands

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tee

    This book really changed my view of the world when I read it in 2010, particularly through the authors experiences as a British diplomat during the time of the Iraq war. His revelations as to how the political and media class spin truths and half truths to manufacture consent. How 'watch dogs' are set up to make us think there are impartial bodies keeping an eye on the powerful - so that we don't have to. In reality they are often toothless groups without legal weight at best and at worst popula This book really changed my view of the world when I read it in 2010, particularly through the authors experiences as a British diplomat during the time of the Iraq war. His revelations as to how the political and media class spin truths and half truths to manufacture consent. How 'watch dogs' are set up to make us think there are impartial bodies keeping an eye on the powerful - so that we don't have to. In reality they are often toothless groups without legal weight at best and at worst populated by former high fliers from the industry they are meant to be monitoring.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sixfootjames

    It was during the #ZumaMustFall campaigns in South Africa that I was looking for books about Revolution to help remove a corrupt president that I came across this book. We liked it so much that the name stuck and we registered leaderless.co.za - a disruptive education platform to prepare people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by creating projects and products that would show them how to take power back using the digital age.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charles Latimer

    An old white man, who's been working "as the man" his entire career long has a revelation in his later years. He is now is now a self-described anarchists who uses a real-estate deal to demonstrate the need of face to face interactions as humans (eye-roll). Has some insights into how decisions are made in the halls of power, but falls flat in giving any real meaningful push towards the ideal of a functioning decentralized human society (Anarchy). An old white man, who's been working "as the man" his entire career long has a revelation in his later years. He is now is now a self-described anarchists who uses a real-estate deal to demonstrate the need of face to face interactions as humans (eye-roll). Has some insights into how decisions are made in the halls of power, but falls flat in giving any real meaningful push towards the ideal of a functioning decentralized human society (Anarchy).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Pestana da Costa

    A bitter critique of the current state of the world, particularly in what concerns the emptiness and ineffectiveness of much of the international relations activities. The author, who was a member of Britain's diplomatic staff, clearly knows what he is writing about, although some of his well meaning suggestions I found but somewhat lacking in realism. But maybe I'm wrong... A bitter critique of the current state of the world, particularly in what concerns the emptiness and ineffectiveness of much of the international relations activities. The author, who was a member of Britain's diplomatic staff, clearly knows what he is writing about, although some of his well meaning suggestions I found but somewhat lacking in realism. But maybe I'm wrong...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ross

    go carne. help us FIX this!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    More relevant than ever. If you’re dissatisfied with the state of the world and those posturing for control here in 2019, this 2011 treatise by a disenfranchised, former British diplomat is essential reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ugh

