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Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  447 Ratings  ·  40 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
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published July 30th 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published January 1st 2004)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Joe Robles
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Philippe Malzieu
Apr 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think Mr Reich is preaching to the choir, and anyone not already in his choir would not find his arguments to join very convincing. I did however find his chapter on "positive patriotism" to be very productive, as it identified positive actions that liberals can take to show support for their country and to call out "Radical Conservatives" for their shallow patriotism. E.g. Paying your taxes! rather than evading your responsibility to pay for services, and supporting a mandatory citizen servic ...more
John Willis
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reich is one of my favorite economists to read. He explains concepts and makes them easier to understand.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
Despite its sub-title, this book's message is not particularly confrontational. The author simply lays out the arguments as to why liberalism has a great tradition of enacting the kinds of social changes that have made America great. He also points out that most Americans, when polled, actually side with the liberal philosophy on most major issues; but, due to the misrepresentation of the liberal position that has been occurring over the past many years by the right-wing talk show hosts, etc., m ...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
Nov 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Will Byrnes
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Emily Iliani
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Wish I had read this in 2004 when it was published, but it is still relevant today. I reread the last chapter three times -- it is just that brilliant. Reich says there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat, if a Democrat moves to the center it is because they are looking for more lobby money.

This is a must read for anyone who cares about America.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Ian Oeschger
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ray Chanley
Jul 22, 2015 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.
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jordan Wages
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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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