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Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics
 
 

Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics [Kindle Edition]

Manuel Arriaga
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Review

"If you want things organized, you might have to read some quite tricky books about democracy [such as this one]."
-- Russell Brand, reading excerpts of Rebooting Democracy on his daily show The Trews

"A quick and easy read that makes the case for why existing political systems are inadequate and then shows examples of how to move us past those problems and toward more democratic systems. Along with many clever insights, Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics points the way to where democracy is heading."
-- Professor John Gastil, Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University

"A bold challenge to the status quo that shows, with some very good examples, how democracy can work. A concise and readable book that makes a cogent case for reinventing politics. Well worth a read."     
-- Katharine Quarmby, award-winning journalist, former Britain correspondent for The Economist and political producer for BBC Newsnight.

"A short and engaging book. Written in the irreverent, outsider spirit of the Occupy protests, Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics goes well beyond critiquing the status quo. It discusses several ways to democratize our society. [...] Interesting and well-worth reading."
-- Yoram Gat, founder and editor of Equality by Lot

"Don't you feel sometimes that there is something wrong with contemporary democracy? That politicians are like a separate caste which makes decisions over the heads of people? Why is this happening? In Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics, Manuel Arriaga answers these questions in a straightforward manner, carefully explaining point-by-point how it is possible that those we elect so often fail to represent us. But this is only the beginning of the book. After all, the fact that we have a problem with democracy is something we already knew. [...] The most important question remains - how do we fix things? In this book we find an overview of concrete solutions from different parts of the world. From the citizen panels in British Columbia to ranked voting in Ireland and all the way to campaign finance reform in France. […] This short book prompted me to think of issues which I had never thought of before, even though I had been interested in the topic of democracy for a long time."
-- Marcin Gerwin, Dziennik Opinii

Review

"If you want things organized, you might have to read some quite tricky books about democracy [such as this one]."
-- Russell Brand, reading excerpts of Rebooting Democracy on his daily show The Trews

"A quick and easy read that makes the case for why existing political systems are inadequate and then shows examples of how to move us past those problems and toward more democratic systems. Along with many clever insights, Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics points the way to where democracy is heading."
-- Professor John Gastil, Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University

“A rare democracy book that manages to be practical, realistic and radical. A great read for those who despair of any actionable options.”
-- Tom Steinberg, founder and director of mySociety

"A bold challenge to the status quo that shows, with some very good examples, how democracy can work. A concise and readable book that makes a cogent case for reinventing politics. Well worth a read."     
-- Katharine Quarmby, award-winning journalist, former Britain correspondent for The Economist and political producer for BBC Newsnight.

"Passionately argued, yet plainly written, Rebooting Democracy is part scholarship, part manifesto -- a wholehearted call for civic engagement at a time of growing dissatisfaction with politics. Manuel Arriaga’s book challenges the idea that our democracies cannot be improved and successfully builds a case for political renewal."
-- Alberto Alemanno, Professor at HEC Paris and NYU School of Law; Founder of eLabEurope

“A short, sharp shock to the body politic, Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen’s Guide to Reinventing Politics is a smart critique of what's wrong with the current system—and what needs to change. Accessible, engaging and brimming with ideas for reinventing politics in the 21st century.”
-- Peter Geoghegan, editor of Political Insight, the magazine of the British Political Studies Association

“In so many corners of the world there is a pressing call for political change. Yet we are in an uncertain era where political ideologies and institutions are tired and no longer able to provide answers. Political activists—and all of those who feel disenchanted with our current way of doing politics—need a new political vocabulary. Manuel Arriaga offers them a stimulating start at re-imagining democracy in his pithy little book, Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen’s Guide to Reinventing Politics.”
-- Forrest D. Colburn, Professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York

"A short and engaging book. Written in the irreverent, outsider spirit of the Occupy protests, Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics goes well beyond critiquing the status quo. It discusses several ways to democratize our society. [...] Interesting and well-worth reading."
-- Yoram Gat, founder and editor of Equality by Lot

"Don't you feel sometimes that there is something wrong with contemporary democracy? That politicians are like a separate caste which makes decisions over the heads of people? Why is this happening? In Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics, Manuel Arriaga answers these questions in a straightforward manner, carefully explaining point-by-point how it is possible that those we elect so often fail to represent us. But this is only the beginning of the book. After all, the fact that we have a problem with democracy is something we already knew. [...] The most important question remains - how do we fix things? In this book we find an overview of concrete solutions from different parts of the world. From the citizen panels in British Columbia to ranked voting in Ireland and all the way to campaign finance reform in France. […] This short book prompted me to think of issues which I had never thought of before, even though I had been interested in the topic of democracy for a long time."
-- Marcin Gerwin, Dziennik Opinii