    It's a shame to like what a book stands for and dislike the book. What I wanted: an in-depth analysis of different forms of government / political action followed by a conclusion (which, given the subtitle, would obviously be in favour of citizen action, but I could live without the suspense). What this is: advocacy from the outset, the basis for which, you all-too-slowly learn, is a hotchpotch of questionably relevant anecdote, questionably convincing extreme examples and tired (maybe less tired It's a shame to like what a book stands for and dislike the book. What I wanted: an in-depth analysis of different forms of government / political action followed by a conclusion (which, given the subtitle, would obviously be in favour of citizen action, but I could live without the suspense). What this is: advocacy from the outset, the basis for which, you all-too-slowly learn, is a hotchpotch of questionably relevant anecdote, questionably convincing extreme examples and tired (maybe less tired in 2011, to be fair) popular-non-fiction references. Some of the anecdotes from Ross's time as a diplomat are fascinating, especially the one that seems to be the moment in the book Ross most wanted to emphasise, relating to his role in determining British policy regarding trade sanctions against Iraq in the 90s, but while they illustrate that people in government become divorced from everyday morality by their professional culture, and the dangers of this, they fail to demonstrate how everyday citizens could do any better. The book advocates direct action, but in this instance Ross relates how British policy changed when two academics took it upon themselves to lobby the government, which a) is not that different from what Ross advocates NOT doing ("Don't campaign for others to perform the action to achieve change"), b) still required a government and c) is certainly no different from what he disparages NGOs for doing a few paragraphs earlier. The same goes for the major issues Ross says governments are struggling to cope with: things like climate change and nuclear disarmament; today you'd add Syria and the refugee crisis. He fails to show how citizens could do better, and he also fails to acknowledge what governments have achieved, e.g. the avoidance of any nuclear war to date. Ross doesn't give the merits of government a fair shout at all. I'm all in favour of greater involvement of stakeholders in policymaking, and probably greater use of referenda in government. But what exactly would be the role of direct citizen action in deciding how to respond to a foreign war, for example? There are times when you need governments to swiftly take decisions. Ross surely realises this, but the book gives no sign. Take the 5p plastic carrier bag charge. A citizen can choose to re-use a bag for life, and that will save maybe 20 carrier bags per year. Or a government can impose a charge, and that will save maybe 20 million. Boom. There are also times when you want the people who are good at doing something you find tedious to do that thing for everyone, leaving everyone else to do the things they're good at. Specialisation brings efficiency. Sure open processes up to those who want to be involved, but retain the state capacity on behalf of those who don't. Ross talks about asking citizens what they want, but says nothing about what to do next - for example, when no clear consensus emerges. Situations are complex, and simplifying them has negative consequences, he justifiably says, but he fails to properly set out an alternative. I'm sad at having to write a negative review of a book calling for engagement, action and agency, but there must be better books on the subject than this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Cheshire

    There are some good insights in this book, written by an ex-diplomat who quit over the Iraq war. Indices of social capital show that immigration increases social fragmentation in the short run but improves social capital longer term; long-term enrichment follows short-term disruption, in other words. Gandhi says the means of protest and change should be identical to the ends, as in satyagraha, non-violnece born of truth and love. Capitalism gets into trouble when it becomes not just an economic There are some good insights in this book, written by an ex-diplomat who quit over the Iraq war. Indices of social capital show that immigration increases social fragmentation in the short run but improves social capital longer term; long-term enrichment follows short-term disruption, in other words. Gandhi says the means of protest and change should be identical to the ends, as in satyagraha, non-violnece born of truth and love. Capitalism gets into trouble when it becomes not just an economic system but a moral code. When inequality (increasing, measured by the beautifully simple Gini Coefficient; 0 everyone shares everything, 1 one person owns the lot!)and bottom-line profit-chasing become all, it perverts the system.John Lewis style partnerships are much healthier. The excessive borrowing pre-credit crunch was fuelled by the struggling American middle classes' bid to keep up with the super-rich by "investing" in the sure-thing property boom. It's also good on globalisation. Like a neo-Norman Angell he argues it promotes an intense degree of interdependence that makes war impossible (1914 proved Angell's version of this was baloney). He also warns that freedom on the internet is fragile (key decisions made by Google's legal team) and compromised (filters and our own preferences feed us views we agree with, the "Daily Me." Also distance promotes a hostile, even virulent, tone of discourse (akin to cyber-bullying). Drones shield today's hi-tech warriors from the horrific consequences of their killing, turning war into "death TV." Modernity heightens the detachment, weakening the dterrent effect. The author's flirtation with anarchism (as in the title) is shallow and unconvincing. But this in an author whose maverick standpoint is interesting and worth watching.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    A sweeping, well-written and compelling call for taking personal action in new ways. A critique of our hierarchical institutions and of the failings of representative democracy, Carne Ross is suggesting 21st century realities demand a "revolution" --an evolution, actually--toward a more participative and consensual democracy, a deliberative democracy where the marketplace (my term) of ideas and interests are more equitably shared. Today this is made realizable, in part, by advances in communicat A sweeping, well-written and compelling call for taking personal action in new ways. A critique of our hierarchical institutions and of the failings of representative democracy, Carne Ross is suggesting 21st century realities demand a "revolution" --an evolution, actually--toward a more participative and consensual democracy, a deliberative democracy where the marketplace (my term) of ideas and interests are more equitably shared. Today this is made realizable, in part, by advances in communications technology... A perspective shared by many of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ross offers us a skeleton of a manifesto that needs flesh. To fully understand, to see how we might actually apply Ross' perspective, where we live now, in our our neighborhoods and communities, I suggest another book--"Community: The Structure of Belonging," by Peter Block. Here leadership is redefined--as shared and situational--and the role of facilitator given prominence. (Once again, my terminology.). Real people addressing real problems and possibilities, with the bottom line of building social fabric. Sound like a departure from business as usual? Yes it is. Sound idealistic? Yes it is, unabashedly so. But both authors argue that if we are to survive the dire and complex situation humankind is facing in this new century, a new paradigm for public policy making is urgently needed--and it begins with us. Ross and Block give us a glimpse of the way out and up from what could be a dismal future.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    This book is a good insight into the workings of the British diplomatic service from someone at the very top of the tree. From my own reading Ross is coming from a hyper globalist position with a twist, that he gives his own take on how to deal with the transnational problems such as pollution, economic inequality etc. through an anarchist lens. That people should do things non-violently and take charge of their own destiny since the traditional role of government is becoming less and less effect This book is a good insight into the workings of the British diplomatic service from someone at the very top of the tree. From my own reading Ross is coming from a hyper globalist position with a twist, that he gives his own take on how to deal with the transnational problems such as pollution, economic inequality etc. through an anarchist lens. That people should do things non-violently and take charge of their own destiny since the traditional role of government is becoming less and less effective through the processes of globalisation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    I found this book quite interesting with lots on little facts and historical examples provided. The overall message that I took away from this book was be the change you wish to see in the world and also where you spend your money is a vote of support for the people or corporations that own it. One fact that really stuck in my head is that for every $1 spent in the economy the 1% get 52 cents of it leaving the other 99% to split the 48 cents.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sidney Luckett

