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Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! [Hardcover]

Ralph Nader
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 22, 2009
"In the cozy den of the large but modest house in Omaha where he has lived since he started on his first billion, Warren Buffett watched the horrors of Hurricane Katrina unfold on television in early September 2005. . . . On the fourth day, he beheld in disbelief the paralysis of local, state, and federal authorities unable to commence basic operations of rescue and sustenance, not just in New Orleans, but in towns and villages all along the Gulf Coast. . . He knew exactly what he had to do. . ."

So begins the vivid fictional account by political activist and bestselling author Ralph Nader that answers the question, "What if?" What if a cadre of superrich individuals tried to become a driving force in America to organize and institutionalize the interests of the citizens of this troubled nation? What if some of America's most powerful individuals decided it was time to fix our government and return the power to the people? What if they focused their power on unionizing Wal-Mart? What if a national political party were formed with the sole purpose of advancing clean elections? What if these seventeen superrich individuals decided to galvanize a movement for alternative forms of energy that will effectively clean up the environment? What if together they took on corporate goliaths and Congress to provide the necessities of life and advance the solutions so long left on the shelf by an avaricious oligarchy? What could happen?

This extraordinary story, written by the author who knows the most about citizen action, returns us to the literature of American social movements—to Edward Bellamy, to Upton Sinclair, to John Steinbeck, to Stephen Crane—reminding us in the process that changing the body politic of America starts with imagination.

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Editorial Reviews


"... Clever, fanciful, thought-provoking."—New York Times

"With his new book, Ralph Nader—always the iconoclast and visionary—has created a new genre…What makes Nader remarkable is that he has refused to compromise utopian ideals while totally engaging the real world over the last five decades and delivering some of the most important changes from the Left in America in the last century…How many leftist books leave you feeling hopeful, even optimistic? How many offer you a picture of a new world that inspires you to act?…A genuine creative leap in genre and substance."—Tikkun Magazine

"Nader, at age 75, has just added one more literary accomplishment to his list."—Publishers Weekly

"For his progressive purposes Nader finds that the utopian novel allows one's imagination to forage freely in policy pastures for down-to-earth solutions. In the past Nader might have sat down and written an investigative book. Now he is presenting his ideas as fiction grounded in reality.. . . as the man says, it's a utopia. You gotta believe."—The Nation

"Nader has a sense of humor and irony—these are different, yet equally precious, commodities—and he puts them to amusing and instructive use in this imagination of the moment when Warren Buffett and a group of his billionaire compatriots decide to save capitalism from itself."— John Nichols,The Progressive

"Ralph Nader is an exemplary citizen and prophetic leader who tells the truth at great cost to himself on behalf of everyday people. This tale has a moral substance and political content that is quite relevant for our time!"—Cornel West, Princeton University

“Since the Progressive era, Ralph Nader has done more than anyone else to protect American consumers. With this utopian fantasy, he shows us how good he thinks things could be.”—Warren Beatty

“A high spirited visionary romp melding the wisdom, humor and imagination of Ralph Nader. May it inspire action.”—Patti Smith

“With apologies to Winston Churchill, never in the history of human suffering and economic conflict have so few been in a position to do so much for so many. In this eye-opening and mind-expanding work of “practical utopia,” Ralph Nader conjures up a world in which our richest and most powerful citizens deploy their wealth, fame, and brains on behalf of the powerless billions—and change the world in the process. For more than four decades, Ralph Nader has used his unrivaled talents as a lawyer, organizer, and teacher to make our cars safer, our environment cleaner, and our democracy stronger. Now he uses his unrivaled imagination to show all of us what a difference a few of us can make.”—William C. Taylor, Founding Editor, Fast Company, and coauthor, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win

“With heart, passion, wit and humor, Ralph Nader’s stunning masterpiece provides both a sharp critique and measured remedy for our current world, in which ethically bankrupt financial leaders can devastate our economy, yet extort trillions of dollars of federal bailouts to keep destroying it. The characters in Nader’s brilliant opus are at once recognizable, sympathetic, and endowed with more influence than they realize, which he calls to action. Spiderman’s uncle may have said, ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ but Nader shows us that for those with appropriate courage, ‘With great wealth comes great power,’ and that power can, and should, be harnessed for good. Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! is THE book for our times.”—Nomi Prins, Former Goldman Sach’s Managing Director, and author of It Takes a Pillage

