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The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future Paperback – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Twelve years after his role in the 2000 presidential election and nearly 50 since Unsafe at Any Speed (1965) shocked the U.S. auto industry, Nader remains a font of ideas about all that ails the U.S. economy and the U.S. polity. No reader will be surprised that corporate America is the focus of many proposals, among them eliminating corporate welfare, cracking down on corporate crime, establishing national charters for the largest corporations, and cutting the military budget. Anyone who’s followed Nader’s career will also expect his advocacy for political changes, including restoring civil liberties, reinvesting in infrastructure, and forcing Congress to have Skin in the Game. But many of Nader’s solutions require action by ordinary citizens—reengaging with civic life, building more self-reliant communities, taking back control over science and technology, and watchdogging Congress. Notably, Nader urges enlisting support from the enlightened super-rich to generate the modest but essential funding needed for campaigns to turn his other recommendations into reality. Timely, relevant ideas from a veteran of generations of battles for small-d democracy. --Mary Carroll


It will be very good for the country if Nader’s revelations shock a new generation. This book is a subversive primer that should be read in every high school civics class. (William Greider, The Nation)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Original edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062083538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062083531
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Named by The Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century, Ralph Nader has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments for more than four decades.

The crusading attorney first made headlines in 1965 with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, a scathing indictment that lambasted the auto industry for producing unsafe vehicles. The book led to congressional hearings and automobile safety laws passed in 1966, including the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He was instrumental in the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many lives have been saved by Nader's involvement in the recall of millions of unsafe consumer products, including defective motor vehicles, and in the protection of laborers and the environment. By starting dozens of citizen groups, Ralph Nader has created an atmosphere of corporate and governmental accountability.

Ralph Nader's most popular books include, from Seven Stories, In Pursuit of Justice and The Ralph Nader Reader. His most recent bestselling books were The Good Fight (2004) and The Seventeen Traditions (2007), both published by HarperCollins. "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!" is Nader's first work of imagination. It will be published by Seven Stories Press on September 22, 2009.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a good follow-up to Nader's Seventeen Traditions. In it, he addresses the many ways in which Americans can united around different causes to bring the country back to the people. He offers ideas on how to get involved in citizen action post-Occupy and post-Recession. There are many solutions that range from large scale to community, and anyone interested in working in their town would find this book a good point-of-reference to start a new campaign or reinvigorate an existing one.

I recommend this book to new activists, age-old activists or just concerned citizens who think that the U.S. could use a new point of view to taking on corporations and a corrupt political system.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By 4aHumane&JustWorld on October 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
I really like and admire Ralph Nader because he has devoted his entire adult life to working very hard to protect the common people of America from the corrupt and criminal predatory actions of corporate and government people in positions of power (often undeserved power).

And I praise Mr. Nader's new book for focusing on solutions, when most current reformers are focused on explaining what is wrong, but mostly fail to explain a truly adequate plan of action to solve our many urgent problems.

As a common American (and non-expert), I humbly offer the following basic critique of the solutions suggested by Mr. Nader (and many other respect-worthy reformers):

Most of the suggestions, while good, DEPEND ON our Congress, President, and Courts adopting and enforcing them -- and that is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN unless (and until) the American people FORCE our government to change and actually do what we want, need, and demand.

Our Congresses, Presidents, and Courts overwhelmingly and increasingly IGNORE what the common people want (on nearly every issue you can mention) -- and DO THE OPPOSITE -- because that is what the super-rich, the powerful corporations, and the military-spy empire demand.

So the suggestions of Mr. Nader (and all the other reformers I have read) seem to me to be somewhat "scattershot," futile, and not part of a carefully thought-through strategic sequence of goals and tactics.

I think this fatal flaw is why corporate-funded, right-wing think-tanks have outsmarted the liberals and the left for the past 40 years!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sean Sheikh on October 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Don't underestimate the power of Nader. A champion of consumer protection and democratic government, Ralph Nader has a track record of standing up for the common man, and implementing practical solutions. In 'Seventeen Solutions' he lists ideas on how to solve America's deepest problems.

The overall theme is civic engagement. If people had more organized discussions, paid attention to its congressmen, and stayed abreast of current events, positive changes could be made. We live in a country where the people have consistently pushed for ideals with only resilience and optimism as fuel. Because of strong willed individuals, we have organizations like Mothers against drunk driving (MADD) which has dramatically reduced drunk driving nationwide.

There are dozens of suggestions for people and communities to do such as: tax reform, ending corporate welfare, and creating congressional watch dog groups. It's hard keeping up with all the suggestions, as some range from calling a congress member from your district, to creating groups of 200 or more people. It may have been more practical to come up with 5-10 solutions, and a list of 'next steps' in each chapter to spur action.

Although plenty of Bush and Obama bashing is done, Nader's ideas aren't partisan. I think the majority of Americans, regardless or party, don't like corporate welfare, a dirty water supply, and would like more investment in public transportation. It's only that we lack the confidence to believe we can make a difference. Nader has started small on many fronts, and been able to create inspiring movements such as Princeton Project 55, Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), and dozens of non-profit organizations that make a difference for the common citizen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jtk on July 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
It is somewhat remarkable, as progressive as Ralph Nader is on a number of political issues, that he is rarely decried or attacked by those on the right. Perhaps this lack of criticism would be due in part to the perceived if not actual small assist he inadvertently gave to George W. Bush in the infamous 2000 U.S. presidential election. While that may have shielded him from more regular and continuous criticism from the right, Nader on the issues does often also appeal to those who identify as conservative, particularly so-called Libertarians. For instance, while he talks at length about missing and necessary government regulation of business, he not so mildly scolds current President Obama's continuation and expansive use of the military abroad. In fact, he accuses Obama of perpetuating war crimes. He pits military job cronyism alongside eroding family cohesiveness. We shouldn't be surprised to see future commentators of all political persuasions embrace with solidarity some part of the Nader legacy.

In Nader's most recent book, The Seventeen Solutions, he lays out a litany of causes meant to stir U.S. citizenry to action. Each of the 17 ideas, covered in their own chapter of the book, read like a compilation of Nader's greatest hits. An accumulation of rants, pep talks, diatribes meant to call attention to a major theme where the public has been done wrong, usually through the effect of large corporations that hold too much power and political sway.

Nader emphasizes throughout the book how small actions, and small groups can have a profound effect. He does a reasonably good job of highlighting the big issues, while suggesting how even small groups of individuals can bring about significant change even in the face of powerful opposing forces.
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