The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Glenn Beck’s Idiots – by David Forsmark

beck

Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government
By Glenn Beck
Threshold, $29.99, 325pp.

When I received a review copy of the new book by over-emoting radio-TV talker Glenn Beck, I sighed and put it to the side. What put me off were the book’s title, Arguing with Idiots, and the cover photo showing Beck dressed as a commissar, making a funny face.

Since it’s axiomatic that arguing with idiots is a waste of time, I thought one might as well have published a book called Exercise in Futility for Dummies or The Idiot’s Guide to Banging Your Head Against the Wall– neither prospect appeals to me all that much.  Besides, in the decade and a half since Rush Limbaugh sold millions of copies of his commentaries on issues of the day, enough talk show hosts have published books that reading them all would consume about 90% of my book reviewing time, and very few have proven to be worth the effort.

But with all the heat generated by Beck in the last couple of months — and the fact that I’ve defended him a few times from the likes of Keith Olbermann over at Newsrealblog.com — my curiosity got the better of me.  What I found was very surprising — and worth my time.

So here’s my rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly of Glenn Beck’s new book:

The Good:

The book itself. It’s not just good — much of it is really, really good.  Shockingly good. It reminded me of the kind of bestsellers that came out in the early 1980s, when free-market thinking made its big comeback, aided by libertarian Robert Ringer’s Restoring the American Dream on the pop-thinking level, and George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty for the more philosophical reader.

But what much of the content of Arguing really reminds me of — and don’t throw things at me — is the late, great Milton and Rose Friedman’s classic of capitalism, Free to Choose.  Now, before anyone has a stroke or writes my editor in shock and disdain, I’m not saying Arguing with Idiots is in the league with the book that is one of the five most influential of my life.

However, I do think this book would have made Milton Friedman smile with approval.  About two-thirds of Arguing with Idiots updates the topics covered in Free to Choose. In fact, one could almost see chapter headings (if the arguing with idiots motif had not been adopted) similar to the titles “Who Protects the Consumer?” or “Who Protects the Worker?” from Friedman’s classic. Arguing could have had a chapter called “Who Protects the Patient?” Instead, Beck chose to give the chapter a rather prosaic name, “Universal Health Care.”

That said, “Universal Health Care” is one of the book’s most valuable chapters.  Unlike some other segments, such as the one about the Second Amendment, Beck (and his team of writers and illustrators) does more than (very effectively) restate familiar arguments, Beck offers witty asides and on-point illustrations (both literally and figuratively) while presenting a wealth of material that will be new to even well-informed readers and veterans of the political commentary wars.  Particularly terrific is a section on how innovative companies are meeting the demand for low-cost insurance and changing the paradigm on how health care is delivered. This is something the current debate is sorely lacking from free-market advocates, who too often are merely opponents of socialized medicine.

Back when the Friedmans wrote Free to Choose, private sector unions were still the major force in Democrat politics, with growing backup from the teachers unions. Industrial unions are greatly diminished now, and Beck takes on the even more insidious nature of public employees unions — particularly the Service Employees International Union and its ties to ACORN and President Obama.

Teachers unions also take a big hit, as they did with Friedman, with Beck arguing for freedom in the education system. His flow chart on how to fire a tenured teacher in New York City is priceless.

Like most libertarian-leaning writers, Beck is best at economic issues, really good at arguing for the Second Amendment and other constitutional issues and weaker on social issues and history.

However, as entertaining and informative as Beck’s teacher tenure flow chart is “Presidential Smackdown,” an NCAA bracket-type seeding chart for ranking the nation’s presidents.  It’s a lot more fun than the usual kind of list put out by historians and apt to promote a much more detailed discussion than a mere one through 44  list.

Most people will argue that No. 7 seed William H. Taft’s defeat of John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeds No. 2 and 1, respectively, is far too upset-minded (Beck states correctly that the 16th Amendment passed under Wilson who he correctly eviscerates, but it was Taft who championed the Amendment and it passed shortly after he left office.)  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln certainly should have appeared in different brackets so they could finish first and second — but, hey, this only shows why the bracket method is both more fun and focused, and having Jefferson make the finals is in keeping with Beck’s personal philosophy.

Since I can’t reprint any of the pages with its illustrations and fun asides, here’s an example of the wit and wisdom that permeates Arguing. As he wraps up a terrific chapter on energy and the free market, Beck examines the law of unintended consequences as it related to government regulation in general and energy policy in specific:

“Remember those incredibly ugly station wagons with wood paneling on their sides? Most people believed they went away because they were incredibly ugly and had wood paneling on their sides.  But actually CAFE (fuel economy) standards killed them off. (Okay CAFE and the fact that they were unbelievably ugly with wood paneling on the sides.) The station wagons weren’t fuel-efficient enough to hit the new standards and car companies had little choice but to make them extinct (which probably would’ve happened anyway because they had, well, incredibly ugly wood paneling on the sides).

