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The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise [Kindle Edition]

Arthur C. Brooks
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, and upward mobility: These traditions are at the heart of the free enterprise system, and have long been central to America’s exceptional culture. In recent years, however, policymakers have dramatically weakened these traditions—by exploding the size of government, propping up their corporate cronies, and trying to reorient our system from rewarding merit to redistributing wealth.

 In The Road to Freedom, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks shows that this trend cannot be reversed through materialistic appeals about the economic efficiency of capitalism. Rather, free enterprise requires a moral defense rooted in the ideals of earned success, equality of opportunity, charity, and basic fairness. Brooks builds this defense and demonstrates how it is central to understanding the major policy issues facing America today.

The future of the free enterprise system has become a central issue in our national debate, and Brooks offers a practical manual for defending it over the coming years. Both a moral manifesto and a prescription for concrete policy changes, The Road to Freedom will help Americans in all walks of life translate the philosophy of free enterprise into action, to restore both our nation’s greatness and our own well-being in the process.

Editorial Reviews


"It is true, but insufficient, to argue that free enterprise makes us better off. Arthur Brooks makes the indispensable point that it also makes us better. Having stumbled far down the road to serfdom, we are much in need of Brooks' trenchant case for a change of course." ---P. J. O'Rourke

About the Author

Arthur C. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. He is the author of a number of books, including The Battle, Gross National Happiness, and Who Really Cares.

Educated at Juilliard, Paul Costanzo has brought the sensitivity and nuance of a classical music background to the world of voice acting for over twenty-five years. He was chosen by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter to record titles in her FBI series, and AudioFile magazine has called his narration "Superb."

Product Details

  • File Size: 1486 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 046502940X
  • Publisher: Basic Books (May 8, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,744 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moral Case for Free Enterprise May 8, 2012
Reading "The Road to Freedom" is an incredible experience from start to finish. For some time, I have looked for a way to teach my children and my friends abroad about what makes America unique and why our free enterprise system is so important. Arthur Brooks answers this challenge; he clearly articulates the case for free enterprise, why it is fair, why it is the best system for the poor and the sick, and why it is the system in which we can become truly happy. It is wonderful, as you read the book, to rediscover truths about what makes America such a special place. Our system rewards hard work and offers the most opportunity for every citizen, and I am so glad that Brooks explains how earned success - not money - makes free enterprise a truly moral way of life.

I am not a Republican, and it was refreshing to read a book that really is about defending free enterprise, not a Republican or right-wing political platform. Brooks explains that government does have a role in our society in protecting us from monopolies, corporate cronyism, and of course in protecting our civil liberties and our security. At the same time, by understanding what drives our free enterprise system, I feel Brooks teaches us how to find the right balance between government and our private lives.

Perhaps the best part of the book comes in the second half, in which Brooks switches from explaining the morality of free enterprise to applying this concept to policy issues, ranging from health care reform to taxes. Brooks gives so many policy suggestions that both embrace the free enterprise system and reject partisan labels; I hope every American reads this book and learns about the moral way to help our poor and sick and to maintain our right to the pursuit of happiness.
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73 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Message at the Right Time May 8, 2012
By LSP86
Dr. Brooks is truly the man of the hour. He delivers a hard-hitting message for those who love free enterprise and are struggling to craft a winning argument. With well-researched and thought-provoking analysis, he makes the claim that free enterprise advocates are losing the battle with big government for one simple reason: they argue with materialism and data, while their opponents argue from the heart. Humans are wired to respond to moral claims faster and stronger, he argues, and therefore, free enterprise advocates should open any discussion not with their head but with their hearts.

Dr. Brooks lays out the path for success in two parts. Part 1 of "The Road to Freedom" is a manifesto on the moral superiority of the free enterprise system. Only free enterprise encourages human flourishing by allowing each individual to define and pursue his success. Only free enterprise creates real opportunity and true fairness based on merit. And only free enterprise lifts up the poor by the billions and encourages a charitable community. While big government may want to do these things, it is incapable, as every government benefit turns into something to aid the well-connected or something that causes learned helplessness.

The book then takes a practical turn. Dr. Brooks provides a better role for government in today's society: providing a minimum safety net for the truly poor and vulnerable, and correcting for market failure where it can be done successfully and efficiently. He lays out the winning formula for any political discussion and applies it to today's most pressing domestic policy issues: tax reform, entitlements, national debt, economic growth, and job creation.

