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The Seventeen Traditions

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  331 ratings  ·  63 reviews
My boyhood in a small town in Connecticut was shaped by my family, my friends, our neighbors, my chores and hobbies, the town's culture and environment, its schools, libraries, factories, and businesses, their workers, and by storms that came from nowhere to disrupt everything. . . . Yet childhood in any family is a mysterious experience. . . . What shapes the mind, the pe ...more
ebook, 160 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 30th 2007)
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Steve Sckenda
Sep 03, 2013 Steve Sckenda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Activists Needing Inspiration
Recommended to Steve by: My admiration of Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader and I sit down over coffee. "Ralph, tell me how you became the person you are.” He gives me an hour-long answer about his parents and the values they instilled in him. The coffee chills as I ignore it to listen to this exemplary human being who is responsible for saving millions of lives and who has lived a selfless and disciplined life for consumers against forces which fought him over every inch.

Nader evokes the landscape of his childhood that shaped him into an indefatigable cham
Who knew?? Ralph Nader is a conservative!! And this book proves it. It is not about traditions so much as it is a rant against the commercialization of the culture.
Hard to disagree with that of course, but he does not present any feasible solutions, and going back to his idyllic childhood in small town New England is impossible. It is not a book about traditions; it is a book about values. A better title would be: Seventeen Values For Today.
Tim Lepczyk
While I'm sure there are a lot of great insights for people in this book, most of it seemed like common sense flavored with anecdotes from Ralph Nader's childhood. Also, I wonder who the audience is for this book? The writing and ideas seem like they were washed down for the comprehension of someone in eigth grade. So, it left a lot to be desired in that area. Another point is that I felt like Ralph Nader was being patronizing in this book. Others have had a different reaction, but I came away w ...more
Rob Rub
Ralph, I voted for you buddy, but you have to stop the incessant bitching about kids and their iPods. Think of it this way, while you had a great childhood sitting on a rock eating sandwiches, other kids are having a great childhood talking with kids in other countries, exchanging local music, and hearing sounds and ideas from all over the globe. It's really not so bad.

I liked what values he brought up in this book, and I think it's good to remember how fulfilling simple pleasures can be. I thi
Ricky Davis
I like to read a Nader book every election year. I chose this one this year because it was the last book that he wrote and when he talked about this book,I totally got it.

I gave this book away to the being higher up in the corporate hiearchial structure that pays for my shelter, food, and drink as well as other products from other corporate hiearchies. I am still supsicious of corporations, but I feel that you got to give people credit for seeing through the corporate manipulation.
Nader explores the values instilled within him and his siblings by his parents. His parents taught them being patriotic does not mean "my country right or wrong" but it means working for the betterment of ones country. Nostalgia does not color his view of the past. He recalls how factories that employed his neighbors also polluted the air and water in his community. The traditions he celebrates can cultivate a strong society if imitated.
Aug 22, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants some nostalgia and some family tips
Recommended to Amy by: Rob
This seriously made me want to have a family so bad! It talks about the ways to raise a family in the older traditions. It really wasn't an advice book, more of a memoir and very good advice from a family with amazing children. It makes you miss the way we were raised, and hope that I can do the same for my children even though kids these days are totally not raised in these traditions.
This book goes a long way to explain Nader. His parents experience as small business people shaped his outlook immensely, as did his father's political passions.

Its hard to imagine someone like his fiercely political father surviving the capitalist jungle today. But I think that the facts of his father's life keeps Nader thinking and fighting for a "honest capitalism."
I think I read this book in an hour. It reminded me a lot of growing up close to my grandmother. Nader almost comes off as a curmedgeon but I think, overall, he is correct in his assumptions about the "traditions" that benefit children when they are young. Obviously, we can't jump back to New England in the '40's but we can apply some of his examples in 2008.
Jun 10, 2009 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: families
Superbly written in a quiet, simple style which will confound people who think they know Ralph Nader. Recommended highly for families of all political persuasions, this book addresses life lessons that can benefit anyone and is utterly apolitical. It ought to be considered controversial by nobody, and may best be ultimately appreciated by those who dislike Mr. Nader.
May 05, 2009 Cory rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone - parents in particular
Wow, this was a great book. I read the whole thing yesterday. Very inspirational. Ralph Nader details the family and community environment he grew up in and describes the family traditions which provided the foundational principles and values for his life. Though Nader never had kids, this really is a must read for all parents.
Andrew Georgiadis
Ralph Nader is a great American, and as a result I found myself more tolerant of the filler and fluff in his uncharacteristically slim, uncharacteristically simple volume, “The Seventeen Traditions.” Herein, he tries to communicate his unique rural Connecticut upbringing in a household of middle-class, Arabic-speaking, Lebanese émigrés who raised him with a sense of civic duty, responsibility, and patriotism. All the lessons are suffused with the family’s singular defining trait: intelligent con ...more
A fascinating book by repeated presidential hopeful Ralph Nader about the traditions he learned as a child that he feels best exemplify America and humanity. However one feels about Nader's politics, one has difficulty arguing with the practical virtue of these seventeen traditions.
Good read

This is a good read for anyone, but definitely more so, if you're an immigrant or first gen Americans. Nader talks a lot about his upbringing, his parents and how influential his parents were in raising him and his siblings, what duties that we must entail as citizens. I picked up this book as Nader is someone whom I really admire and I learnt a lot about him, his upbringing, and most importantly how kids these days are a lot different and disconnected from reality. Pick it up if want t
Braxton Lewis
The Tradition of Listening
The Tradition of the Family Table
The Tradition of Health
The Tradition of History
The Tradition of Scarcity
The Tradition of Sibling Equality
The Tradition of Education and Argument
The Tradition of Discipline
The Tradition of Simple Enjoyments
The Tradition of Reciprocity
The Tradition of Independent Thinking
The Tradition of Charity
The Tradition of Work
The Tradition of Business
The Tradition of Patriotism
The Tradition of Solitude
The Tradition of Civics

"I believe it's you."

