On books: a mind-bending read

On books - Revolution, by Russell BrandI admit, it took 3 different people talking to me about (and highly rating) Russell Brand’s latest book, Revolution, before I could step over my pre-judgement and actually purchase his book. But I’m pleased to say that once I picked it up I could barely put it down.

Whilst reflecting on this thought-provoking book I had an epiphany about why I liked it so much. I’ve realised that I was so drawn to Brand’s unashamed and blatant disregard for an outmoded conformity to “the establishment” in order to present his radical ideas because I am inspired by people who stand up for change, people who are willing to challenge the status quo, and people who are vying for the greater good, for all. So I kept pushing through the pages – even though it is a heavy read – and I began to enjoy his entertainingly cheeky writing and bursts of brilliance.

Early on in the book Brand asks two key questions: 1) Are you happy with things the way they are? And 2) Do you believe that things could be better? It’s no surprise that the sense is things could be better…

Brand’s book is a charming roller coaster that gives you a glimpse in to the way his mind works and certainly opened my mind to ideas that are waaaaay outside the box! His argument is effectively for the peaceful dismantlement of capitalism, replaced by the establishment of small communities of de-centralised power structures.

Throughout the book, Brand examines the ideas of anti-globalism campaigners and intertwines their ideas with his own. To me, this snippet from the book creates a good vision of the world he is after:

… It’s a short passage, but a new world is described where big, powerful structures must be overcome to bring about this new, gentler, more free society where we work less and have more leisure. Where technology is used to liberate the many, not engorge the few. Where positive human attributes like altruism and cooperation become the idealogical pillars for society.

On a practical note (and on a topic close to my heart) I love that Brand is calling for a “reassessment of global trade agreements to make them favourable to localised, organic farming, not reckless profiting.”

He also congratulates Bhutan for the way it takes in to account the happiness of the people who live in their country as a part of its measure of GDP. Good work Bhutan!

Having read both supportive and – shall we say – less than glowing reviews of this book, one of the consistent criticisms is the lack of succinct detail as to how such a revolution could be enacted. But my sense is that the type of revolution that Brand is envisioning comes from a groundswell of change initiated by individuals who demand more from their individual lives. They are the ones choosing love, compassion and community as their joie de vivre. I see his job as inspiring us to think differently; to think for ourselves and ask more questions; to have the faith to believe in ourselves; and to have the courage to make choices that support the shared responsibility for the future of the earth.

A recovering addict, Brand is fiercely speaking out about inequalities driven by the economic chasm between the rich and the poor. I can’t help but feel that this work is as much a political and economic statement as it is a facet of his own personal journey of healing, which I whole-heartedly applaud.

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