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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile polemic with powerful observations at the end, 18 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything (Paperback)
I was bought this as a surprise birthday gift - 6 months late!. It arrived at the same time as another book I was waiting for but I opened Monoculture first and read it in just two sittings. It was gripping and, although not revealing much terribly new, pulled things together that had been hovering in the back of my mind for years without being articulated.

The final chapter 'Finding Another Way' where Michaels refers to Vaclav Havel's experiences in the former Czechoslovakia of building a parallel way rang particularly true. Of alternative values and behaviours: "They do not represent a sure thing: you participate in them because you are compelled to, not because what you're part of stands a good chance of becoming a mass movement". This rang true for me. I have been vegetarian for 20 years and people find this, in some strange way, threatening. They assume that I am doing it to make everyone else do it or to save all the animals or for my health or because I don't like meat or any range of reasons. I actually do it for no reason, seeking no particular end but merely because I am compelled to - which doesn't fit with the economic story we live by. Why do something that is awkward and denies pleasure without the intention of gaining benefit just because you feel it might be right? I appear to have been building my own parallel structure without realising it and the book articulates that well for me.

To say the book is a polemic is reasonable. There are places where I wince at the over simplification and generalisations. With these weaknesses I would have given it 4 stars but the fact that it is succinct gains it a bonus star. If there is one sign of the market in action it is the fact that almost every book I pick up appears to contain 100 pages too many. They have all been padded to the length required to fit the business model of the publisher. It makes me want to get a pen and cross out large blocks of irrelevant text. I don't get that with this book. It says what needs saying then stops. It walks the talk.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing the monolithic problem on economy and society, 29 Oct. 2013
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Stimulating read and cause for reflection. As we go about our daily lives in a capitalistic driven world we lose our connection to humanity and charity. Knowledge for freedom's sake is controlled by the big market creating a mono culture that pervades every corner of our lives. Michael reflects on the pervasive problem with making public goods private. We have the right to choose what type of services and products we want within our lives, although as the knowledgable consumer we are bombarded with advertisements, the government and media which shape our preferences to sometimes believe we need things we do not.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read!, 26 May 2011
The main idea in this book is that there is a loss of value diversity in different areas of life, and that changes how we live. The book has a wide application to a wide variety of readers because it looks at changing trends in work, education, communities, creativity and the art, spirituality, healthcare and government. I found the book very approachable, well-written, and accessible. Lots of good examples, good synthesis of complex ideas, and I ended up doing lots of "hmmm, that's interesting." I was inspired by the parallel lives section. Overall, the book reads well and really teaches a lot to the reader - and the length is just right, not too long and not too short.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars how the economic story leads us quietly down a path we might not choose, 8 Sept. 2014
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Jim Smith (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Interesting look into how the economic model, the one story, is gradually encroaching on all spheres of our lives.

Persuasive in the argument but didn't give many concrete suggestions for how to break out of it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and well articulated argument, 2 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything (Paperback)
This is a well written, articulate assessment of the hegemony of a particular world view. It is interesting and readable, I thought that the only weakness in the book were the rather ineffective alternatives that were suggested as challenges or alternatives. I would recommend it.
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Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything
Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything by F. S. Michaels (Paperback - 31 May 2011)
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