No, They Can't: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed
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No, They Can't: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  595 ratings  ·  110 reviews
New York Times bestselling journalist John Stossel shows how the expansion of government control is destructive for American society.Emmy Award-winning journalist John Stossel is a self-proclaimed skeptic, attacking society'ssacred cows. Now, he dismantles the most sacred of them all: the notion that government action is the best way to solve a problem. From the myth that...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Threshold Editions
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Peter A
I am getting old. That's a good thing because I have the advantage of having watched government for a long time. At one point I thought, incorrectly, that government could solve problems. And I thought I knew everything. Both observations were incorrect. Government throws money at problems. That rarely solves the problems but can sometimes ameliorate the suffering of some individuals involved. That's a good thing...sometimes. When there is too much money, it has a corrosive, corrupting effect. W...more
If you're a liberal, you'll hate this book. If you are an open-minded conservative (like I was so many years ago when I read his first two books), it will make you think. If you are a libertarian, this is a book for you. Government is not the solution to our problems... government IS the problem... and it's high time we shrink it down to size.
Libertarianism thought delivered painlessly by nice guy Stossel

Published April 10, 2012 by Simon and Schuster Audio.
Read by the author, John Stossel
Duration: 9 hours, 14 minutes

The title of this audiobook, No, They Can't , is a play on the 2008 campaign slogan of then-candidate Obama, "Yes We Can!" Stossel, of course, is the TV consumer reporter turned anchor of ABC's 20/20 who now hosts a weekly show of Fox Business News and a series on one-hour specials on Fox News. He has won nineteen Emmy Aw...more
The BEST non fiction book I've read in long time. I love John Stossel - have since I was in high school. He and Brit Hume were my favorites when I was young. They were the only ones on ABC that made sense to me. Such voices of reason. I loved this book because it explains how many of the things we're told or taught are just plain wrong, and how we hurt ourselves and those we claim to help with our faulty thinking. I'm a libertarian by nature, so I knew Stossel's views lined up with mine in many...more
Fantastic book that helped me get a firmer grasp on how libertarians see the world. And frankly, Stossel may just win me to their cause. I especially loved his discussions on education, gun control, and drug legalization. Concerning the latter, I'm not totally convinced that the libertarian view is the right one, but I'm much more conflicted about it now, which means I'm having to take a good hard look at what my own beliefs are. I appreciate that in any book.

Two things that kept a star off of m...more
Malin Friess
Five Stars! Five Stars! No they Can't (an obvious shot at Obama's Yes We Can) makes the strong argument why government fails (so make it smaller) and individuals achieve.

Stossel quit his job at ABC after he found that he couldn't do journalism like he wanted to do. Even though he disagree's much with Fox News (on gay marriage, military spending, legalization of drugs, etc) he took a position with them. He claims the Fox News is more open minded and educated that the other stations.

Stossel is of...more
This is libertarian John Stossel’s retort to the big government political slogan “Yes We Can”. It is his latest book for individual freedom of choice and against overbearing government. Stossel was a consumer reporter on ABC network and its 20/20 investigative show for a couple of decades. Since becoming more conservative and sanely libertarian he has been on the Fox News network and has his own show on Fox Business Network.

Although a libertarian in the Ron Paul vein, supporting legalization of...more
I've been politically indecisive for ages. I couldn't find a niche. Unfortunately, I still have no niche. I remain Independent. However, this book solidified and articulated a lot of my vague political opinions. I wouldn't call myself a Libertarian necessarily (Mainly because of the party's stance on abortion).

But I certainly agree free markets make more sense. And deregulation. Especially privatizing public schools. That's an excellent idea. No more teacher unions. I find it highly disturbing w...more
Shea Mastison
"I can go to a foreign country, stick a piece of plastic in the wall, and cash will come out. I can give that same piece of plastic to a stranger who doesn't even speak my language--and he'll rent me a car for a week. When I get home, Visa or MasterCard will send me the accounting--correct to the penny. That's capitalism! I just take it for granted.

