By now, many of you will have heard of the eBook “Beyond Outrage” thanks to Robert Reich’s spectacular and tireless marketing efforts. These include a notable appearance on The Daily Show, and a mock feud between him and Bill O’Reilly. But all this does little to cover up the reality: that Reich’s new eBook contains very little content that does not resemble his columns, blog posts and television appearances.

The stated aim of Reich’s eBook is to urge “Americans to get beyond mere outrage about the nation’s increasingly concentrated wealth and corrupt politics in order to mobilize and to take back our economy and democracy”. Reich’s argument is that Americans should not hope that their unequal system will change through electoral politics alone, but through educating the public and thereby pressuring the politics even after the election. In order to accomplish this, Reich has created a short eBook (87 pages) full of information about the inequalities of the system. He provides many comparisons between America’s current problems and the “golden age” of American growth and prosperity. He provides much insight, and for only 87 pages there is a hell of a lot of information contained within.

However, as stated before, there is not much NEW information. I am quite a bit a Robert Reich fan. I read his columns, occasionally read his blog posts, and catch his media appearances wherever I can. I respect the man, and I respect his opinion. But because I do catch so much of his work, this eBook gives me the feeling of deja vu. He expressed much of his argument on his Daily Show appearance, and the rest of it during most of his writing in the last few years. About the only difference between Reich’s existing (free) work and this eBook is the historical references and comparisons he is able to make in this long form essay, much of which he does not have the time to do in his normal work. However, the book is not referenced, and does not have a bibliography, so it would unlikely be a good source for academic work.

To be honest, in my opinion, $2.99 is not a lot of money to pay for this eBook. It is a very well written treatise. And if your aim is to enlighten your fellow citizens, as Reich intends, then buying this eBook certainly will arm you for your task. However, for the rest of us casual observers, I would suggest merely sticking to Reich’s (free) blog posts and columns.

 

Title: Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix them

Genre: Politics and Economics

Author: Robert Reich

Pages: 87 pages (estimated)

Publisher: Knopf

ASIN: B0078XCKUA

Amazon Price (Kindle Single): $2.99 (AUD)

Josh’s Rating: 3/5