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Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  400 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
For anyone who believes that liberal isn’t a dirty word but a term of honor, this book will be as revitalizing as oxygen. For in the pages of Reason, one of our most incisive public thinkers, and a former secretary of labor mounts a defense of classical liberalism that’s also a guide for rolling back twenty years of radical conservative domination of our politics and polit ...more
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published March 8th 2005 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2004)
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Joe Robles
Sep 11, 2011 Joe Robles rated it really liked it
This book was really good and well argued. Written in 2004 it's wickedly prescient about the events of today. Like any good manifesto it states the facts as they are, then gives actionable items for what we liberals need to do. It almost seems as if Obama did follow some of these suggestions and that's how he got elected but, unfortunately, none of the other democrats followed them.

I wanted to share a passage that I thought was spot on.

This one was about tax breaks for the rich. He argues that i
Philippe Malzieu
Apr 03, 2014 Philippe Malzieu rated it did not like it
Reich was the US labour Secretary of Bill Clinton. It was an happy time. World was prosperous. The President plays saxophone and listen to rock. Communist danger and nucléar risk disappeared. And we dream of the end of History with Fukuyama. I bought his first book in 1996. Reich was the bard of the happy globalization, the herald of liberalism. It was like the description of "brilliant future" of Zinoviev. There was one pure positivism in this faith in the progress. The crisis of 1991 gave a sh ...more
Nov 04, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
I thought this was a good argument for the strengths of Liberalism. The one place I differed - or possibly need more information - was his ideas on where future jobs are. The two areas of growth include - problem solving jobs and services jobs. My problem is that problem solving jobs can be sent to other countries. The US does not have a monopoly on these jobs. I expect a stronger and more thoughtful argument from the former Sec. of Labor.
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 03, 2011 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skimmed, political
This book saddens me a bit more than anything else. I don't know much about Mr. Reich except what I know from the media and what he says about himself. I believe from the way he writes that he may be sincere in his beliefs that leftist policies are the way to go to improve life for the majority of people. He goes to great lengths here to point out that being a "liberal" (and he talks about that definition also) doesn't mean a person is in favor of "larger government" but is more concerned with " ...more
Dec 11, 2008 Libby rated it really liked it
I've been a fan of Robert Reich's no-nonsense commentary on Marketplace for quite some time, so it was no surprise to me that I enjoyed his 2004 book on the rise and predicted fall of radical conservatives ("Radcons"). What makes Reich's arguments so persuasive and effective is that he refuses to frame issues in terms that have been solely defined by Radcons. For example, he refuses to measure America's prosperity in terms of Gross Domestic Product, as Radcons do. In challenging what Radcons see ...more
Nov 10, 2009 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: 2004
I just read Robert Reich's new book, Reason, which carries the subtitle "Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America." It doesn't actually go too far beyond arguing why liberals should win the battle for America (mostly trying to show that people would agree with liberal values, if only they were expressed clearly), but at the same time, it's an interesting reevaluation of the terms liberal and conservative in the context of current politics. Reich shows that the current administration is compr ...more
Jerry Smith
I enjoyed this book but it certainly falls into the category of many a similar tome - it will be read primarily by those sympathetic to the author's line of thinking. However Reich goes a little further than simply berating those he terms "radcons" i.e. radical conservatives and also critiques the Democrats for their failure to actively counter the radcons and advance alternative, arguable more mainstream lines of argument.

Much of what he writes makes perfect sense and illuminates the flawed lin
Dec 26, 2015 Flannery rated it it was amazing
Written in 2004, this book now reads like a prequel explanation of Bernie Sanders's rise to popularity.

"Nonvoters know you can't change a corrupt system by being polite. The only way to speak truth to power is with the moral fervor of a true reformer."

"The big differences in American politics today are between those with courage and those without it, those who inspire and those who can't. Among the former are [....] politicians with deeply held views who are passionate about what they believe.
Aug 22, 2008 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hear Reich a lot on NPR while driving in may car. He was the first Labor Secretary for President Clinton, and is a moderate liberal (I expect some are saying "He is a far-left liberal!" right now). He makes some interesting points in this book, and makes the hard to deny case that most Americans hold the moderate liberal values of tolerance, diversity, government safety nets and the like. He also does a good job describing how we got to the current state of political demonization of one side b ...more
Jul 21, 2014 David rated it really liked it
This book probably should have been titled "Reason: How Liberals Can Win the Battle for America" rather than using the words "Why" and "Will". Written pre-Teaparty, pre-Obamacare, it doesn't seem that Liberalism has made much progress in the past 9 years. Reich outlines some good ideas of how people should think, but so far there is no passion from any leader, no one to rally the troops. Obama has fizzled, Hillary will be more of the same. Bernie Sanders is hot but too radical for anyone to list ...more
Mar 27, 2016 Philip rated it really liked it
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on public morality, in which Reich points out the hypocrisy of the Right in its obsessive condemnation of perceived sexual immorality while largely ignoring, among other things, the voracious greed and rank criminality of corporate America.
Ray Chanley
Jul 22, 2015 Ray Chanley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I have always enjoyed hearing the views of Robert Reich and thought I might enjoy his book. This book is such an eye opener. Liberals and conservatives should read this book. I highly recommend this book.
Will Byrnes
Oct 26, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Reason is Reich’s argument that the Radical conservatives, Radcons, will and must ultimately fail in their efforts to radically change the country to an image of what it was before the Progressive era in the beginning of the 20th century. He sees this group as waging an all out assault on political freedom and any sort of equitable sharing of the burdens imposed by a reasonable society. Reason is the basis for our nation, and for our policies. The Radcons’ assault on reason is an outrage, and mu ...more
Jul 14, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
Bold title and a bit obtuse. Essentially the book is a great read which secure liberal political leanings you already have. Reich conjures an optimistic future for liberals.

