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Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  2,512 ratings  ·  337 reviews
“Hilarious and Heartbreaking. Comedy shouldn’t take courage, but it made an exception for Bassem.” --Jon Stewart

Semi-Finalist in the Humor category in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

"The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and of
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by Dey Street Books
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Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must confess that I won "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring" in a Goodreads Giveaway, and it is not a book that I ever would have purchased. Such wonderful serendipity that this terrific work came my way! Like most Americans, my knowledge of events in modern Egypt could be written on the head of a pin, with room left over for the Gettysburg Address. Bassem Youssef, quite possibly the world's most unlikely television star, shines an unwavering light on his homeland's rece ...more
James Kimmet
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Several years ago, I came back from Afghanistan with a narrow view of Muslims. I got home and the lone wolf killings began. I spouted some of the same vitriol that Trump people use today.

As the years passed and I started to remember in my blind rage that I had Muslim friends, I am an American, and how can I justify stereotyping? took affect. But I couldn't name my confusion.

I saw Bassem Youssef for the first time on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This was in my rage phase. I was confused.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Although there are moments that I found myself laughing, like all satirical comedy, it's the truths in between that really made me sit up and pay attention. Referred to as the Egyptian Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef takes Western readers into the heart of the events around the Arab Spring. Not what our Western media tells us happened, but what actually transpired and what it all means for Egyptians. I am glad that I gave this book a chance. Definitely recommend! ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The textbook of fear is the same everywhere."

Bassem Youssef has a unique voice and a great way of telling a serious, important story without being horribly depressing. He is a comedian and uses his wit and intelligence to explain how his life in Egypt changed with the Arab Spring and ensuing troubles. As someone who has always had a particular interest in Egypt, this was a truly gripping, eye-opening read. I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to better understand the conflicts and histo
Amanda Mae
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this entertaining and surprisingly heart-felt look at the Arab Spring in Egypt from the top satirist from that country, rightly compared to Jon Stewart. We trace his career as a heart surgeon to a comedian hosting the most popular Egyptian television show. I have a pretty limited understanding of Arab politics, and the author gives a clear explanation that he says is probably too simplistic, but that's not what this book is aiming for! He's here to talk about comedy in a oppressive reg ...more
Hiba Arrame
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought I was going to read another trashy book by some TV-show host, but no, I did not. I surely did not just finish a trashy book.

This is not just a book about Bassem Youssef himself and what he and those close to him had to go through during the Egyptian revolution and after, but also a fair retelling of what really happened, not a news representation, but one that comes from someone who really went through it all, and was there to witness what actually happened.
This was all brought in a fu
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't know what to think of this book. It paints what I believe is a fair retelling of what happened in Egypt during the Arab Spring and the events that followed (bear in mind, I'm not Egyptian). It was off to a good start, but somewhere around the middle things started to unravel. I felt like Bassem was trying to justify himself and his choices. Primarily that of leaving his country. And I couldn't help but sense his bitterness over what happened. Bassem was undeniably a phenomenon in the Ara ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because I watched Bassem's "Tickling Giants" documentary before reading this and they both cover a lot of the same ground. ...more
Nada Elshabrawy
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, english
I missed Basem’s sense of humor. However the book is designed for people who haven’t been around during this crazy time. So I didn’t find it useful for me.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
I will admit, I didn't actually finish but I can't force myself to read this any more. This is one of the most sexist and misogynist books I have ever read. I am offended, and feel differently about the multitude of trusted entertainment figures like John Stewart and Samantha Bee who promoted this book. It was crude, rude, and unfunny. I cringed at many of the "jokes". I will not be finishing this book. ...more
Hilarious and Painful. Containes information we -the public- do not know about what happened to Bassem Youssef , his show and why he left the country suddenly.
For Non-Egyptians this a really scary bedtime story but for Egyptians this is their damn Real life!
I cried, laughed, rewatched the YouTube Videos, and reminisced all the glorious moments and disappointments while reading this book.
Highly recommended.
Eslam Abdelghany
Till I consider having another look at it later.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The "Jon Stewart of Egypt" describes his role in the Arab Spring and his view of its tragic failure, as Egypt went from hope to hypocritical religious dictatorship to a secular military dictatorship that was even worse and even more absurd. At one point the military announced that they'd developed a machine that cured Hepatitis C, cancer, and impotence, and their supporters believed it completely, saying any evidence to the contrary was a fake news conspiracy to make Egypt look bad
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bassem Youssef is a true comic hero seeking truth through satire. Experiencing Egyptian politics through the lens of his television show puts U.S. politics and resistance into perspective at a timely juncture. Yes, we are wimps in comparison! Youssef makes it clear that he is speaking from his own experience and presenting his own interpretation. With that said, I learned far more about the social and cultural nuances presented in his writing than I understood through study and while watching th ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography, memoir
Very interesting autobiography located in the tumoultos recent history of Egypt. The author is a heart surgeon transformed by the events in a satiric journalist that has hosted the most watch show from the history in the Arab world and now lives in the USA. Why is that?!

Because of the persecution from the bad guys in Power. For now, the Army representants.

The visit of Trump coincided with me reading this peculiar book and I was impress about the way the egyptians are ruled and what they have to
Adam Thorn
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Saying this book is fantastic is a grand understatement.

Bassem is incredibly funny. It recaps the Egyptian revolution and the rise of Bassem's fiery career.
I recommend this to my friends who might wonder why Iraq's October revolution failed, this book will explain it, while also making you (literally) laugh out loud.

