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Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All
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Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A must read. --Margaret Atwood

A vital, necessary playbook for navigating and defending free speech today by the CEO of PEN America, Dare To Speak provides a pathway for promoting free expression while also cultivating a more inclusive public culture.

Online trolls and fascist chat groups. Controversies over campus lectures. Cancel culture versus censorship. The daily hazard
Audio CD
Published July 28th 2020 by HarperCollins (first published May 5th 2020)
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Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Aug 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing

Every human being living in their sojourn in this world deserves the right to freely express their thoughts and ideas without fear of retribution and censorship. We have been seeing people getting crucified for saying their feelings all around the world right from prehistoric times.

We are all familiar with what happened to Galileo Galilei in 1633 when he showed the courage to tell that the Sun does not revolve around the Earth. His punishment was a lifetime of house arrest. What would have
Dawn Michelle
This is a must read for everyone. When my mind stops reeling, I may be able to write a better review.
Sep 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Whoooh, boy, is this one going to be a doozey- and not in a good way. I virtually picked up "Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All," from the library because it was available and I needed something to pass the time until my intended books became free. Before this, I had never heard of Suzanne Nossel, nor her organization PEN America of which she is the CEO. I knew going in that I might not like it as much of the free speech discourse these days comes from white supremacists or white neo-l ...more
Wei Mon
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Things learned from this book:
It's fine to be racist with friends as long as you choose your words carefully in public.
If you think your intent is fine, then don't worry about the consequences of your speech.
You shouldn't say that being subjected to hateful speech is "violence", but it's totally okay to call people who are asking for accountability "mobs".
The general public should not have the power to cancel people & restrict opportunities, but rich white people have been the gatekeepers for so
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2020
Caveat: The author is a good personal friend.

Dare to Speak is a lucid, well organized, and highly readable defense of free speech principles as well as an outline for actions we can all take to be better participants in the marketplace of ideas. I found the parts on Internet content moderation particularly interesting.

I must admit that I agree with everything Suzanne says (after all, as mentioned, she's a friend) but I wonder if her balanced, thoughtful, considerate yet principled voice even ha
David Gamble
Wow, what a great book! I picked up the audio on a suggestion and plan to buy a hard copy to re-read and take notes in. It's well balanced with data, conversational information, examples, suggestions, exercises, plans, all of it. Basically each chapter tackles a different issue from hate speech by campus lectures to online trolls and everything in between. I really appreciated the content on cancel culture, how harmful it is, and what to do instead. Overall that was what stands out to me- she in ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtfully written and practicable guide to understanding, utilizing and promoting matters of free speech. It sure got my noodle going and I suspect it will help me ask my seniors engaging questions during our Free Speech unit in French class.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When Free Speech Fell Out of Fashion
By Michael Maiello

What if all the good free speech has been defended already? The United States government hasn’t gone after James Joyce, DH Lawrence or Theodore Dreiser in a long time. While the occasional local library might perk up against this book or that, it seems like the real free speech fights are all about Twitter running the right wing QAnon conspiracy group off of its platform or whether Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos can visit a college campus.
"Dare to Speak" is Nossel's defense of Free Speech, her argument for what Free Speech is and what it isn't, and her advice on how to defend it while trying to cause as little offense as possible. As is evident in some of the other reviews, one could argue that she failed one way or the other (too politically left or too politically right) or one could argue that she succeeded (as evidenced by her managing to offend both sides of the political spectrum).

Personally, I think the book is well worth
Feb 25, 2021 rated it liked it
A lot of good stuff about free speech, but a little too mixed up with progressive movement politics for my taste. I’d rather a book about free speech remain above the political fray, or at least be even-handed. Also the book was a little like a handout for a speech, lots of little listicles and summaries.
Ben Rogers
Not what I was expecting.

Not very impressed by this read.

Feb 04, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My original review of this book gave it 2 stars, but upon further reflection I think I'll give it 3.5 (or I would if Goodreads would allow half stars!).

There's a lot I agree with in this book. Most importantly, that free speech and expression are hugely important, especially for those amongst us who have been marginalized. And that it's important to be forgiving (to some extent) when people make mistakes with their language and they apologize sincerely. I also think she makes a lot of sense whe
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Graeme Rodaughan
Aug 05, 2020 is currently reading it
Recommended to me by Margaret Atwood on Bookbub.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books should definitely be read as part of discussions on free speech; however it suffers serious issues from its organization.

Part IV is by far the strongest section, where practical problems and discussions are discussed in full. Through the first 2/3 of the book, I was frustrated, constantly asking, what about "this" and "hasn't the author considered x and y", all of which was answered in the last 1/3rd of the book.

There is also a lack of detailed explanation about the true differences b
Zibby Owens
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is so much information in this book. After reading, it almost felt like this book should be the main resource on free speech. Every family should have it. Every lawyer should have it. Everyone should have this book on their shelf to help answer any questions they may have about the topic of free speech.

