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How the World Works

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  523 ratings  ·  53 reviews
According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is “arguably the most important intellectual alive.” But he isn’t easy to read . . . or at least he wasn’t until these books came along. Made up of intensively edited speeches and interviews, they offer something not found anywhere else: pure Chomsky, with every dazzling idea and penetrating insight intact, delivered in clear,...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Soft Skull Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,809)
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What I like about Chomsky is how he seems to not really care much if he's going to piss-off a few people, even if he's right or wrong. And to have the courage and knowledge to back it up in a fairly polite manner, I think is quite remarkable.

Everything in this book is from a US point of view since obviously; Chomsky is a Jew-US citizen and US's huge influence in the world, and because of that, it pretty much starts with why everyone hates them:

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3
A very educating piece of work, an interesting look at the not-so-behind-the-scenes global politics/profits we see today. Although the examples are a little dated, Chomsky's arguments will be valid for quite some time.
Billie Pritchett
Noam Chomsky's How the World Works (HWW) has an awfully high-falutin' title, but it seems to be quite accurate in describing the content. HWW is actually a collection of four abridged books, some of which are interviews with Chomsky, others of which are books that had been written by Chomsky. If there's one basic theme for the book, it is this truism: that governments and large businesses operate in their own interests and not in the interests of the people they are supposed to serve.

I say this...more
This book has considerable merit, but also some serious flaws. It is basically interviews with Noam Chomsky, who brings his vast knowledge to comment on subjects like how the U.S. government really works, imperialism, democracy, and economics. But there are no footnotes, so you can't check sources, you just have to take Chomsky's word for everything. It paints a grim picture of the modern corporate security state. By stringing together a number of short examples on particular topics, like how th...more
António Sousa
For those who are still not aware of the constant presence and influence of the US in global warfare this is a huge eye opener. It is impressive the detail description and opinion presented by Chomsky in this big set of interviews. A leftist/anarchist point of view, critical to capitalism and current social status and modern human condition. A good first read for those interest in concepts such as, class warfare, global economy, third world countries wars and the roots of racism.
This is not a bo...more
Chomsky has a tendency to write in long, convoluted sentences, so the purpose of this book is to make him more accessible by offering transcripts of interviews. It works. The stuff on corporations being totalitarian tyrannies should hit home for everyone who works in one.
A favourite quote: "The press isn’t in the business of letting people know how power works. It would be crazy to expect that....They’re part of the power system—why should they expose it?”
5 stars not for style, because it is a series of recorded interviews and as such can get a bit choppy, but for content. Corporations control government. And if you doubt this he can prove it to you a thousand different ways. That, and a U.S. government controlled by major corporations routinely undermines not communist states, not socialist states, but states with legitimate democracies. Why? Because as he demonstrates in the book a country with a legitimate democracy is a danger to corporations...more
Ben Lever
Noam Chomsky’s omnibus How The World Works is made up of four of his earlier books - What Uncle Sam Really Wants; The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many; Secrets, Lies and Democracy; and The Common Good. These four are made up of edited transcripts of radio interviews Chomsky did through the 80s and 90s, and the format works quite well - the questions are useful starting points, and Chomsky mostly just uses them as a springboard from which to make points, so they tend not to intrude too much.

Niklas Pivic
If you think this book may be too old to read, think again. From the foreword, by Arthur Naiman:

Although the talks and interviews compiled in this book originally took place in the 1990s (and some even in the late 1980s), I think you’ll find Chomsky’s take on things more insightful than virtually anything you hear on the airwaves or read in the papers today. His analyses are so deep and farsighted that they only seem to get more timely—and startling—with age. Read a few pages and see if you don’
Feb 26, 2012 Eimad rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: activists and powerless people
Shelves: politik, general
wow.very hard to read but worth it.full of idea and truth about Neoconservative,New World Order and else.time to think out of quote Noam Chomsky Pick your cause and go volunteer for a group that's working on it - Noam Chomsky.this is a collection of essay like(it is interview actually) and short books combined together.although some of his books written in 1970 the idea sound more and more updated.after all now is past Arab Spring.a must read for powerless(us).do not let the ruler(read:bu...more
Rahul  Adusumilli
God bless Chomsky.

