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Swim against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go with the Flow Audible – Abridged

3.9 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jim Hightower has been nudging, no walloping, the consciences of Americans for more than thirty years now. I first heard of him in the mid-1970s when he was working for the presidential campaign of Oklahoma populist senator Fred Harris. He then got involved in Texas politics and was elected the state's commissioner of agriculture in the 1980s where he pushed for organic farming, direct marketing by farmers, and the regulation of pesticides, as well as other progressive notions. Along the way he was always muckraking in print and talking on radio and television in a vein similar to that of his old buddy Molly Ivins and he developed a devoted following (and some powerful enemies). He hasn't been, like some, a bloviating member of the chattering classes but has always been an activist for causes in which he believes.

In 'Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go with the Flow', Hightower, with his life-partner Susan DeMarco, takes a look at and urges actions concerning corrupt big business practices, the tainted political process and even the conduct of our private lives. Much of what he says is disturbing but it is always lightened by his down-home Will Rogers-like humor. It's not often that a book can put your stomach in a knot at the same time that you are laughing until tears roll down your cheeks.

Still, there is much here that is preaching to the choir. I suspect that the people who ought to read the book won't. But among those who do, perhaps it will stimulate some to get off their duffs and get deeply involved in the affairs of their community, state and country. I happen to live in a state, Vermont, where this is the modus operandi of more than the ordinary percentage of the citizenry and I can attest that citizen involvement makes life a helluva lot better than when you 'let someone else do it.'

Scott Morrison
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
`Swim Against the Current' takes a bold look at three major and influential topics and examines their impacts on present day society. In a modern world where a nefarious element wants us to think, feel, and act in a predetermined manner, we as individuals and groups owe it to ourselves to resist this and become the catalyst for badly needed change.

Beginning with a look at business in the first section, the dubious history of greed, fraud, and lack of ethics in big corporations is not lost on anyone. In a refreshing change for the better, numerous examples are detailed here of people and organizations that have defied the odds to create successful businesses that are untouched by questionable influences. Cooperation and teamwork are basic fundamentals that reach far and wide in accomplishing so much and their benefits are explored here also.

Turning next to politics, this sometimes repugnant subject really needs no formal introduction. Immoral and unethical behavior of lobbyists and elected officials are firmly etched in our thoughts. Citizens are fed up and valuable changes are in progress. Four impressive programs described in this book are 'Clean Elections', `Democracy School', `Camp Wellstone', and `ACORN` (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). The impacts from these fine efforts have already had a positive political impact across the country. The underlying theme here is that the general public has the capacity to make these things happen. The process can be laborious at times with the gains coming slowly at first but the end results are positive and worth the efforts.

The last and probably most important focus is life itself.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm giving this Swim Against the Current 5 stars for the importance of its substance, but in spite of the style in which it is presented. To be fair, I reviewed an unedited draft, so the final product might be fine. For now, the text is a bit schizophrenic. The book is supposed to be written in Jim Hightower's well-known Texan voice, but is a collaboration between him and his long-time partner Susan DeMarco, and it shows. There's a failure to blend the two voices into a consistent presentation. The result is that the text will flow nicely for many pages, then out of nowhere some bit of odd Southern humor is thrown in and it's a bit jarring. I appreciate that Hightower is known first and foremost for his humor and his Texas origins, but his writing partner DeMarco is a Northerner. Hopefully their editor can smooth things out for the final draft. This is a wonderful book with great information, and I'd like to be able to recommend it wholeheartedly.

The theme of the book is that all of us, no matter who we are, can not only make a difference, but have an obligation to do so. We're treated to the stories of several citizen action groups and projects that were started by average people with no connections and not a clue how to begin. In spite ongoing challenges, these groups have made a difference in their own lives and the lives of those they touch.

The book is divided into three sections: Business, Politics and Life. In the Business section, we see workers overcome union-busting tactics in a Wisconsin cab company and a California strip club, both taken over and run successfully by their respective employees.
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