    Compelling critique of modern liberal democracies - how government is divorced from the people. The conclusion is a profound reflection on his life as a British diplomat - it literally demoralized him. Inspired by anarchism, complexity theory and WH Auden, Ross suggests that a new world is possible and what it will take for individuals to move to this world. (Strangely, the weakest chapter in the book, Nine Principles for Action, is a bit thin)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Picture Bandit

    The leaderless Revolution gives you an insight in to the veiled actions of diplomats, countries and the UN.Sometimes there are facts that are hard to believe but well documented with sources. The points raised are also food for thought just as the suggestions on how "we the people" could act. Everybody who has but the slightest interest in diplomacy, international affairs, Iran, Iraq, USA, Britain and the UN should take a few moments to look in to it. The leaderless Revolution gives you an insight in to the veiled actions of diplomats, countries and the UN.Sometimes there are facts that are hard to believe but well documented with sources. The points raised are also food for thought just as the suggestions on how "we the people" could act. Everybody who has but the slightest interest in diplomacy, international affairs, Iran, Iraq, USA, Britain and the UN should take a few moments to look in to it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amna

    A great book highlighting today's political errors in governments and such, while suggesting a new way to approach those objects in power. The author, an ex-diplomat, approaches anarchy with a new point of view; instead of the usual chaos that we are used to think of when it comes to anarchy, people might just finally relate to their instincts and help each other, forming a circle of trust within a nation itself and not having to depend on the government at such times. A great book highlighting today's political errors in governments and such, while suggesting a new way to approach those objects in power. The author, an ex-diplomat, approaches anarchy with a new point of view; instead of the usual chaos that we are used to think of when it comes to anarchy, people might just finally relate to their instincts and help each other, forming a circle of trust within a nation itself and not having to depend on the government at such times.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jgknobler

