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Steal This Book

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  2,052 ratings  ·  143 reviews
A driving force behind the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Hoffman inspired a generation to challenge the status quo. Meant as a practical guide for the aspiring hippie, Steal This Book captures Hoffman's puckish tone and became a cult classic with over 200,000 copies sold. Outrageously illustrated by R. Crumb, it nevertheless conveys a serious message to all wou ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 1976 by Amereon Ltd. (Mattituck, NY) (first published 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Pat
What the fuck is Abbie Hoffman's problem? This book reads like the left's version of that smug nihilistic libertarian dick. You know the guy who considers not going out of his way to help his fellow man is somehow proof of intelligence, because he saves a small amount of money/time/energy, and knows the rest of humanity will always be there to help him out, the saps.

Number one: If you're going to lead a proletarian revolution led largely by comfortable, middle class white kids, maybe don't run y
...more
Ryan Lawson
Nov 03, 2008 Ryan Lawson rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not a soul
Recommended to Ryan by: nobody

Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book
Wk.28; Bk.28

First off, congratulations to Desmond Morris and his crap book, The Naked Ape because as of November 03, 2008 Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book is now the absolute worst crap I have read thus far (book wise) in my entire life. I've thought about this proclamation long and hard.

"Surely," I said to myself, "this isn't the worst book that you ever read..."

Then, I thought some more and couldn't deny that all sources pointed toward "yes!"

Let's forget about t
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Dec 05, 2010 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susie Stoner, Freddy Freeloader, Acid Alice
No, I didn't. Steal the book, that is. I'd make a lousy anarchist.

File this one in your mental "look-but-don't-read" category. Abbie Hoffman wrote Steal This Book while incarcerated. This fact alone should have served as a warning to anyone planning to try the scams and swindles he encouraged. I read the first 95 pages in earnest, then just skipped through the rest of the book to get a general feel for the ideas he was promoting.

Supporters called this book "an instruction manual for radical soc
...more
Jon Boorstin
Perhaps the best title ever for a non-fiction book. This is a self-liberation manual. Full of practical advice. How to use a penny for a nickel in a pay phone, for instance. All of it now an intoxicating trip into the Hippie past. My copy is highlighted. I read it when I could actually use the info. But I don't think I actually used any of it, except the address of the Berkeley Free Clinic. The info wasn't really the point. Hoffman was propagating a state of mind: an attitude toward authority, a ...more
Misti Rainwater-Lites
I actually stole this book from a used bookstore in Kerrville, Texas. I got a lot of good yet useless (I tried 'em, they did not work) ideas on anarchy and how to score free stuff. All in all, an enjoyable read. How can I complain? Didn't cost a dime.
Jamie
I read this book (in it's online format) in high school. It amused the hell out of me as a history book, seeing how easy it used to be to steal anything you needed. It taught me to understand anarchy as a philosophy, rather than a symbol that punks saftey-pinned onto their jackets. I thought Abbie Hoffman was Robin Hood.

But later in life, I did some research on Abbie Hoffman. He's basically a sociopath. He didn't exactly come up with the material in the book on his own, so much as he joined up w
...more
Xenophon Hendrix
Steal This Book is a self-righteous manual about theft, vandalism, exploitation of the charitable, and even murder. When I read this book out of curiosity, I found the author's intolerance, hatred, arrogance, and ignorance nauseating. It revolted me that such a self-revealed monster as Abbie Hoffman was ever taken seriously by the counterculture of the United States. Fortunately, many of the techniques described are now obsolete.

Be aware that I am not merely disagreeing with the author's politic
...more
Laura
Jun 07, 2007 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hippies, wanna-be hippies, radicals, 60's history buffs
This book freaking RULES. Why, oh why did the sixties have to end?*

(*because of Kent State, Altamont, Heroin, and to make way for disco, silly!)
Jim
When I was a teenager, I went into the respectable little bookstore in my respectable little town and asked "Do you have a copy of Steal This Book?" The respectable librarianesque owner looked over the top of her reading-glasses-on-a-chain and dryly replied, "We don't sell those kinds of books here."

"What kind of books?" I asked, with much surprise bouncing through my Colombian gold-addled mind.

Again, she peered down her nose and said, "We don't sell anti-social, anti-establishment books." And s
...more
Christy Stewart
The book is out-dated but the philosophy is and always will be applicable.

At times I would smile to myself while fondly thinking of how technology has made things so much easier to steal, but in reading some sections it becomes glaringly obvious how technology has made it so much harder to rip some industries off.

