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What's the Big Idea?: Reinventions for a Better America Paperback – May 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477537260
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477537268
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,801,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marty Nemko holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley specializing in the evaluation of innovative programs and subsequently taught in Berkeley's graduate school. He wrote "The Big Idea" column for WashingtonPost.com and a column for TheAtlantic.com. He is in his 24th year hosting Work with Marty Nemko on KALW-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate in San Francisco. The archive of that program plus 1,000 of his published writings are free on www.martynemko.com.

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AY on September 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book brims with innovative and fresh ideas regarding the most pressing issues facing our nation and facing us in our personal lives.

Particularly thought provoking are the chapters on reinventing political elections, taxation, housing, and public libraries.

I hope that more people - everyday citizens and political leaders alike - consider his ideas and contribute to the public discourse.

Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Walter Block on June 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Marty Nemko is not a libertarian. Ordinarily, I only write positive reviews, VERY positive reviews, about the books written by libertarians. But, I am making an exception in this case. Nemko's latest book, his seventh, is entitled "What's the Big Idea? 39 Reinventions for a Better America." But an alternative title for it could have been "Magnificent food for thought," for this author is inventive, creative, and blazes wonderful, thoughtful, new trails for all of us. Consider, only, his suggestions for how we select politicians: instead of elections, he wants the following types of people chosen for high office: "For example, the Senate might consist of the most newly retired of the 10 largest nonprofits, a randomly selected CEO of the S&P Midcap 400, the Police Officer of America's Cop of the Year, the National Teacher of the Year, the most award-winning scientist under age 30, etc., plus random citizens." Sounds crazy, right? However, apart from my main man Ron Paul, I'm not sure but that Nemko is onto something. I can't imagine that his selection process would worsen the Senate. Come to think of it, I'm now a Nemkoian, at least on this one startling idea of his. To benefit from his many, many other insights, go buy this book!
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the reviewer who said that while this book is short, it is not to be read in one sitting. It will make you stop and think.

What's the Big Idea? Reinventions for a Better America is a thought-provoking and timely book. Creative solutions are packed into this small volume. Readers will surely agree, disagree and be amazed at the outside-of-the-box thinking that went into it. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

On education, I certainly agree that the most important function of an education is to learn to think critically. There are many great education innovations listed. One criticism: the author gives examples of esoteric content that gets in the way of the mission as follows: "But we're too busy teaching the periodic table of elements, the causes of the War of 1812, the intricacies of Shakespeare, and how to solve quadratic equations." I believe that these subjects can be perfectly good ways to apply critical thinking. In learning about Shakespeare, I began to see his work as a way to learn from the mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them. He is certainly correct that we should not teach less important content without first covering the essentials.

The author notes the idiocy of airport screening practices. On a trip home from New Orleans, my husband almost had to leave behind a bottle of barbeque sauce. Barbeque sauce. Unopened. How does this make us safer?

Much more importantly, we are asked to consider carefully about how we select our leaders. This reminds me of a recent quote from Nassim Taleb: "It's the first time in history in which the people on top have power without courage. First time. You cannot find that in any society." "And of course the President of the United States was supposed to be first in battle.
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More About the Author

I try to respect my readers' time. So in all my books, my goal is to provide the most good ideas per minute.

Biographical highlights? I'm not impressed but many people are that I have a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley, with two specializations: the evaluation of innovation and educational psychology.

Actually, my ideas are more informed by my real-life experiences, including having been career and personal coach to over 4,000 people. And I draw considerable inspiration from my father having triumphed over being in a Nazi concentration camp.

Speaking of coaching, I'll admit to being proud of having been called "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach" on the cover of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and "Job Coach Extraordinaire" by U.S. News, and that I write twice a week for Time.com and daily for PsychologyToday.com

Oh, and I love my little doggie, Einstein, whose name is false advertising. He's dumb as dirt but sweet as they come.

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