This book is a must-read for anyone who believes in the moral superiority of the free enterprise system.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New ideas in defense of our free market May 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70's, I've spent my life surrounded by the well-intentioned left. But my father gently and deliberately left The Fountainhead lying around the house at just the right strategic point in our impressionable teenage years, and began discussing political philosophy at the dinner table. We took the bait, and my brothers and I gradually evolved into passionate, freedom-loving, self-reliant libertarians (small L). As a parent myself now, I look back on what my father did and marvel at the delicate task he succeeded at. I've engaged in thousands of conversations with my left-leaning friends (that is 97% of all of them), and have tried countless angles to penetrate their ideological barriers, largely without success. My few politically like-minded cohorts admonish me to not waste my time -that, like my father, I should focus on my kids and write off the rest as unsavable. Yet, like a mathematician obsessed with an unsolved problem, it has remained one of my passions to find the formula that will part the clouds. I give that lengthy personal intro so that I can express that this book is an immensely useful tool for me, and for those like me who are frustrated in their debates with the Left. Mr. Brooks offers a truly fresh arsenal of perspectives and ideas that attack a neglected flank -the fairness argument for capitalism. The word 'fairness' itself has been usurped by the left (how many times has Obama whipped out his line about the rich paying their fair share?), yet Mr. Brooks calmly and rationally walks his readers through the irrefutable facts that prove why the free market, while not perfect, is by far the fairest system of all for the largest number of people, especially the poorest. After reading it, I have purchased copies for a dozen of my 'progressive' friends who are open minded enough to consider new ideas. This book is full of them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is an excellent book that every american should read. It is very well researched.
Published 1 month ago by dbj
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening while offering information that I was unaware of ...
Very enlightening while offering information that I was unaware of and needs to be inclded in WWII history in schools
Published 2 months ago by Gregory S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fast and cheap.
Published 2 months ago by dan
1.0 out of 5 stars The Ubiquitous Special Exemptions for the Rich in History! Not Moral...
The author writes, somewhat paranoiacally, as if there was some big, nefarious movement afoot to deprive others from opportunity and freedom and entrepreneurship. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Peter P. Fuchs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 months ago by thomas a Jones
1.0 out of 5 stars so many fallacies
I have never read so many fallacies in one book. The author tries to promote free enterprise but is not even able to give it a definition.
Published 12 months ago by Antoine Fromentin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This book is a very good explanation of why the free enterprise has been and will continue to be the best system for people to prosper.
Published 21 months ago by Ken Landrum
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring message and practical insights into why the US needs to...
Brooks effectively makes the case that Free Enterprise is the "moral high ground" vs. a society in which government plays a larger and larger role. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, there is hope for freedom lovers!
I couldn't read fast enough. Someone finally put into words what I feel. Mr. Brooks outlines means that can be undertaken to regain (dare I say redeem? Read more
Published on May 24, 2013 by Jim North
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book
This is a very enlightening book on the Capitalist system and how America and its economy has and can continue to flourish.
Published on March 22, 2013 by Lampjefe
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More About the Author

Arthur C. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute. Until January 1, 2009, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. Throughout his career, Arthur has conducted research on the connections between culture, politics and economic life, and has published hundreds of articles and 10 books on subjects ranging from the economics of the arts to military operations research.

Born in 1964, Arthur grew up in Seattle in a family less interested in free enterprise than in the arts. At age 19, he dropped out of college to pursue a career as a professional French hornist. Arthur performed with the Annapolis Brass Quintet, toured with famed jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd, and spent several years with the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In Barcelona in 1991, he married Ester Munt-Brooks.

In 1992, Arthur and Ester moved to the U.S., where Ester taught languages and Arthur returned to college at night while teaching music during the day. He studied economics, math and languages, eventually earning bachelor's and master's degrees in economics and a Ph.D. in public policy. After finishing his doctorate, Arthur spent 10 years as a university professor, teaching economics, nonprofit management, and social entrepreneurship.

At the end of 2008, he left academia to join AEI as the institution's eleventh president. He speaks widely on behalf of AEI and the free enterprise movement all around the United States and world, and continues to write books and articles.

Arthur and Ester currently reside in Bethesda, Maryland, with their three children Joaquin, Carlos, and Marina.


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