I also learned to always wear a helmet and a gas mask.

And that if I'm getting rapped to yell "I have VD!"
Jonathan Eunice
I'm re-reading this book, which reeks of early 1970s hippie fuck-The-Man counter-culturalism, in 2010. It's a trip. You're supposed to steal everything you can, of course. Most impressively, he also encourages you to skyjack commercial aircraft, for example with a knife or fake explosives, and fly off to friendly countries. (p. 39) Uh huh.

What, exactly, was this dude smoking?!
Jamie
Apr 19, 2007 Jamie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crooks
I got this book because I was curious, but I ended up disappointed. I thought it would be full of cool little underground tips for getting by in society, but its just full of out of date ways to steal; ie, How to defraud the welfare office, make a pipe bomb, steal from a payphone...
Not worth reading.
Outoftunetoo
My mom didn't like that I was reading this one because of the ways it taught you how to steal, and the cynical view of the government, but I think it served a purpose at the time. More of a hippie history book than anything.
Emily
This seemed like a book that I should have read, just because of its role in history. It began with some radical content, discussing how to survive on very little money, and the theory behind this. I enjoy reading of the schemes and scams he proposes, but I have ethical conflicts with their being carried out. Hoffman provides great resources such as inexpensive simple recipes, and lists of organizations and societies that may or may not be outdated. Some of what he suggests has been nullified by ...more
Mikhail Ignatev
Сразу о главном: несмотрия ни на что - я явно ВОПРЕКИ замыслу автора! - книга оставляет сильное ТРАГИЧЕСКОЕ впечатление. Собственно, посыл книги очень прост: "Люди мира, будьте зорче втрое, берегите мир!" - в смысле, БОРИТЕСЬ против этого чудовищного общества потребления, гламура ет сетера. Увы, "каким мы были наивными, как же мы молоды были тогда". ВСЁ, о чём предостерегал Эбби Хоффман, сбылось. Более того, он И ПРЕДСТАВИТЬ себе не мог, насколько всё будет ГАЖЕ и ПОДЛЕЕ, чем это рисовалось в ше ...more
Derrick
Sorely out of date due to changes in technology, security, and culture. Still a fascinating time capsule, and Hoffman's heart is in the right place if one's curious about radical politics.

In a lot of ways, our society is more controlling and oppressive than in the '70s. (A number of actions described in the book would get one prosecuted for terrorism today, for instance.) It leaves the reader a lot to think about, even if the techniques herein would no longer be possible.
Kirk
When I give it five stars, I should probably add that that is from the viewpoint of an 18-year-old who grew up thinking he'd be drafted to go to Viet Nam and was still P.O.'d that he'd been too young to go to Woodstock. Mainstream America didn't look that good from there! Hoffman was brilliant and hid his mental illness as eccentricity. This book cracked me up and had dozens of tips on how to do things that I was way too square to try but young enough to fantasize about doing--and being a chemis ...more
Meaghan
I used to have a copy of this, but, surprise! Someone stole it. Fair enough, I shoplifted it from Annie's Book Swap in the first place. Not only is this a great slice of life of the radical 60s, I learned a lot, from early bulletin boards (there was one in Beverly, MA! My hometown was in this book!), to protecting myself in a riot, to using pressure points to take down an attacker, to making bombs from styrofoam cups, to making free calls from a payphone. As a bonus, Abbie Hoffman comes across a ...more
Jesse
Dec 16, 2008 Jesse rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children
I was an elementary school-aged kid when I first saw this book at a neighbor's house, sitting on the kitchen table. It had such an interesting title that I flipped through it and saw the illustration of the shoplifter in the trench coat. It was a revelation: You don't have to pay for stuff you take from the store! This idea pushed me down a slippery slope of price-tag switching, shoplifting, scams, sabotage, shooting heroin into your eyeballs, and worshipping Satan. Just kidding. It made me into ...more
Jaindoh
I didn't steal this book. But I did get it for free in a bundle of banned ebooks. Unfortunately my pirate copy seems to be missing Robert Crumb's original illustrations, which is a pity.

Generally not an awful brainstorm for beginners in getting off-grid and living the free life, but for 2014 seems a bit dated and US-centric. Also if you've already got experience in an alternative lifestyle, you might not like some of the tactics.

