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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,097 Ratings  ·  137 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's sacred 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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Ross Blocher
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
If you're looking for a quick introduction to the Libertarian viewpoint, this is a good primer and worth considering. "No, They Can't" (an obvious pun on Obama's "Yes We Can") decries government overreach in the economy, business, regulation, health care, workers' rights, diet, safety, censorship, education, the war on drugs, military, and conservation. John Stossel is a long-time television host with a history of exposing scams and challenging common conceptions. He's done some great work on sk ...more
Peter A
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political
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.
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 A
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this series of examples, John Stossel argues persuasively that we are almost always better off making our own decisions instead of appealing to government—mainly the federal government—to solve them for us. Because politicians aren’t any smarter than we are, and even if they were, their incentives to make a decision are different from our incentives to make our own lives better.

He leads off each discussion with a statement on What intuition tempts us to believe such as that Markets are cruel.
Malin Friess
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think I need to switch to the libertarian party. I identify with nearly everything they espouse. Specifically, very limited government!

I agree wholeheartedly with Stossel's views stated so well here. I've even come to accept and agree with his suggested cuts to social security and medicare, so they can be privatized and made better by free market competition.

I have two sons who are active duty military. I would love to see them come home to the states and stop policing the world. Yes. Cut mil
Shea Mastison
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
It was an interesting read and certainly introduced new ways of thinking to me that I haven't thought of before. The book is also funny and entertaining, especially when Stossel attacks those that make claims that he disagrees with.

Unfortunately, Stossel takes very strong stances on many issues but will only give brief, over-simplistic justifications for many of those stances, without ever going into why the other side's logical support is wrong. Many times he'll make a claim and use logic to su
Dwayne Roberts
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, economics
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
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I always knew I had libertarian leanings and this booked sealed the deal! This book confirmed many of my suspicions-and fears. As much as I appreciated this book, at the end I was depressed. How have we derailed from such a great path and how, oh how will we ever get back on track??
Highly recommend to anyone interested in putting their politics under a microscope. He doesn't pull any punches with democrats or republicans so if you feel protective of either party, you may need to prepare a "safe
Todd Gutschow
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Typical of Stossel's libertarian views he circles major issues and offers reasonable solutions. While I don't agree with some libertarian theories you have to admit that the media makes many people feel like the government is the only "nonpartisan" "nonprejudiced" entity that can solve our nation's problems. Individual Americans and the market system are both extraordinarily good at this...the government is definitely not. A great read for those who prefer to think through problems.
Karla Kelsch
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Marty Byk
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Quick read. Similar to every other Stossel book lately. Mostly preaching to the choir.
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought I was a republican, but after reading This book, i am questioning myself. Great book, like all of his books really.

Sheryl Tribble
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lightweight in the sense of an easy read that covers a lot of territory. Not a lot of info on any one thing, but a nice place to start if someone's curious about the libertarian perspective.
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting take on government's role or where it should stay away.
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Ti-Leigh Telford
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Robert Chapman
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economy, politcs
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
Jeff Stockett
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political
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,
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jeff Rudisel
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
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
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John Frank Stossel is an American consumer television personality, author, and libertarian pundit, known for his career on both ABC News and Fox Business Channel.

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“It’s not about electing the right people. It’s about a narrowing their responsibilities.” 1 likes
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