Government, by contrast, can't even count votes accurately."

John Stossel is the rare libertarian in the mainstream media. Using his position as a we...more
This book is an awesome exploration of the shortfalls of government. Stossel is my favorite journalist, and every time I read one of his books (or watch one of his TV specials, for that matter) it makes me feel ten times smarter. NO, THEY CAN'T is basically a cross between THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO CAPITALISM and something written by Ron Paul. But this book did one thing for me that Ron Paul was never able to do...cause me to start identifying myself as Libertarian! Stossel tackles a lo...more
Dwayne Roberts
A good read, certainly indignance-raising. The only errors I noticed were minor (such as calling Ayn Rand a libertarian). The book doesn't delve into why independence, smaller government, absence of force, etc. is virtuous; it assumes, as does the Declaration of Independence, that they are self-evident. The book promotes a foreign policy that is, in my opinion, a little isolationist, although Stossel himself admits his unsurity, pondering where to draw the line. Quite interesting to me was his c...more
No They Can't takes a balanced libertarian view on business and government, detailing the inefficiencies and inherent ability to encourage corruption when left to its own devices without oversight or competition. The book equally criticizes the rise of the Tea Party movement, giving rationale for their creation yet illustrating the ease by which demagoguery blunts their message, and socialist-leaning progressives showing the well-meaning ideology that resonates with many but tends to succumb to...more
Karla Kelsch
Whether you're liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Independent or Libertarian, everyone should read this book. Although I don't necessarily agree with everything Stossel says, I do like the way he presented the information. I didn't feel like any agenda was being shoved down my throat. I definitely view government is a whole new light....I'd say I've been enlightened by this book.
Robert Chapman
This book kept me thinking, which as I have said in other reviews is the sign of a good book. I found I went back and forth between total agreement with Stossel on many points to outright dismay at some other points of view.

For example, the idea that providing medical care costs far more than it should due to medical insurance makes total sense. The premise being that when we don't have to shop for the best price as we know the given procedure is covered by insurance, we don't care what the real...more
Marty Byk
I like John's straight ahead point of view. Don't always agree with him but he doesn't hammer you with his POV. He gives examples to back up his perspective and I believe I learned a thing or two along the way. Fast and breezy reading.
I was beginning to think I might have to switch to the libertarian party. I identify with almost everything they espouse. Except abortion. That's a deal breaker! It's not a religion thing. I'm agnostic. It's a healthy respect for life and creation. Abortion is the singular act of creation that popular society finds completely acceptable to destroy while still under construction. We fight for the rainforests, campaign to save the baby seals and bitch about carbon footprints but we do nothing to i...more
I thought I was a republican, but after reading This book, i am questioning myself. Great book, like all of his books really.

Jeff Stockett
I enjoyed this book. John Stossel is a guru when it comes to economics. You can see the teachings of Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek coming out in his writings. That was really fun.

He also addresses many other areas of government control. You can tell that when he strays from economics his knowledge isn't as strong, but he still did an excellent job of portraying the libertarian perspective.

I'm a conservative who leans libertarian, but I didn't necessarily agree with everything he wrote. However,...more
Janastasia Whydra
I never heard of John Stossel before I read this book-- mostly because I am not a fan of Fox news. I was drawn to the title, "No, They Can't: Why Government Fails- But Individuals Succeed" because the title suggests that this book would expand on the novel concept of how the people hold the power to change the current flow of society. Essentially this is what Stossel writes about.