P.S. : If you can, try to listen to the audio-book. It's narrated by Bassem himself and his narration is excellent.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Let me start out by saying that I love Jon Stewart and the amazing comedians who were influenced by him. Bassem Youssef created what seemed impossible at the time, an Egyptian version of the Daily Show. What amazing courage he showed making fun of dictators, the military and religion as the country descended into anarchy.

He now lives in my home town, Oakland, and cannot return to Egypt. He continues to work in media and wonders if satire and protests ever do any good. Even though it is easy to
Jon Stewart introduced Bassem Youssef to US viewers of The Daily Show as "the Jon Stewart of Egypt." It was not a casual comparison. Youssef consciously patterned the Egyptian Al-Bernameg after The Daily Show. Al-Bernameg became the first political satire show in Egypt, the first show in the Middle East to use a live audience, and the most watched show in Egypt. It ran for three years before the military shut it down, issued a warrant for Youssef's arrest, and caused him to flee the country for ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I discovered Bassem Youssef, like I suspect many people in the U.S. did, through the Daily Show. He had done one or two little correspondent pieces, but recently he made his appearance to promote this book, and after listening to him talk I realized that this guy was not only funny, like Jon Stewart, he was shrewdly intelligent. After finishing this book, my assessment still remains the same, but that's not entirely why I gave this book the review that I did.

Revolution for Dummies wasn't always
Haroune Benghernaout
This book didn't fail to make me laugh like a fool , and it was also a good source to know more about the Egyptian revolution ... as a person who lives in a country (Algeria ) that shares a lot of things with Egypt ( language , religion , political system ) , i felt like i'm reading a book about my own country , the use of religion, fake patriotism, and oppression to control the people is the same in both countries .
thanks Bassem for not selling out, you are a true satirist .
Areej Abuali
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
In our world fear always had the upper hand..that was the case till the Egyptian revolution erupted in 2011..bassem the most famous Arabic comedy show host lived those days and it turned his world upside down..all the events mentioned in the book are very personal to me I lived it and it brought me to tears ,I got to see young Egyptian people full of integrity, pureness,empathy and love talking about thier dreams of a new great is a very easy and enjoyable book to read
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've seen him on the Daily Show and was intrigued to know more about him. The book does not disappoint. What a f'ed up world we live in. ...more
Nigel Senton
Sharing this Muslim comedian, almost finished this morning. I shared one of his videos this morning
, really looking forward to writing a review on this book. Satire is funny when your on the winning side but when you can't tell a hack as cynical between can't taking a joke as sarcasm gives either that the ballista against the messenger not knowing his audience or crowd source from the same people that love him hate him love him hate him memento have differentiation of
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-to-read
Please understand that I am not exaggerating here: this is actually the best book I have ever read on revolution in my life. It's so mind-blowingly good. It's so good that I actually wish I could assign this to my students in Intro to Political Science because I have never read anything else that explains the forces of dictatorship and the shape of revolution so well, all while being entertaining and accessible. But I probably couldn't get away assigning something with this many F bombs and blat ...more
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Razor sharp, superbly entertaining and educating. Hands down best book I've read this year- of any genre. I want everyone I know to read this book. For perhaps the first time in my life I can honestly say no one would be mad at me for making them read it, I think its universally appealing- my 20 year old dog walker and my 70 year old step-dad would both love it.

In addition to its sheer cleverness and clean upbeat positive non-stop humor and action- Its one of the most insightful serious books I'
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A funny and light read. Bassem let's you in on his personal journey, and the story of the revolution, and post revolution, in Egypt from his perspective. It is sad that he is not there to continue his show, nor are there other similar shows in the region now.

If you can't tolerate criticism of Islamists, and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, this book is not for you. Or may be it is. The way he gave a quick review of Political Islam and military dictatorships in Egypt was light and funny. Mak
Amjad Al Taleb
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, biography
A brief record of a revolution gone bad told the Stewart of the east. Youssef tells his own story as a satirist that caught the attention of millions in the middle east some of whom laughed their asses with him and others wanted to silence him.
Although the author is a satirist, the book is not funny. It was not written as a humor book. It is a sad, dark and depressing book in spite of the many jokes it included. Despair!

On a completely different subject: I share with Bassem Youssef the love and
Nirooj Bista
Revolution for dummies is a good one. I got to know about the dictatorship and political condition in Egypt even if it was through satire. It certainly takes lot of courage to talk against the deep rooted politics with jokes, and Bassem showed that courage for the better of the people and the Country.

I could relate the political conditions Bassem stated with my country too. Though not the dictatorship, we have fare share of the old generations politicians who wants to occupy the power and turn t
Bassem Youssef was a doctor before the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt in 2011. After that, he started doing short satirical/political videos on youtube, and from there, he started a tv show, and he became known as the Egyptian Jon Stewart. This book chronicles Youssef’s experience at this time in Egypt, and his escape from his home country in 2014.

This was very good. I learned at lot, and of course, it has a nice dose of humour to go along with it. There are some parallels with our Western/Nor
Noha Sallam
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The ever hilarious Dr. Bassem Youssef who did not want to become a doctor in the first place, takes you through the bittersweet moments of the last six messy years. You will sure laugh your lungs out at what he has to say, but at the moment he tells you about his breaking into crying before leaving the theatre for the last time, you will find yourself crying.

This is a simple book that does not claim to analyze, tutor or pretend wisdom. It is an account, an honest one I would say for what happen
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Bassem Raafat Muhammad Youssef is an Egyptian comedian, writer, producer, physician, media critic, and television host. He hosted Al-Bernameg, a satirical news program, from 2011 to 2014.

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