The author is at the stepping stone of her career where not only is her book a wonderful resource, but she is also leading a great company, PEN, in helping enhance speech and thought throug
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Free speech, like everything else in life, is “complicated.” This author lays out, with clarity and manifold examples, the nuances of the issue. In a very evenhanded way, she explains free speech issues from historical, legal, cultural, governmental, economic and social points of view. A first-rate approach to a very timely issue. 3.5*
John Hassmann
Sep 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wish I didn’t have to read this in 2 days for school. There were some gaps that I wish she touched on such as the mythological bedrock of the Logos, but mainly stuff that doesn’t fall within her realm of expertise. I immediately (yet begrudgingly) found myself liking a book written by a Clinton/Obama cabinet member that I didn’t expect to like as a more conservative agent myself. Nossel is great at precise locution, lucid argumentation, and equitable, moderate, framing and advancement of policy ...more
Marge Congress
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Very scholarly discussion which is made easier to understand by many examples of the principles she is writing about, this book about the First Amendment and its many permutations and occurrences brings many ideas and thoughts to the reader. My recommendation is to skip the introduction (really hard to read), and read only one big section at a time. At the end of a section she does a few bullet points for you to remember. Read those till you understand them, wait a few days, then continue.

The a
Jun 21, 2022 rated it did not like it
This book sucked/ I disagreed with most of it. Freedom of speech is important, sure, but so is not advocating for discrimination/ racism/ hostility. This author clearly valued the former much more, and I value the latter. White women have done it again…
Mark Mortensen
I was drawn to this book by the title, as who is against free speech? The author makes some good basic points; however she seems to lean towards the protection and guidelines of political correctness (PC), which I am not a fan of. In one chapter she focuses on the link of hate speech to hate crimes, terms she supports. I believe in basic law where any crime is a crime and therefore one should not to divide society and elevate friction with labels of hate speech.
Aug 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
If this book is our best defense of free speech, then we should just cancel it now.

Nossel goes far in this book to defend the restriction of free speech and for consequences to be everlasting. She argues for words being offensive, just because it doesn't give enough blame on society, which in itself is a red flag for the rest of the book.

Nossel isn't consequent in her assessment of how we should treat speech. This is glaringly obvious in the first half of this book. She goes out of her way to m
Beth Mowbray
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As CEO of PEN America, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and with experience working in a range of settings from the State Department to Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel definitely has the qualifications needed to take on the thorny topic of free speech. And that’s just what she does with her new book.

In Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech For All, Nossel argues that freedom of speech and the fight against prejudice can, and in fact must, co-exist. She explores the boundaries of free s
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Accessible but not simple. Answered questions I didn’t know I had, revisited questions I felt I understood in greater depth, and discussed the way free speech has evolved to the present moment. I found the discussions of social media responsibility enlightening. After reading this book, I feel like I should do more to seek out a breadth of information sources on current events, so I’m embarking on a TV news watching adventure. We’ll see how it goes as election 2020 and NoFacebook November approa ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Definitely more of a manual than a philosophical defence of free speech. I definitely wouldn’t shy away from skipping sections or chapters on facets that you’re not interested in or don’t need to know about, for example some of the section about social media.

Beyond this, I think the author may err too much on the side of averting offends as opposed to staunchly defending free speech but some of the ideas discussed are useful for anyone seeking to reach wider audiences with written or spoken ide
Deep Frey
Jan 28, 2021 rated it liked it
An interesting and timely read. Free speech has become a very political issue. The author gives a very balanced approach which pleased my middle leaning political sensibilities. I enjoyed the many anecdotes and chapter summaries.
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A book like this could only be written within the United States’ last four chaotic, vindictive years, and we need it now most of all. It strikes an excellent balance between the opposing political and cultural forces clashing in our country, highlighting the dangers of some speech even as it lays the case for why most speech must be permitted. Several times I found my own bias twinging at an example or two Nossel selected to make a point, only to become assuaged when she segued that very same po ...more
Samuel Longoria
started slow and was just telling you what you could say and not say. I thought give a chapter more, put it down, finally picked it up and it started giving some very good examples of people saying things that really should not be said but it also said that some things were not said as people took them. Certain words are not understood by everyone, people "THINK" they are something else. The word Niggardly is used as an example. A word that was used to mean stingy, as many will recall the DC Adi ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
The problem with this book is twofold: If you're aware of the subject, there's nothing new; while if you're not you probably won't read it. All it does is preach to the choir about how important free speech is to a democracy. Also, while it does try to remain unbiased and talk about issues off correctness and ignorance on the left and the right, it does clearly come from a liberal perspective.

One thing emblematic of a problem that both sides hold is an early example. The author points to how pr
Steven Volk
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Strong endorsement of maintaining, rather than challenging, First Amendment rights. The first part is more a "how-to" (speak, listen, etc.). As the narrative goes on, the arguments deepen and are more nuanced (challenges to "snowflake" representations; understandings of the real harm that "speech violence" can create, etc.). Couldn't help but think of January 6, 2021 when the author -- the CEO of PEN America -- discussed Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), in which the State of Ohio could forbid advocac ...more
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