Book Review: Taking on the System, by kos
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 07:33:48 AM EDT
Ever since I began devoting several hours a day to blogging about politics more than four years ago, and especially since I started writing professionally for MyDD nearly three years ago, I have been looking for a clear and concise way to explain to my family and friends just what I have been devoting so much of my time and effort to. Whenever I have been asked by a reporter or a Democrat of another generation or even a professor interested in politics about my ideology, or if I am some kind of crazy blogger insistent on a far left political orthodoxy, I have kindly explained that, no, my focus is more on electoral outcomes and bringing effective change than allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good, all the while hoping that someone would write the tome laying out this pragmatic vision of direct action within the age of the Internet.
This is just that book.
In the 288 highly readable and very engaging pages of Taking on the System, which is released tomorrow, Markos lays out his eight rules for achieving progressive change within today's digital world. Far from just being a book for a bloggers, about bloggers, by a blogger, this is a book that is relevant far beyond the Netroots, or even the expressly political realm. It is a book that folks who don't spend hours a day on sites like MyDD or Talking Points Memo or Daily Kos can read, understand and thoroughly enjoy. Markos goes to great lengths to relate developments within society -- for instance the new open source ways in which new albums are reaching consumers, overturning some of the notions of unchecked and uncheckable powers of the gatekeepers in the music industry -- to changes within the political system that likewise have the capacity to make the country more democratic.
I know that I will be ordering a few copies of the book to give away to assorted friends and family, and I will also personally recommend it to a handful of professors to incorporate into their coursework this fall. But even if you're not at the place where you're looking to purchase multiple copies of a book you have not yet read to give to friends, I would nevertheless highly recommend you get a copy for yourself to see what it's all about. Whether you're someone relatively new to the Netroots, becoming more involved during this year's primaries or even more recently than that, or you're someone who remembers the flame wars on Daily Kos during the last Democratic primaries (or even points further ago in the past than that) -- or even if you just stumbled on this site because you were looking for the latest poll or political news but are not an out and out political junkie -- Taking on the System is a book you should buy and delight in reading.