    A passionate and thus somewhat polemical critique of government and those of us who rely on government to get stuff done. Since I read this during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, I was particularly skeptical about the author's ideas that an individual's sense of agency and ability to form small working groups on a local level could ever substitute for government, however lacking and infuriating such governments may be. A passionate and thus somewhat polemical critique of government and those of us who rely on government to get stuff done. Since I read this during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, I was particularly skeptical about the author's ideas that an individual's sense of agency and ability to form small working groups on a local level could ever substitute for government, however lacking and infuriating such governments may be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Xiaoyu Li

    We don't need "the neat logic of neoclassical economics and representative democracy" which "created a mental cage of our minds, and ambitions". "Real life was far too complex and contingent to be controlled by those at the summit of the pyramid". The world needs our own voices. Our future must be controlled by ourselves, not by some ostensible democratic governments. "Even failure is better than acquiescence". We don't need "the neat logic of neoclassical economics and representative democracy" which "created a mental cage of our minds, and ambitions". "Real life was far too complex and contingent to be controlled by those at the summit of the pyramid". The world needs our own voices. Our future must be controlled by ourselves, not by some ostensible democratic governments. "Even failure is better than acquiescence".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suncani

    I do think this is a book worth reading. While I argue with some of the premises this book starts with, it at least offers solid avenues for people to try and act, in line with it's principles which is unusal for this type of book. I do think some of the problems it identified exist and could be solved by greater involvement of people, however I don't think less restrictions and government involvement is the answer, at least at the local level. One to read and ponder. I do think this is a book worth reading. While I argue with some of the premises this book starts with, it at least offers solid avenues for people to try and act, in line with it's principles which is unusal for this type of book. I do think some of the problems it identified exist and could be solved by greater involvement of people, however I don't think less restrictions and government involvement is the answer, at least at the local level. One to read and ponder.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stormy

    First I read Colorado Senator Morgan Carroll's book on Take Back Your Government. Empowering. Next, for our October meeting our Littleton Great Decisions Discussion Group is reading Ill Fairs the Land by Tony Judt, and then the following month we'll be reading this: Leaderless Revolution. Book gave me some pointers on how we as individuals could move forward. First I read Colorado Senator Morgan Carroll's book on Take Back Your Government. Empowering. Next, for our October meeting our Littleton Great Decisions Discussion Group is reading Ill Fairs the Land by Tony Judt, and then the following month we'll be reading this: Leaderless Revolution. Book gave me some pointers on how we as individuals could move forward.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Jones

    Although I enjoyed this book, I did feel it was slightly 'forgettable.' I also felt like the conclusion was almost independent to the rest of the book as it brought in some new ideas and a new way of looking at things. Overall, I did enjoy this book though and it did encourage me to think about the power we all hold. Although I enjoyed this book, I did feel it was slightly 'forgettable.' I also felt like the conclusion was almost independent to the rest of the book as it brought in some new ideas and a new way of looking at things. Overall, I did enjoy this book though and it did encourage me to think about the power we all hold.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lesley-Ann

    Interesting book especially discussing how the interests of government can and often do run contrary to the interests of social justice . Unfortunately, I found that the last two chapters talking about how to create the leaderless revolution were very vague and not particularly helpful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peter Podbielski

    In describing how ordinary people will take power and change politics in the 21st Century, the author fails to note that the same lot has been doing just that since time immemorial. Much of this book lacks coherency.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I recommend this book to all those who are currently frustrated with the political situation in our country. Chapter 8 "Kill the King" hit the spot for me. How to engage in action within a broken system and make an impact, sometimes in small ways. I recommend this book to all those who are currently frustrated with the political situation in our country. Chapter 8 "Kill the King" hit the spot for me. How to engage in action within a broken system and make an impact, sometimes in small ways.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Kaye

    A rather woolly book, and for a diplomat, not very well structured or argued. It's a pamphlet really. Clay Shirky does this kind of thing better. A shame, I enjoyed his first book. A rather woolly book, and for a diplomat, not very well structured or argued. It's a pamphlet really. Clay Shirky does this kind of thing better. A shame, I enjoyed his first book.

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