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How To Be Right… in a World Gone Wrong

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  5,362 ratings  ·  476 reviews
Every day, James OBrien listens to people blaming benefits scroungers, the EU, Muslims, feminists and immigrants. But what makes Jamess daily LBC show such essential listening and has made James a standout social media star is the careful way he punctures their assumptions and dismantles their arguments live on air, every single morning.

In How To Be Right, James provides
Published November 1st 2018 by Virgin Digital
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Roman Clodia
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
O'Brien is such a sane voice in today's increasingly toxic world... refusing to accept the often unthinking inanities of people incensed by Muslims, migrants, Remainers, uppity women, feminists, gay/trans people, Trump-haters, millenials, the young in general and just about anyone else who doesn't fit into some kind of narrow definition of 'us', he subjects - and importantly - forces them on his phone-in show to subject their often rabid and deeply offensive opinions to factual and cool critical ...more
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
This was weird. I totally agree with James oBriens opinions, so I thought I would have liked this book more than I did. As it is, I did enjoy it but I didnt love it. He came across as slightly patronising - he seems to think hat the only reason people hate immigrants or find LGBT folk unpleasant or voted Brexit is because theyve been drip-fed a diet of low-level hatred for years and years by the Daily Mail. And while that is certainly a factor, and while I think that the Daily Mail is horrific ...more
Sid Nuncius
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought How To Be Right was excellent. It is readable, thoughtful, intelligent and humane.

James OBrien writes very well indeed. Drawing on his experience as a print journalist and then as a long-standing and very successful radio phone-in host, he dissects the prejudices, myths and downright lies which pollute our debates so badly these days. What is so striking, though, is that he tries to believe that people are sincere but have been misled by powerful politicians, media outlets and the
Matt McQueen
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A short read, but very good. Unfortunately, those who should read this book never will.

The audiobook is narrated by the author, and I'd recommend it also.
Joe O'Donnell
Reading How to be Right is a curious experience. I agree with just about every agreement and every word uttered by James OBrien throughout this short polemic about fake news, the normalisation of hate speech and the populist assault on objective truth. In most respects, OBrien comes across as a pillar of liberal-minded common sense. So, why did I find myself so frequently but intensely irritated by it?

How to be Right is, in a way, two different books soldered onto each other, one infinitely
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to give this book four stars. I like it. It makes me think and makes me question myself. But in places author felt too patronizing. It nearly took off one of the stars, but then(whilst contemplating over this book) I happened to overhear completely different radio show with three callers in a row whose arguments made me stuck somewhere between incurable facepalm and anger. And you know what, James O'Brien deserves not only four or five, he deserves much more stars. For patience and for ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James O'Brien is a talk radio host on LBC here in the UK. A person with a Liberal conscious, he hosts this radio program and in a very incisive, clever way takes down most of the common arguments in our media regarding contemporary issues that get our lay population angry over; subjects such as immigration, brexit, feminism and Trump all too often get listeners to ring in and think they know the answers who read our right-wing, populist media (such as what is spurned out from newspapers such as ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A lot of this could be considered preaching to the choir, and many of the radio show transcripts come across as a bit sneering and condescending. It's actually better when he leaves his radio show behind (in any case all the clips are available on youtube) and just writes from his own perspective. The later chapters on the age gap and millennials are the strongest, as he tackles wider issues and their socio-economic causes and consequences.
O'Brien's main point is a good one; that many prejudices
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong (2018), James O'Brien aims to raise the level of our national discourse by calling to account politicians, tabloid editors, and populists.

There are chapters on Islam, Brexit, political correctness, LGBT issues, feminism, Trump, and James O'Brien's musings on these topics, often interspersed with interactions he's had with people on his LBC radio phone in show. He aims to get his callers to examine their beliefs more forensically. When this works it's a
Tariq Mahmood
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, politics
This is not an easy job, trying to directly argue with ordinary deranged individuals who are living in a climate of fear. They are insecure, they are afraid, they feel as if they are the real victims. James blames Project Fear of brainwashing these individuals but I think some of the anger is a result of too much change being imposed on a society too quickly. But regardless of the why, James quest to face these individuals on national radio is indeed commendable. The example conversations in the ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
super interesting, I have a fair few thoughts

Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A welcome voice in today's society.
Emilia Barnes
This is a short, funny and very readable book. It took me two days of intermittent reading to get through the whole of it, and for a large part I was prodding my husband and going "listen to this!" as O'Brien quotes excerpts from his more memorable interviews. If you're familiar with his radio show, you know he's one of those people you wish you could have sitting on your shoulder, whispering just the right come-back when someone breathtakingly ignorant and hateful renders you speechless. If ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those great books that needs to be read by the people who would never read it, which is such a shame. So many flashbacks to the amount of time I've spent asking (mostly people I'm related to) why they have the angry odd right wing views they love to express and how exactly these things affect their lives. The true answers are usually because of the newspapers they read, and in almost no way whatsoever.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
JOB is the only person I listen to on LBC and this is really a collection of the reasons for why I choose not to listen to the others
James is like the sense that prevails amongst a sea of right wing nonsense.
I did enjoy it.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really like James OBrien so this book was very much in the preaching to the converted category for me. Enjoyable though also quite depressing as I cant see how were going to get out of this mess which weve created. ...more
MJ Nicholls
Senryu Review:

Scathing phone-in host
dissects the cant, lies, bluster
mauling freedoms face
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a world at the moment where the loudest voice seems to carry most weight despite the speaker having no factual basis to their assertions this book is a breath of fresh air as the author , unusually liberal host of a radio phone in programme and consequently pariah of the right wing , punctures the current rhetoric around right leaning bug bears such as Brexit, Muslims, immigration, nanny state, lgbtq rights et al. A really engaging and readable voice unfortunately as a reader he is preaching ...more
Brecht Denijs
I rushed through this one, though admittedly it, of course, helps that it caters to my own views. However, in a world where being an open-minded progressive can make you feel rather lonely at times, it is healing to read a book about someone who not only agrees with you but assures you that there are more people out there and that humanity isn't all bad. The main point driving this book is that bigotry and racism are not as largely inherent as we fear and that a lot of it is due to people being ...more
Debby Hallett
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
James OBrien articulates much about whats wrong in the world today.

When the liars have the loudest voices,
the tellers of truth need to find new ways to be heard.

A good, pithy, fast read.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book from one of my GR groups. I didn't know this radio phone-in host but the book sounded interesting.

I usually don't listen to phone-ins because they seem to be thinly veiled attempts to get people to shout at each other with brainless, pointless arguments. James O'Brien seems different though. In this book he talks of one conversation after another in which he has simply asked people why they hold their particular point of view, why they said what they just said, why they
G.R. Matthews
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, this is an excellent, witty, book that is written in an engaging style. It is also a book that tackles prejudice, bigotry, and Brexit - discusses the similarities and punctures many a balloon. The excerpts from the radio show demonstrate the lack of thinking and self-reflection which many suffer from, but the author does not seek to blame those people. Instead, the gaze is turned on those who perpetrate the lies, propaganda, falsehoods and casts the fault squarely at their feet.

Tessa Andrews
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting to read but his arrogance is painful. If he could be a little more humble and back up his arguments with concrete facts (which he slags other people off for endlessly) it would be riveting and probably a go-to book for people concerned about the future of England.
Richard James
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There has never been a more important time to read this book!
Niloy Mitra
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book. Definitely worth reading. The last 3 chapters are brilliant and definitely point to challenging times ahead.
Simon Pressinger
I used to love watching liberal heavyweights like Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins ruthlessly dismantling some stupid or bigoted arguments/opinions. It felt so satisfying to have a pig-ignorant view challenged and the holder of it publicly humiliated. But those days of Youtube dopamine hits have long since burnt out. I've moved away from the anger of militant opposition because, with hindsight, it's struck me as more of a self-aggrandising position than an attempt to peacefully reconcile ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All my life I have understood the clear ideological differences of different parties and individual politicians. I was a local politician myself for 12 years. However, for the last 9 years I and the rest of the country have lived in a kind of political purgatory.
When Governments have tiny majorities or even no majority, people on the fringes that we have been able to largely ignore in the past suddenly gain prominence in the media and for a small period have their 15 minutes of fame. Their
Rebecca Hughes
Despite some useful arguments, the expression of fine politics and decent opinions, the sheer arrogance and self-aggrandisement of O'Brien makes this an onanistic exercise that becomes grating to read
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining book and very relevant (will be less so as political instability continues to flux to new scenarios) If you're going to read, read sooner rather than later!
Mark Hebden
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
For anyone who doesn't know who the author is it is probably worth explaining he is one of the most listened to voices on commerical radion in the UK. The national braodcaster, formerly London only, LBC features his show daily from 10am to 1pm and is regarded as a progressive outlier on a network whose usual target audience is the Daily Mail reading right wing constituency beloved of so much of talk radio. The format of his show is the traditional phone-in; a peramble or monologue on an issue of ...more
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