It's hard to determine whether I would recommend this book to anyone or not. I agree with some of his opinions (ex. B...more
No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed by John Stossel

"No, They Can't" is the thought-provoking, no-nonsense book that makes the compelling case that government is not the best entity to solve our problems, individuals are. With great eloquence, mastery and in a conversational tone that makes his books a joy to read John Stossel attacks many preconceived notions about the proper scope of the government. Accomplished author and investigative journalist and one of the most...more
Jeff Rudisel
All ye Libertarian leaning and fiscal conservative leaning thinkers.
All ye Free Market democrats.
A splendid analysis and cogent presentation of our case!
"Classical Liberalism: what is now termed Libertarianism."
Stossel has been doing his homework on consumers, markets, and government for many years, interviewing the experts, the specialists, the movers-and-shakers, the entrepreneurs, politicians, the economists, the business owners, the legalists; and he brings us a highly informative an...more
Ti-Leigh Telford
First, I have to say that I received this book through GoodReads First, which means I won it through GoodReads giveaways. I'm not one to register for a political book. I' m really more of a historical fiction girl. However, the title caught my eye because philosophically I am a small government citizen. So it required quite a bit of effort on my part to start and read the book. It was bizarre because as I read I started reading faster which means I'm loving it. Some of my deep seated conservatis...more
A remarkably good, fun read from this libertarian refugee from the mainstream media. Each individual topic starts with "What intuition tempts us to believe:", followed by "What reality taught me:". It's a great way to introduce each subject, and state why government's efforts to improve things so frequently doesn't have the desired result. Here's one example from the book:
What intuition tempts us to believe: It's tyrants who want to censor.
What reality taught me: We should fear the tyranny of th...more
Margie Nash
This is a very informative book on libertarian views. These are mostly my views, and John Stossel has a way of presenting up-to-date facts, examples and figures to sort out topics from drugs, education, unions, healthcare, education, military and others which help me clarify my thinking. He clearly shows how big government is not the answer and will drive this country further into banruptcy and less freedom--the opposite direction our founding fathers intended. Letting individuals free from rule...more
Aug 18, 2012 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Stossel lays out his many thoughts on why government intervention in just about everything is less efficient and causes many more problems than the private sector. He was able to verbalize a lot of my own thoughts on the state of the government. It is very Libertarian in content. If you are a staunch, party line toting Republican or Democrat you will love half the book and hate the other half of the book.

He brings about his arguments by saying intuition leads us to believe and then counters it w...more
A comment that John Stossel made in NO THEY CAN'T gives a compelling reason why people, especially liberals, should read his book.

'Emmy’s are silly awards that the liberal media give to people who confirm their anticapitalist attitudes. I won nineteem Emmy’s before I moved to Fox. I don’t win them anymore."

The Peterson foundation offered $1.2 milllion to six think tanks to write budget proposals and the winner was offered one of Stossel's Emmy's. In an all-too-common display of liberal chutzpah...more
Roger Miller
This book has literally changed my life. I am 48 soon to be 49 and all my life I have voted republican because I was fearful of wasting my vote. Best quote of the book is; I am a libertarian in part because I see the false choice offered by both political left and right; government control of the economy-or government control of our personal lives. This book has put resolve into my heart to waste the rest of my votes, if for no other reason than to explain it is in response to the false choice t...more
I always used to like his special reports on ABC's 20/20. He fights through the rhetoric and gets to the truth. I don't agree with some of the stuff he says in this book, but I do agree with some. We don't necessarily need to spend more on education. Just get government out of the way. We need to spend less on the military and quit nation building. Limit the focus of the military. I'm uncomfortable with his chapter on ending the war on drugs and just legalize all drugs. I suppose that is true. I...more
What is there to say about John Stossel? The man is fabulous. I am aware that is a politically loaded statement, but those who call him a political hack just use name-calling as a defense against arguments that they don't know how to counter or are just too lazy to consider. Stossel, as usual, takes modern political topics and issues that face our nation and lays out a simple, market-based approach to creating a solution. He covers drugs, healthcare, regulation, war, and more with ideas that I t...more
David Robins
Stossel did an amazing job with this book. While I've seen some of the studies and most of the arguments in favor of liberty before, this volume puts them together in an easy and approachable package without pulling any punches. I might even pick up a copy as a reference source.
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