The book is a mixture of genuinely helpful ideas and anarchic cheek
...more
Pedro
Este é um daqueles livros que faz parte do movimento de contra-cultura. Partindo do pressuposto que os Estado Unidos da América é uma prisão, o autor ensina-nos diversas formas de evasão. Como é óbvio, o livro foi recusado por todas as editoras tradicionais, alegando que iria terminar com a liberdade de expressão, quando na verdade só a ajuda a promover.

O livro está dividido em duas parte: sobrevivência e luta. Na primeira parte, são apresentados vários métodos para conseguir comida, alojamento,
...more
Mykle
Apr 26, 2008 Mykle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anarchists, wal-mart employees
I read this in the UC Santa Cruz library, in a special 'rare book area' that i couldn't get out of, with a librarian sitting at a desk behind me watching very closely. I had to submit to a search of my backpack before and after reading.

I hope that Vol. II can give me some pointers on how to steal Vol. I from the UC Santa Cruz library.
Ragnarok Wehrwolf
Good book but it should be called "Steal this book in USA", because it is for people living in USA, the things in Europe and other parts of the world are much different than those described in this book, so it can't be used here.
BGP
A waste of paper then, and a waste of pixels now.
Sepideh
Once upon a time (>10 years ago) in a far away land (Mississippi), I mentioned the word Yuppie to an older gentleman who had clearly never heard the word and told me that they used to be called Yippies and referenced this book. Yuppies and Yippies are not the same thing, they are very much not the same thing.

This is an anarcho-communist book which was interesting to me because I am accustomed to anarchy and anarcho-capitalism, but anarcho-communism is not something that I see every day. In th
...more
Amanda Lynn
I think this is a piece of jaded liberal history. It is funny as hell and fun to read. Besides the pieces of info on how to scam your ways into things, there is some writing in the beginning explaining some of the reasons that you may want to do so. If you understand Abbie Hoffman, I think the first thing to realize us that he honestly felt that the system was a joke and tried to express that. He was fighting for freedom in the press, and this book was one way to do that. I think there is a line ...more
Adam


Although much of the information presented in this book is out of date and useless there is a still a message. To those of you who choose to focus on the fact that it was Abbie Hoffman who wrote this book and prefer to judge solely on that fact, I applaud your ignorance.

This book is about ideas. The whole movement this man, and group(s), was involved with were dealing with an overwhelming disdain for oppression. Abbie provides a means to his ends. He not only talks the talk, but in that time pe
...more
Heidi Elmore
Sep 14, 2007 Heidi Elmore rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone interested in living minimalistically
Well, a lot of it was from the "Hippie" movement, and you have to take all of the "stealing" stuff with a grain of salt if you get offended by that sort of thing. I understand what they were trying to do with it, but I don't think *they* really understood anything about long-term economics. LOL! :) I mean, breaking the system with theft and chaos works for a while, but in the long term it causes inflation which would be the exact opposite of what they were attempting to create -- although I must ...more
Piper Hale
The book is a snapshot of a cultural segment in American history, but that's the extent of its value.

In general, I dislike the writings of people coming from privileged background who fetishize poverty and "the virtuous poor" because they've never had to suffer from genuine want. I begin to dislike the writers themselves when they decide to play at poverty, and begin leaching away at the resources available to those who are suffering under the weight of actual hardship (thanks a lot for encoura
...more
Nathan
I almost did, too. But I was at one of those family visits to Borders down near the Dayton Mall that happens in my household right around Christmas time, and my sister kept coming over to ask me if I'd read this or that book and I just couldn't slip the book into my jacket. So I ended up paying the eight dollars for the book and felt like a loser who would never live up to the convictions of those '60s radicals. Then I read a biography about Abbie Hoffman and found out he became a paranoid coke ...more
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Abbott Howard "Abbie" Hoffman was a social and political activist in the United States who co-founded the Youth International Party ("Yippies"). Later he became a fugitive from the law, who lived under an alias following a conviction for dealing cocaine.

Hoffman was arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in protests that led to violent confrontations with pol
...more
More about Abbie Hoffman...
Revolution for the Hell of It Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture Woodstock Nation: A Talk-rock Album The Best of Abbie Hoffman: Selections from Revolution for the Hell of It, Woodstock Nation, Steal this Book and New Writings Steal This Urine Test: Fighting Drug Hysteria in America

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“Usually when you ask somebody in college why they are there, they'll tell you it's to get an education. The truth of it is, they are there to get the degree so that they can get ahead in the rat race. Too many college radicals are two-timing punks. The only reason you should be in college is to destroy it.” 52 likes
“Smoking dope and hanging up Che's picture is no more a
commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps.”
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