I like Robert Reich's smart, yet unpretentious study of the political world. Its no secret that my politics are rather closely aligned with Reich but more than that, I appreciate his tone in this book. He's not nearly as confrontational as the talking heads on television, some of the slam books written on both sides of the p
Sep 05, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Robert Reich explains the political agenda of America's "radcons" (radical conservatives), how they have seized power, how they have influenced national politics, and how this has affected the economy. Published in 2004, it describes the dilemma that we are still in, although we are now in the aftermath of the Bush administration that represented the worst of it. Obama is not mentioned, but Reich anticipated that Republican abuse of power would inevitably provoke discontent and a change in polit ...more
Aug 19, 2014 Nicöle rated it it was amazing
Read this book easily during breaks at work. I cannot express how perfectly Robert Reich explains liberalism in America, its allies and enemies, and its future.
Emily Iliani
May 24, 2016 Emily Iliani rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home
Finally after months spent on this and in between other books.

Reading this while following the presidential primacy between Sanders, Clinton and Trump gives it a kind of hype and it is a well-written simple book to follow with simple premise. The only thing I hate about the book is how Reich managed to portray Muslims as the problem and the boogeyman that deserve to be alienated and spoken to as if the entire population is a child. It simply adds to the problem.
Jul 30, 2007 Amy rated it did not like it
awful. i had to read and write a book review on this book for my policy class. in my review i was very honest with the professor about how much of a waste of time i felt it was. i don't remember exactly how i summed up my review...but basically i expressed that, for someone seeking an intelligent and educational/informative read, i found this book to be equally as useful as reading a book by bill o'reilly or ann coulter. two thumbs down.
Jul 24, 2007 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: staunch democrats
This book basically explains how the Neoconservative arguments are not based in reason. And how, eventually, people would reject Neoconservatism, because Americans are generally reasonable people.

Turns out Reich was right.

I read this book because my dad recommended it, and I was trying to make myself feel better because I was bummed that GWB won the election in 2004.
Jan 26, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok
I couldn't take it, and had to put it down. Life is too short, and there are too many books on my to-read list, to force myself to finish this one. I made it 60% of the way, though, which I'll count as having read it. It'll be my go-to partisan playbook, but for now, it was too partisan to persuade me. I like my arguments a little balanced. (Not fair and balanced, however.)
Jul 29, 2008 Traci rated it it was amazing
It's been a while but the main message I took from this book is that society is a collective force, we are all in it together. Education is the key to advancing society and when that slips, everything tumbles behind it. I didn't agree with everything, but Reich made his case in a compelling and thought provoking way. It definitely changed the way I look at things.
Jordan Wages
Mar 11, 2009 Jordan Wages rated it it was amazing
This is the best explanation of my views on the world that I've ever read. Reich hits the nail on the head again and again. This is a must-read for anyone who loves this country and wants to bring civility and reason back to the forefront of the American discussion.
Sep 15, 2008 Matthew rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: liberals who want to hold their own when necons barf the same old lines.
Robert Reich is the most important voice for liberals. He doesn't scream, he doesn't lie, he doesn't pander. He's a thinker and a doer. He's rational, he listens, and he compromises. I wish Clinton had listened to Reich more often than he did.
May 23, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing
For something written in 2005 (or thereabouts) it is amazingly predictive. Could not ask better questions of liberal Americans, even today.
It is time to fight back against RADCON dominance of the political arena
Ian Oeschger
Aug 05, 2011 Ian Oeschger rated it really liked it
Reread this. Reich is good. Read his new one, Aftershock, and didn't like it as much. But this one is a great elucidation of liberal ideals and their reasonableness, as dated as it now seems in some respects.
Ashley Ember
May 29, 2013 Ashley Ember rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books I've ever read. I would argue that it is a must read for any American today. Just as important, if not more, than it was nearly a decade ago when it was written.
Mar 19, 2016 Marcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well articulated but somewhat dated. Helps see this election season in an interesting light. Let's hope America gets it right!
Eileen Carrel
Oct 05, 2009 Eileen Carrel rated it liked it
My least favorite Robert Reich book. Although, I did donate $20 to Christine Gregoire's campaign as a result of reading it . . .
Oct 02, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
A must read for it's insight in how we got to where we are in American politics and where we can go from here.
Sep 28, 2007 Tien rated it did not like it
You pretty much have read this book once you have read the title.
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Robert Bernard Reich is an American politician, academic, and political commentator. He served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. Reich is a former Harvard University professor and the former Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Un ...more
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