In this wide-ranging and wickedly entertaining book, New York Times bestselling journalist David Sirota takes readers on a rollicking DeLorean ride back in time to reveal how so many of our present-day conflicts are rooted in the larger-than-life pop culture of the 1980s—from the “Greed is good” ethos of Gordon Gekko (and Bernie Madoff) to the “Make my day” foreign policy of Ronald Reagan (and George W. Bush) to the “transcendence” of Cliff Huxtable (and Barack Obama).
Today’s mindless militarism and hypernarcissism, Sirota argues, first became the norm when an ’80s generation weaned on Rambo one-liners and “Just Do It” exhortations embraced a new religion—with comic books, cartoons, sneaker commercials, videogames, and even children’s toys serving as the key instruments of cultural indoctrination. Meanwhile, in productions such as Back to the Future, Family Ties, and The Big Chill, a campaign was launched to reimagine the 1950s as America’s lost golden age and vilify the 1960s as the source of all our troubles. That 1980s revisionism, Sirota shows, still rages today, with Barack Obama cast as the 60s hippie being assailed by Alex P. Keaton–esque Republicans who long for a return to Eisenhower-era conservatism.
“The past is never dead,” William Faulkner wrote. “It’s not even past.” The 1980s—even more so. With the native dexterity only a child of the Atari Age could possess, David Sirota twists and turns this multicolored Rubik’s Cube of a decade, exposing it as a warning for our own troubled present—and possible future.
From the Hardcover edition.
Insurrection Brewing Across the Country
Job outsourcing. Perpetual busy signals at government agencies. Slashed paychecks. Stolen elections. A war without end, fatally mismanaged. Ordinary Americans on both the Right and Left are tired of being disenfranchised by corrupt politicians of both parties and are organizing to change the status quo. In his invigorating new book, David Sirota investigates whether this uprising can be transformed into a unified, lasting political movement.
Throughout the course of American history, uprisings like the one we are seeing now have given birth to powerful movements to end wars, protect workers, and expand civil rights, so the prospect of today’s uprising turning into a full-fledged populist movement terrifies Wall Street and Washington. In The Uprising, Sirota takes us far from the national media spotlight into the trenches where real change is happening—from the headquarters of the most powerful third party in America to the bowels of the U.S. Senate; from the auditorium of an ExxonMobil shareholder meeting to the quasi-military staging area of a vigilante force on the Mexican border. This is vital, on-the-ground reporting that immerses us in the tumultuous give-and-take of politics at its most personal.
Sirota also offers a biting critique of our politics. He shows how the uprising is, at its core, a reaction to faux “bipartisanship” in the nation’s capital—the “bipartisanship” whereby Republican and Democratic lawmakers join together in putting the agenda of corporate interests above all those of ordinary citizens.
Ultimately, Sirota reminds us that the Declaration of Independence, “America’s original uprising manifesto,” says that governments “derive their powers from the consent of the governed.” Irreverent and insightful, The Uprising shows how the governed have stopped consenting and have started taking action.
From the Hardcover edition.
Do you ever wonder what corporations get for the millions of dollars they pour into the American political system?
Do you ever think the government has been hijacked by forces hostile to average Americans?
Do you ever want to fight back?
Millions of Americans lack health care and millions more struggle to afford it. Politicians claim they care, then pass legislation that just sends more cash to the HMOs. Wages have been stagnant for thirty years, even as corporate profits skyrocket. Politicians say they want to fix the problem and then pass bills written by lobbyists that drive wages even lower and punish those crushed by debt. Jobs are being shipped overseas, pensions are being cut, and energy is becoming unaffordable. And our government, more concerned about maintaining its corporate sponsorship than protecting its citizens, does nothing about it.
In Hostile Takeover, David Sirota, a major new voice in American politics, seeks to open the eyes of ordinary Americans to the fact that corporate interests have undermined democracy, aided and abetted by their lackeys in our allegedly representative government. At a time when more and more of America’s major political leaders are being indicted or investigated for corruption, Sirota takes readers on a journey that shows how all of this nefarious behavior happened right under our noses—and how the high-profile scandals are merely one product of a political system and debate wholly owned by Big Money interests. Sirota considers major public issues that feel intractable—like spiraling health care costs, the outsourcing of jobs, the inequities of the tax code, and out-of-control energy prices—and shows how in each case workable solutions are buried under the lies of lobbyists, the influence of campaign cash, and the ubiquitous spin machine financed by Big Business.
With fiery passion, pinpoint wit, and lucid analysis, Hostile Takeover reveals the true enemies of reform and their increasingly sophisticated—and hostile—tactics. It’s an essential guidebook for those of us tired of the government selling us out—and determined to take our country back.
Also available as an eBook
From the Hardcover edition.
Drawing on research with 13,000,000+ employees in 840+ companies, The Enthusiastic Employee, Second Edition tells you what managers (from first-line supervisor to senior leadership) do wrong. Then it tells you something much more important: what to do instead. David Sirota and Douglas Klein detail exactly how to create an environment where enthusiasm flourishes and businesses excel. Extensively updated with new research, case studies, and techniques (they have added over 8.6 million employees and over 400 companies to their analyses ), it now contains a detailed study of Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s most effective healthcare organizations and a true representation of the principle of partnership, as well as more in-depth descriptions of private sector exemplars of partnership, such as Costco.
17 Rules Successful Companies Use to Attract and Keep Top Talent: Why Engaged Employees Are Your Greatest Sustainable Advantage, first edition, ¿is about building an outstanding workforce, one that sets your company apart from competitors and is a true competitive advantage. It's about building a workforce that's truly engaged, committed, aligned with strategy, and capable of incredible performance. Simply put, it's about optimizing the #1 factor associated with outsmarting, outhustling, and out-executing your competition: your people. Through more than a dozen case studies, top workforce optimization consultant David Russo identifies exactly what great organizations do differently when it comes to managing their people. He distills these differences into 17 rules, covering everything from resourcing and compensation to leadership development, risk-taking to change management. You'll learn exactly how to apply these rules in your organization, whether you're large or small, high-tech or low-tech, profit-making or non-profit. Using Russo's techniques, companies can build genuine esprit de corps, virtually guaranteeing that the efforts, minds, and hearts of their employees are focused on the corporate mission, and challenged with producing outstanding results and competitive advantage. What's more, this book's techniques help companies attract and retain the kinds of talent best suited to their unique work environments, promoting long-term success, not just short-term "quick fixes."