I am
I had to read this book for my Social Justice class, and this book is full of social justice but it has no dialogue, no nothing. It was bland, I think it is more for older people and not 16 year olds. I understood it all but its trying to tell parents that you should family traditions no matter what technology there is and I just couldn't connect to that
Alethea Bothwell
I never expected to use the words "delightful" and "Ralph Nader" in the same sentence, but this book, by Ralph Nader, is simply delightful.

It is lessons for parenting, based on his own parents' practices. It helps that I agree whole-heartedly with everything they did. He seems to have had a lovely childhood. Who knew?
Mark Konrad
Having worked for Ralph for 39 months of my life at his washington dc office i thought i had a good idea of who he was and what made him tick, i was wrong.

This book gave me more insight into Ralph Nader the man than i thought was possible. Reading his story for me was an enjoyable trip to an enjoyable time.

The story about his mother shaking hands with Prescott Bush was well worth the price of the book alone.

I purchased a number of copies of the book and plan to distribute them to others, we ne
Gary Baker
Very simple but profound concepts in this book on how to lead yourself, how to live your life, and how to improve our next generation through family values.
Bob Prophet
This book tells of the civics-conscious household Ralph Nader and his siblings grew up in and tell of the "traditions" his family embraced that made a great impact in all of their lives. These include "traditions" relating to listening, family dinners, sibling equality, charity, work ethic, education and critical thinking, etc.

I found this book to be a wonderful, short read and would give it as a gift to others, especially those (about to be) raising children. Ralph Nader and his siblings turne
Patty Apostolides
We have been avid fans of Ralph Nader for a number of years because of his activism, and when he came to speak at a local Barnes&Noble bookstore, we went to see him. He talked about his youth and how his parents helped shape him to what he is today. I recall him saying how his mother wanted something done about a bridge and when she went to the politician, she took his hand and held it firmly, not letting go until he promised he would do it.

We also learned how he had worked hard to get to w
Beverlee Jobrack
I bought an autographed copy of this book and just reread it. I have such admiration for Ralph Nader and have often wondered about his parents--his sister is an anthropologist. Listening, family table, health, understanding of history, education and argument, charity, work civics, discipline, scarcity, solitude, simple enjoyments, patriotism--his parents had these priorities and instilled them in their children. These traditions and values felt very familiar to me since my parents had the same v ...more
This is a gentle, thought-provoking look at the beliefs and attitudes of a Lebanese-American family, presided over by two amazing immigrant parents and the lives their children led under their sensitive and educational tutelage. These parents brought the best of Middle Eastern beliefs and traditions and melded them with the best beliefs and traditions of their adopted land, the United States. That all four of their children achieved distinction and in one case (Ralph Nader), greatness, provides ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Jenava marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have a friend who felt like this book had such good advice for families. Ever since I saw a documentary about him, and heard him say that his dad asked him at the dinner table,
"Ralph, were you taught to believe today, or were you taught to think?", I have always really respected and been interested in his life, and the parents he had. I know enough about his past to know he was raised in a very good family. So, I am interested to hear more about what his parents taught him... and his own view
Ron Mentzer
I was surprised how nostalgic this book was. It was interesting to learn about the forces that Nader believes shaped his life. While I sometimes think we spend too much time connected to our devices, I'm not sure it's as bad as Nader suggest it is.
Mandy Newham-Cobb
Re-read this just this morning. Really quiet book, though its presumably for a wide audience (simply written and very clear) it's also very personal, human, and kinda sweet. Great keyhole into Nader's family and childhood, bit of an origin-story of his values and ethics... I especially enjoy his chapters "On Listening", and "On Solitude".

(really dig David Wolf's illustrations, esp. paired with the brown ink of the print - really quite simple and elegant)
Enjoyable easy read about what's important in family life and creating a nurturing, enriching home environment. One thing he totally leaves out though, is perhaps the reason his home life was as enriching as it was...was simply that his mom was home. It is a nice reminder that one doesn't need a lot of money to provide a stimulating environment for young minds...that sometimes doing less is actually "more".
Really liked this book. Ralph Nader seems to be a good person.
Cary Sawatsky
While this book moves along at the kind of pace that most snails could appreciate, this is a very valuable book for addressing an issue that very few other books address. Clearly, Nader comes from a family that would make them experts in this field. Anyone looking for advice on how they can become a better parent would do well to read this book.
Dan Mozgai
A wonderful blueprint for a civil society. Although Nader is 35 years older than me, I found much more in common with his traditions, than what passes for a society today.

Nader is known as a liberal, but the 17 traditions he describes in this book are far more conservative than the insane asylum that passes for modern society.
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American attorney, author, lecturer, political activist, and candidate for President of the United States in five elections, including the last election 0f 2008, with his role in the 2000 election in particular being subject to much debate.

Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer rights, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government. Nader is the first Arab American pr
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“To know and no to do is not to know.” 1 likes
“The resource of generational history is accorded little attention our society, which seems ever more obsessed with making “new” and “better” synonymous. From my family I became aware of the importance of passing along wisdom from one generation to the next. Yet despite the increasing proliferation of digital recording and other communication technologies, we’re passing on less knowledge today than our parents did through the oral tradition alone. We’re drowning in photographs and videos, capturing every mundane moment of our birthdays, holidays, and vacations. Yet these can be no more than pleasant distraction, only scratching the surface of our real relationships.” 1 likes
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