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What people are saying about Lance Brown for President:

   "I've been reading some of the political content at, and find it damn interesting.
   "I am nominally a Democrat, but have never been seriously politically active, mainly because I'm fed up with a lot of what the major parties say and do. could say I'm looking for an intelligent alternative.
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Please click this and help my rating:

October 21, 2003

Books I'd recommend to a 17-year-old

A young fellow just wrote in asking what books I would recommend -- specifically, "some good books on current issues that I should know about, like the war on drugs, the reality of corporate america, the environment, etc.. Something a 17 year old can comprehend."

Here's what I suggested:

-- Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do by Peter McWilliams. A great book by a great man -- a martyr of the drug war. That book is about all victimless crimes, and it's awesome. It's long, but super-easy to read, and fun even. (Update: That book and all of Peter's other books are available on his site for free.

-- Why Government Doesn't Work by Harry Browne. The former Libertarian presidential candidate explains very simply and clearly how government is almost always the worst way to solve social problems.

-- Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle by Dr. Mary Ruwart. I endorsed and recommended this book on my blog a while ago. As I said there: "Words don't exist to describe how strongly I recommend this book."

-- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Ben Franklin. This is a good book for any young person to read. It's not about politics very much, and it's not as boring as it might sound. Ben Franklin was a great person, and he explains how he became one, and gives some advice. This one is available online for free in a number of places, and it's probably at almost every used bookstore in America.

-- And of course, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This one is long, pretty heavy, and fairly legendary. You can probably find reviews (both positive and negative) and summaries of it on the web. (Update: I see there are 1000 reviews of it posted at, where it gets 4 out of 5 stars.) I wrote about its influence on me here.

You can scope out those books at through the links above, and if you buy any of them through their link, it will help support my campaign. :-)

That's a good starter set for a young person aspiring to make positive change in the world, I think. It's by no means a comprehensive collection, but it's a good first round.

By the way, the young man who wrote to me is also a 311 fan (as I am), and he urged me to do more to connect with 311 and their fanbase. That's definitely a part of the plan -- 311 fans are, by nature of the band they like, energetic, open-minded, and interested in positive change. They are also generally young. There's not a much better set of qualities that I can imagine in a potential constituency. Apparently 311's bass player, who I've corrensponded with a bit, has a tagline on their online bulletin board urging readers to get involved in politics, and he refers to putting a 311 fan in the oval office. I don't know if he's thinking of me with that, but I like the way he's thinking regardless.

Posted by Lance Brown at October 21, 2003 11:55 PM | TrackBack

I remember reading and enjoying these when I was about 17:

Restoring the American Dream, by Robert J. Ringer.

Free to Choose, by Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman.

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt.

Each made a big impression on me.

Posted by: Dale Emery at October 22, 2003 08:34 AM
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