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

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The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future + Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State + The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood
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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

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

Agree or disagree this is a book that is well worth your time and attention.
Paul Tognetti
Nader offers solutions, but unfortunately his ideas are preaching to the choir, of which the American corporate police state is not a member.
You can find your voice and learn how to help change the world for the better with this book.
G. Conner

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 Citizen John TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's interesting to me to see the difference between Nader in this book versus before. Nader appears almost conciliatory at times and now willing to negotiate with interested parties to fashion a more just, verdant and abundant nation.

There is something in here for everybody: protection of the family and thus commonly-shared family values; ending big corporate welfare; investing in infrastructure and rebuilding the public spaces and realms (mysteriously unpopular with elected officials); getting real on corporate crime and more.

Probably the most interesting solution is to redirect taxes away from labor. Our nation collects about 42% of its revenue from income taxes and about 41% from payroll taxes (labor taxes). When we tax labor, we make it cheaper to outsource productive activities abroad. If we didn't tax labor so much, we could make a lot more progress in job creation and employment.

Nader wants to help the President and Congress to make the 17 solutions reality. This is important, because in most things voters have to lead the President in a democracy. Also, there is no way any human can deal with all the issues that get presented to a U.S. President. Competition for a President's limited mind share is fierce.

Nader's plans for Congress are conciliatory compared to the way most citizens probably feel. In this book, he advocates watchdog bodies that help Congress police itself. These are productive ideas. Nevertheless, it could be difficult to kickstart Congressional initiatives without adequate funding specially to incentivize elected officials. In other words, Congressional officials make their money mostly from leveraging their position and not from their relatively meager salaries.
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