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Recommended Reading

“The man who will not read has no advantage over the man who can’t.” Mark Twain

“What gives us trouble isn’t what we know. What gives us trouble is what we know that just isn’t so.” Will Rogers

“Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is disaster.” Jim Rohn

“Some people read so little they have rickets of the mind.” Jim Rohn0

As the quotes above indicate, we are concerned far too many people form their opinions on government, politics, economics and national defense based on false or slanted information. Accordingly, we offer you this list of books as a means of providing you the information needed to be a more effective and efficient citizen and voter.

We suggest you begin with a simple exercise. Read through the list of books and authors/commentators here. Determine two numbers. How many books are listed (this changes from time to time, so we’re not going to give you a number) and how many of those books you’ve read or authors/commentators you’re familiar with. Now divide the number of books you’ve read by the total number of books. The number you get is the percentage of the books listed you’ve read. The reality is, unfortunately, that the lower the number you calculate the more vulnerable you are to misinformation and manipulation. Even worse is if you have total recall of major sports champions or reality show winners over the last five years, but you’ve never heard of the majority of these books.

That’s the bad news, but the good news is you can begin today to armor your mind against misinformation and manipulation.

And candidly, if you ever find yourself reading something in our Blog or other postings that don’t track with what you think, then remember this. Our opinions are based on the knowledge we have from reading books like the one listed below. That means our opinions are based on knowledge. What are yours based on? Those who are trying to manipulate you for their personal gain are hoping you will continue to form your opinions without the knowledge we offer here.

If you’re just starting out, then we’ve put an * by what we consider to be some prime titles. By the way, we’re open to suggested additions.

We wish you good reading.

Personal Development and Clearer Thinking

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle by Jim Rohn

Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn

Tony Robbins offers several books with worthwhile information. Also, Tony did an interview with Stephen Covey @ 1992 that is available now at this link. It’s an amazing interview with some amazing insights into why people hold the political views they do.

Here is a link to Tony’s books. We like Unlimited Power, Awaken the Giant Within, and his two financial books, Money, and Unshakeable.

Words that Work by Dr. Frank Luntz

Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff

The Little Blue Book* by George Lakoff

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion* by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

Anything by Og Mandino, such as The Greatest Salesman in the World or The Greatest Secret in the World, just to name a couple.

Politics and Government

Democracy in Chains* by Nancy Mangan Reveals the stealth plan to undo America’s fundamental freedoms

Dark Money* by Jane Mayer Fills in the blanks for “Democracy in Chains”

Unworkable Conservatism* by Max Skidmore How current conservative ideas are not feasible under modern conditions

Our Patchwork Nation* by Dante Chinni

Who Stole the American Dream?* by Hedrick Smith

Stupidparty: Math vs. Myth by Patrick M. Andenall

The Party Is Over* by Mike Lofgren

It’s Even Worse than It Looks* by Mann and Orenstein

The Broken Branch by Mann and Orenstein

Winner Take All Politics* by Jacob S. Hacker

The Great Risk Shift by Jacob S. Hacker

Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America* by Morris P. Fiorana

Rule and Ruin by Geoffrey Kubaservice

The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank Also, What’s the Matter with Kansas, Listen, Liberal and other works by him

Unworkable Conservatism* by Max J. Skidmore

The Truth Matters* by Bruce Bartlett. In addition to this book, we recommend you connect with Bartlett on Facebook or by Googling him. He offers truly pragmatic thought on politics, taxations and economics.

Just How Stupid Are We? By Rick Shenkman The answer is pretty darn stupid. Shenkman does an excellent job of describing the decline in political party membership caused by the advent of television and the resulting deterioration of our politics.

Common Sense* by Thomas Paine I often ask audiences, why did we fight the Revolution? This book from 1776 provides a clear answer. If you’re looking to balance your tires and align your wheels politically about what the Founders intended vs. the direction we’re taking today, then this book is what you want to read.

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. Tough reading, but a balanced exposure of the flaws of contemporary politics.

The Progressive Revolution by Michael Lux

Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do: And What You Can Do about It* by Ferdinand Fourier. The people we voters elect to public office are our employees. They work for us, not the other way around. This is one of the most profound, yet the most practical book on management you will ever read. This book will provide you an understanding of why we need the Election Reforms we advocate.

Economics and Taxation

The Predator State* by James K. Galbraith An expose’ of crony capitalism, a latter day form of Feudalsim.

The Unwinding by George Packer

The Tyranny of Dead Ideas by Matt Miller

Free Lunch* by David Cay Johnston. Every time I read a book by Johnston, I feel like I am listening to my Finance teacher during my MBA studies. Other books by Johnston include Perfectly Legal, Divided, and It’s Even Worse Than You Think.

Capitalism Hits the Fan* by Richard D. Wolff

Age of Greed by Jeff Medrick Read this in combination with Who Stole the American Dream? And you’ll have a solid insight into what’s wrong with America’s economy—and what to do about it.

Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism* by Barry Lynn Amazing book. I heard Lynn speak one night and he offers enormous insights about how we’ve gotten off course since the Revolution.

Lynn writes a lot for other publications and has YouTube videos. I recommend you Google him.

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

Former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich has several books worth reading. Besides The Common Good and Beyond Outrage, we also recommend his DVD, Inequality for All*.

Or, if your reading time is limited Reich’s web site at Inequality Media offers a variety of high content educational videos.

The Meat Racket* by Christopher Leonard. How American agriculture has been allowed to drift towards a latter day form of Feudalism.

The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko. Explodes many of the myths about who millionaires are and how they got that way.

Two books by Stephen M. Pollan, Live Rich, and Die Broke, which have now been combined.

National Defense

Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

Against All Enemies by Richard A. Clark

On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War* by Harry G. Summers.

The Glory and the Dream by William Manchester* This is a thick book, but a compelling one. Manchester does an amazing job of illuminating how the lessons we thought we learned in WWII led us to a mistake in Vietnam.

Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden, the author of Blackhawk Down, which I also recommend. One of the prime figures in the book on Hue is a former Brigade Commander of mine.

Bowden has several other books that will help you understand our participation in our current conflicts. Here’s a link to some of them.

Another modern military author of note is Andrew J. Bacevich. A West Point graduate and career Army Officer, he lost his son in Iraq. He has picked up the mantle of Harry G. Summers and wears it well. Here is a link to several of his books.

This Kind of War by TR Fehrenbach This history of the Korean War was commissioned by the Association of the U.S. Army and provides a timeless perspective on the conflict, as well as the limitations of power with nuclear weapons.

Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack on Benghazi by Fred Burton. One of the unspoken aspects of this book is how many of the Libyan attackers we killed. Yeah, they got a couple of Americans, but the Funeral parlors were doing a brisk business with local folks the next day.


My American Journey by Colin Powell The biographies of Powell and General Schwarzkopf, particularly in the latter chapters, illustrate the value of prudence and thinking things through before you act. The higher the position of responsibility, the more needed is the skill.

It Doesn’t Take a Hero by Norman Schwarzkopf

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Any biography written by Jon Meacham. Here’s a couple for your consideration.

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

Plain Speaking: Harry Truman by Merle Miller