“Ralph Nader’s Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! is a breakthrough book that sparks the imagination and inspires us to think about the political economy our country deserves. Using the storytelling conceit of leadership from the “Super-Rich,” Nader shows the power that we hold collectively, if we organize ourselves to demand and create a more equitable and just society.”—Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director, California Nurses Association, National Nurses Organizing Committee

About the Author

Born in Connecticut in 1934, RALPH NADER has spent his lifetime challenging corporations and government agencies to be more accountable to the public. His 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed permanently altered the course of a reckless U.S. automobile industry and made Nader a household name. His lobbying and writing on the food industry helped to ensure that the food we buy is required to pass strict guidelines before reaching the consumer. One of Nader’s greatest achievements was his successful lobbying for a 1974 amendment to the Freedom of Information Act, which gave increased public access to government documents. Over the years he has co-founded the public interest groups Public Citizen, Critical Mass, Commercial Alert, and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. His 2000 presidential campaign on the Green Party ticket served to broaden the scope of debate on the nation’s priorities. Named by the Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, Nader continues to be a relentless advocate for grassroots activism and democratic change. He lives in Washington, D.C.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583229035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583229033
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,284,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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122 of 143 people found the following review helpful
Humphry Bogart's character in A Passage to Marseille says in effect/I Don't trust this Major Duvall. Claude Rains's charcter replies in effect/Yes. Why not? Bogart/He,ll radio the police. I've been fighting his kind all my life. I know what to expect. Rains/ There are many ways to serve your country, my friend. Bogart/I don't care about my country. The country you & I loved is dead Captain. She's been dying for a long time. I saw her die.
Like Rains's character Ralph Nader is a super-patriot who will never say die to the American way of life. When reality says the Republic is either dead or on it's last legs Nader will dig in and fight. He has always used truth as the weapon. Now he artfully uses fiction to speak these truths in a form that that simply had me smiling from ear to ear. His knowledge in so deep/intricate in the workings of this country's political/economical entanglements that he misses nothing in the telling of this story.
The story opens Sept/2005 with Hurricane Katrina. Warren Buffet is at home watching in disbelief the nonstop coverage of floating corpses, people on roof tops crying, seeing nothing but chaos & collapse personifying this reality of his country. How could this be happening in the world's wealthiest country? He hadn't a clue about the ineptitude or recklessness or rotteness of the people in power. Even the poorest of country's buried their dead quickly.
Warren then assembles 16 bilionaires and people of influence to turn this country back over to the people, return it to a Republic the world could once again admire, where the statue of liberty (w/o handcuffs) is again a shining beacon of librerty & justice for all. Crazy idea. Daunting task to say the least.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
In "Network," Paddy Chayefsky's 1976 Academy Award winning satirical screenplay, TV news-anchor Howard Beale electrifies and awakens a nation from lethargy shouting, repeatedly, "I'm as mad as hell,and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

In "OTSRCSU," Nader's rollicking satirical admixture of virtuosity, imagination, and mega counter-corporate strategy, Patriotic Polly, a resplendent scarlet parrot ("the trumpeter of truth") galvanizes millions of Americans into action squawking, repeatedly, in 15-second spots aired on thousands of TV stations, "Get up! Don't let America down!"

Nader's cinematic political novel describes in fascinating insider detail a titanic struggle between the "Meliorists," a team of 17 rebellious real-life retired (or elderly) super-rich billionaires/megamillionaires battling for the people, and the "corporatists," a formidable cabal of entrenched super-rich CEOs battling to retain their control of the federal government. The Meliorists (Ted Turner, Barry Diller George Soros, Paul Newman, Phil Donahue, Warren Beatty, Yoko Ono, and others) are led by Warren Buffett, the world's second richest person; the CEOs, by Jaspar Cumbersome III, head of Leviathan Corp., who hires Lancelot Lobo ("a beyond-the-pale corporate raider") and Brovar Dortwist (patterned after real-life conservative political strategist Grover Norquist) to defeat what he calls the SROs (Super-Rich-Oldsters). Lobo and Dortwist, in turn, enlist combat-hardened talk-radio veterans Bush Bimbaugh (Rush Limbaugh) and Pawn Vanity (Sean Hannity).