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2029 KB
  • Print Length: 131 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 191019817X
  • Publisher: Thistle Publishing (4 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JHE2SE6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,321 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Manuel Arriaga is a visiting research professor at New York University. He was previously on the faculty at the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School, where, for several years, he conducted research and taught courses on how organizations and individuals can become more effective decision-makers. His work has been published in leading management journals and academic reference volumes. An award-winning teacher, he continues to lecture at Cambridge.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold challenge to the status quo 12 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Manuel Arriaga makes a cogent case for reinventing in this concise and readable book. I think it is well worth a read - in my beat as a former Britain correspondent for the Economist, covering the 2010 general election in the UK, and as a former political producer for BBC Newsnight, as well as working as a researcher for the Labour party in the House of Commons and the Lords in the 1990's, it became gruesomely apparently to me that our democracy worked more in breach than in reality. Politicians were led by the press - now, more and more, as the Internet has taken control of the press, with live web analytics, it is not clear who is leading whom. In many ways anarchy reigns, rather than democracy. If we want to take back control of our democracy we need to participate as citizens, at every level. Manuel Arriaga shows, with some very good examples, how democracy can work. Of course it can have unforeseen consequences - Swiss voters had the right, and used it, to vote in a referendum, to introduce quotas on immigration. That is democracy in action. Not always pleasant - but at least the case for and against is argued, in the open, and people have real power. This book is well worth a read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you think we lack ideas to make our democracies real democracies, this is a book for you! It's a very stimulating reading that will make you reflect on your own voting practices, triggering uncomfortable realizations about the reasons and influences underlying these practices - a sign of the great lucidity and necessity of Arriaga's essay.
And a special note to the bankers out there, who should not be put off by the summary: DO read the book, it is written for you too!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for anyone interested in making democracy work better. This book clearly lays out the problems inherent in our political systems, and then clear practical steps that could be taken to improve it. The great thing is that every suggestion has been tried successfully elsewhere in the world, so this isn't proposing pie-in-the-sky solutions, but a package of things we know will help. Also, it's a short book, which is great in that it doesn't muck around with excessive dull detail, and leaves you inspired and wanting to get going straight away. Read it now!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bold plea for reforming our democracies 7 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback
The book delivers a thorough analysis of why current political systems, dominated by big political parties, will always fail to represent citizens' interests. Arriaga therefore argues for a more sincere form of democracy, in which citizens are acknowledged as capable and reasoned decision-makers in moderated deliberative processes. He takes the reader on a world tour of promising deliberative democracy experiences and related innovations. Sadly, the main obstacle to transform such experiences into mainstream politics are.... these same political parties. Arriaga conveys his analyses and arguments in a remarkably clear way and a great sense of humor. The book is a must for all those, and I am sure they are many, who still believe in democratic values but understand the urgent need for radical reforms in order to solve current crises and avert the looming social and ecological catastrophes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Scott
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you've become disillusioned by the corporate led politicians that promise so much and deliver so little in our interest, then you've got to read this book. It describes, in a succinct way, the psyche of modern politicians, what must be done to correct our democracies and gives real life examples of some of the ideas proposed in these brilliant 116 pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers I've been seeking 28 July 2014
By Milady
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent, concise and accessible with clear ideas for reform and justification for the method chosen (based on an Ancient Greek system… have we actually come up with anything new? :)). The author is keenly aware of the dangers and combats all the objections very neatly (the most frequently heard one in my experience being ‘Aren’t the population too stupid to decide anything?’). He also points to variations of this system that have been tried and are still operative around the world, which I found very encouraging.

A quick read which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to all and sundry, not just those who are into political theory, but basically anyone (I’m no academic myself!).

I found this book while searching for discussion on Leaderless Revolution by Carne Ross which is an elegant and thorough demolition of representative politics at every level, national through to supra-national. Leaderless Revolution is truly excellent but did not furnish any solutions. I feel that Rebooting Democracy could easily be the second part and provide all of the answers one has when completely disillusioned with the impossibility of making our current system work, particularly to long-term challenges as well as real social issues outside the experience of the typical career politician.

This book left me with hope for the first time in a long while. As one delves into the big issues of our time, climate change, tax havens, inequality, corporate takeover of government etc, you realise how useless our current system is to combat any of these and that political reform can’t be divorced from solving these.

There is a website you can sign up to for news and developments in this arena at http://www.rebootdemocracy.org which feels like a natural next step!

I couldn't recommend this book more highly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all citizens and representatives that are not...
An inspiring, clear and straightforward book on democracy, accessible to anyone interested in politics. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Remi Charpentier
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking!
Wondering what's going on with democracy & how to fix it?

Arriaga does a very nice job of laying out the reasons why politics are in such disarray, and then proposes... Read more
Published 2 months ago by F P
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Solutions for the 99%
I loved this book. It's the perfect answer to dichotomy of, on the one hand, the skepticism we feel when encouraged to embrace the current political system, and on the other, to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Erika T
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful read on democracy and decision making processes
Regardless of agreeing with the author's view, the book provides an insightful and enjoyable read, highlighting some of the pitfalls of modern democracies and presenting, through... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Henriques
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent start to radical change that's so required
Clear understanding of the problems of democracy and some great solutions put forward here in well laid out, well thought through chapters.
Published 5 months ago by Emma
5.0 out of 5 stars an antidote to frustration
Complaining about politicians failing our expectations has become a kind of cross-national sport, but as Arriaga skillfully explains, our dissatisfaction has endemic, theoretical... Read more
Published 5 months ago by erica barbiani
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful reflection on democracy
If you have a day or two to spare, definitely read this book. Short but immensely thought-provoking, it offers a very honest reflection of our political systems and argues that... Read more
Published 5 months ago by VP
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