I have greater appreciation for Frontline's John Cherian and Vijay Prashad now. When they report on an American led war, for instance, their narrative is at complete odds with the one portrayed by the western media and their group of human right organizations. BBC, CNN, NY Times, Slate, Mashable, Jon Stewart all report within that narrative created/permitted by the State Department. I have always liked Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart but not when they're reporting on events out...more
C. Scott
I love Chomsky's bluntness... reading this is like visiting some wise old monk and getting lots of surprisingly simple answers to a lot of big questions. Many aren't ready to hear what this man has to say, but I think there is a lot of truth in Chomsky's worldview.
I love Chomsky. Mind you it's pretty horrible what he says, but at least he gives you pointers on what to do if you can be bothered and have enough influential friends to help out!
A good collection of 3 of Chomsky's bigger books from the 90s. Obviously a little dated by now, but a decent introduction to someone who isn't familiar with all of his work.
I wasn't able to finish this book because I had to return it to the library but I'm a big fan of Noam Chomsky and this book doesn't disappoint. The interview format makes Chomsky's deep thoughts easy to read. If more people in the American government would listen to him, we'd be able to solve a lot of the problems we've been experiencing. Chomsky doesn't spare anyone on the Democrat or Republican side, pointing at the major reasons behind US policies at home and abroad (follow the money). He's a...more
Maria Rita Biagini
Ricordo che ero molto giovane quando mi sono comprata uno dei miei primi libri. Era un saggio sulla storia di El Salvador, un paese latinoamericano di cui avevo sentito in televisione senza averci capito nulla. Speravo che leggendo avrei capito. Se non ricordo male, invece mi si ingarbugliarono ancora di più le idee, ma soprattutto rimasi colpita dalla violenza di cui si scriveva, di certi gruppi armati contro la popolazione inerme. Il libro di Chomsky mi aiuta a ricordare, a capire e a comprend...more
Fenix Rose
Good. Though the format especailly after the first section is of question and answer composed of interviews Chomsky had given in teh 1990s.
Reading it I understood a bit better how things are now, how we got here, why things are so bad,
and why they arent getting better.
We need a total shift, cultural/economic/political and that will not happen as we dont see the big picture but pick at little things within it. Like a doctor treating symptoms but never the underlying cause of an illness. You may h...more
Much of my life I have heard Noam Chomsky's name, usually associated with a non-mainstream world views. I was glad to find this readable presentation of his ideas. This is a collection of four books originally published in the 90's. The books are edited versions of speeches and interviews of Chomsky from that time period. This collection includes a very few more recent notes. Though the examples are from 15-20 year old history, his diagnoses of the world power structure and issues that we face a...more
Alex Francis
It's worth noting that as a coherent book this isn't great, being a collection of pamphlets reprinted together. It's also irritating that notes from the originals were omitted based on an editorial view that they were out of date. Despite those shortcomings, and in part owing to my naivete in the subject matter, I found the material sufficiently explosive and the arguments so intelligently constructed that I'd rate this one of the most important books I've read. Chomsky is set apart by his histo...more
Consisting of 3 separate books slapped together, it tries to cover Chomsky's views on power, corporatism, media, and US external policy among other topics. Although many details and cases are different from those in "Understanding power" it follows the same structure - excerpts from interviews, discussions and lectures grouped by theme and makes the same main points - some more clearly and with more additional literature, others with less. Unfortunately the first half of the book excludes the qu...more
Niraj Shah
This is a brilliant book. This man knows everything going on this world, a huge respect. This is definitely an eye opener for me. I wish this book is read by everyone.
Becky Johnson
Though some of the interviews are as much as 20 years old, Chomsky’s commentary is still relevant today. Among many topics, he discusses the media, US intervention in Latin America, the war on drugs, corporate welfare and the gap between rich and poor (and here he brings up the forbidden word “class”). While an interesting and enlightening read, it’s a bit repetitive in places and it’s written for a more intellectual audience.

Read the rest of my review here:
The book is essentially various interviews and speeches by Chomsky transcribed into text. Therefore, insights are not detailed and there is a lot of repitition. As a Chomsky fan, I suggest one look at his other works, nothing here is new, just a dumbed down version of his views.
Maha NoorElahi
This book is not for people who are brain-washed by the American dream, civilization & advancement. It's all about harsh "nasty" in-your-face facts. The language is far from smooth or creative, so don't expect a pleasant reading experience. It is, however, an eye-opener, which raises a lot of questions & leaves you with more questions. I highly recommend it for those who want to see the "real" face of the American politics & the countries that follow suit.
Typical Chomsky; critical, harsh yet not unfair criticism of the US containment policy during the cold war. Would hope he stops writing about the attrocities that the US has committed, but perhaps more about how this century old colonialism game has evolved, and how the international organisations are less of a trojan horse to crack down on weaker economies compared to the direct and devastating policies of the US in the last century.
WOW... Chomsky says the best way to keep people obedient and passive is to strictly narrow the range of opinion and then encourage vigorous free debate within that range. Well he blows the lid off both ends off the range. You will never look at the world the same, this book would be banned in most places for it's irreverence or calling out of American policy.
Kieran Kelly
A good all-round introduction to the political viewpoint of Chomsky. My largest criticism of this volume would be that as the content is basically comprised of interview transcripts, nothing claimed is referenced. Having read other Chomsky books, I know he has evidence to bolster the claims laid out in this book but I found this mildly off-putting.
Sums up Tenacious D's "The Government Totally Sucks." For a more eloquent review look elsewhere. He intellectualizes what we all should know. People obsessed with money and power will do anything to keep or get it. If you can understand this book and not want to punch corporate d-bags then you have no soul.
David Barber
better than expected
"Speaking truth to power makes no sense. There's no point in speaking the truth to Henry Kissinger--he knows it already. Instead, speak truth to the powerless--or, better, with the powerless. They they'll act to dismantle illegitimate power."
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Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. H...more
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“If you abandon the political arena, somebody is going to be there. Corporations aren't going to go home and join the PTA. They are going to run things.” 2 likes
“In a situation of occupation or domination, the occupier, the dominant power, has to justify what it’s doing. There is only one way to do it—become a racist. You have to blame the victim. Once you become a raving racist in self-defense, you’ve lost your capacity to understand what’s happening.” 1 likes
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