And the galactic battle for America is engaged.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, informative, and Inspirational November 15, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My first knowledge of this book came in a Newsweek magazine review that devoted a whole page to slamming it, including an ugly picture of the author. That really perked my interest, because the reviewer called Ralph a "loser" and "pathetic," ostensibly for portraying scenarios in the book that would never happen in real life. Okay - without having read it, I knew that the book must have really pushed that guy's buttons to make such a flimsy case against a book, which is after all a work of fiction! So I bought it and am sooo glad I did. I have enjoyed reading it as much as anything I've ever read. I found the details of the machinations going on to be both hilarious and informational. I found so many instances, for example his portrayal of the meeting of the CEO of WalMart and his board, as their anti-American practices are being spotlighted in nationally released videos, to be hilarious. I wish it was non-ficition. Oh well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! February 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I caught a brief interview with Ralph Nader where he talked about his book. He said it was kind of like the anti-Atlas Shrugged with a great story line of billionaires coming to the Country's rescue. I was a big fan of the Ayn Rand novel so I thought I'd give OTSRCSU a try. While I don't agree with everything Mr. Nader has written about the battle to get America back on it's feet, I found myself nodding my head an awful lot as I read.

The story opens with Hurricane Katrina and Warren Buffett watching the chaos on the news. The despair he feels starts him on a journey to fix what's wrong with this country. To make changes so that future generations don't have to face the same problems and disgrace we face now. He assembles a core group of multi-talented billionaires to assist with his project. With a coordinated effort they begin to go after the establishment, ultimately attempting to get various amendements passed for the good of the country. Of course, it goes beyond the legislature piece. They have set out to change the atmosphere of the country, returning back to the premise that we are all equal and deserve a fair shake. Getting people interested and involved.

Meanwhile, a group of corporate CEO's have banded together to battle the billionaires. The CEO's hire a former corporate raider, Lobo, to be the pointman and a powerful lobbyist, Brovar Dortwist, to handle Washington. The tactics are to scare the everyday folks with horror stories of companies failing while Brovar keeps the lobbying pressure on the politicians in the CEO's pockets.

I couldn't help but feel good while reading this book. I have to admit that a few times I found myself wondering how great life would be once the legislature passed only to crash back to reality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it . hell im in it.
...from Humboldt to Hollywood ive enjoyed my volunteer time with nader campaigns . 2008 was much fun ... so what if im a chatty gardener landscaper . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Giving Pledge"
I think that this book has fallen on fertile ground. On the CBS 60 Minutes of March 27, 2016 , there was an interview with millionaires/billionaires who had dedicated themselves... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Silvia
2.0 out of 5 stars Gave up by page 75...
Seemed like a good idea, but the writing is so awful it's a drag reading it. I love RN and I appreciate all he's contributed to America, but this novel isn't one of his best... Read more
Published 8 months ago by bb user
5.0 out of 5 stars What if the Good Billionaires took on the Greedy ones to save the...
A very good read, moves well, and makes you want to get to the next chapters, see how things work out, and challenges are met.
Published 10 months ago by Paco Maribona
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Aw, Mr. Nader. Sad i couldn't get into this book. Wanted to... but couldn't.
Published 12 months ago by mireader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Ralph Nader is the most Cherished USA entity........A selfless, caring activist!!!!
Published 15 months ago by anthony parisi
5.0 out of 5 stars Nader does it again!
Another great book by a great writer. Highly recommended.
Published 21 months ago by Michael Macias
2.0 out of 5 stars Love Ralph, Hated The Premise of This Book
I love Ralph Nader very much politically, but I couldn't stomach the premise of this book. Never got past page 18 or so; tried several times to resell it on eBay cheaply without... Read more
Published 21 months ago by EthosInFreefall
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking.
It would not of been right for me to have gone through my life and not to have read this book.
Thank you very much.
Published on February 12, 2013 by Ed Furmanick
1.0 out of 5 stars ebook should cost $0.01 or less not $10
i really enjoyed reading this book
it was fun
i like books
i like learning
i like supporting my artists
i have
issue... Read more
Published on February 6, 2013 by Scott Bellows
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