“But people still had families. They still had to go to the store and pick up furniture or groceries. They still needed a way to carry around half of the Little League team and   all of    its equipment. So automakers shifted their focus and work toward creating a vehicle to meet this demand in the ‘light truck’ category with a less restrictive efficiency standard. What was their most successful solution?

“The ‘sport utility vehicle.’

“Anyone who says that environmentalists have never brought us anything good isn’t being fair, because we can all thank the green movement for the creation of the SUV.”

The Bad:

Not all of the humor works, but that’s to be expected.  The strange Mt. Rushmore illustration at the beginning of one of the strongest chapters — health care — is unfortunate if it diverts anyone from this terrific section.

My only significant problem with the book is the marketing premise. The title, Arguing with Idiots, is needlessly confrontational because this book is aimed at real people, not fanatical leftist opinion leaders. In his introduction, Beck says his book provides a method for, among other things, readers to shut up their liberal relatives so they can get on with a quiet holiday.

Yeah,  I know: Ann Coulter had a book, How to Talk to a Liberal, if You Really Must, but does anyone think it ranks with her best, such as Traitor and Godless?  And a friend informs me that Arguing with Idiots was a popular and funny segment on Beck’s radio show during the election season.  But that’s inside baseball, and never mentioned in the book.

But the substance of Arguing consists of very convincing arguments, not merely one-liners to shut people up, so the title and the premise don’t really reflect the high value of the content itself. A title that conveyed the good-natured and very smart appeal of this book would have been preferable. (Just don’t ask me to come up with such a title.)

Which naturally brings us to…

The Ugly:

The cover.

Look, I get it. It’s a joke, Glenn the Book Czar. Ha, Ha.  And it’s not even the goofiest costume Beck has donned since his live Fox News TV gig took off early this year.

But with the word “fascist” floating around all over the place again, and Jonah Goldberg finally getting the term aimed in the correct direction, who the heck thought this was a good idea?

First, it’s not a cover that will attract the unconvinced. For every one person who buys the book, a hundred browsers are apt to walk by, wrinkle their nose and associate Beck and his fans with the confrontational-looking martinet on the cover.

But, you may well argue, how can you criticize the promotion strategy for the No.1 bestseller in the nation?  Easy.  Beck’s audience is large and loyal, which is enough to get this book to the top of the list.

But the material is good enough to convince doubters and presented entertainingly enough for the fan club to give and recommend to the uninitiated.  That outreach is not made easier by the notion that giving the book to someone who doesn’t yet agree with you is in effect calling them an idiot.

This is a book filled with persuasive arguments that lots of people who argue about such things for a living have never heard. And they need to.

  • erp617

    I must disagree with this statement in your generally informative article, My only significant problem with the book is the marketing premise. The title, Arguing with Idiots, is needlessly confrontational because this book is aimed at real people, not fanatical leftist opinion leaders.

    There can be no reasoned discourse with lefties, whether they're opinion leaders, local school teachers, teeny boppers singing Kumbaya, or regular folk getting their information from the msm. To them, feelings trump facts, so perhaps the only way to get through to them if the kind three-ring-circus communication Beck provides.

    Whatever works! I wish him continued success.

    • sff

      "arguing with idiots" is a reference to a skit in his radio show (which although arguably confrontational) is designed to be more comical and entertaining then serious. I haven't read his book but I'm surprised that the reviewer dislikes the jacket the most because although I doubt I'd have too much fun with a glenn beck book I thought the cover was funny and in good taste (the reviews more so than the picture).

  • davidforsmark

    Well, this site is founded by two guys who were a lot deeper into Leftism than any of the people you're talking about…

    We can agree to disagree here, it's an argument about style, not substance. But watching people in the bookstore see it, wrinkle their nose, and have the book cover seem to confirm their preconceived notion strikes me as unnecessary.

    Now, I LOVED carrying around Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism with it's 60s smiley face with the Hitler mustache. That style point had substance– and was fun.

  • fiftyfifty

    STOP HEALTH CARE and CAP & TRADE Obama's done

    Look I like Glenn Beck he needs to come up for air his comment on John McCain was just stupid Beck should do some apologizing. even if McCain is a progressive he isn't the type of person to push his believes on other people.I think Glenn needs to unprogram himself from the progressive movement. he did a good job on Van Jones just moved over to John Podesta side of the tree. Obama doesn't care about Acorn
    and there dirty little face's they don't matter. The real game and place to steer the money Ameri/Corp where the little face's are clean.

    President Obama \\ Executive branch //// The dismissal of federal Inspector General Gerald Walpin for the first lady Michelle Obamas personnel agenda to control Ameri/corp from the east wing.
    Mr. President you and your nine finger enforcer Rahm Emanuel and your race card master David Axlerod and Valiere Jarrette your Attorney General Eric Holder are the biggest cowards and shamelessly.

    The plan was advancing well until the first week of January 2009, when Browner, not yet a government official, tried to kill the effort, telling the two parties that the Obama administration would not support any coal technology development. Undermining and attempting to subvert senior officers is part of Browner's character.
    Driving the push for this massive power grab and circumvention of the elected branches is a key White House official who avoided Senate confirmation by being installed not as EPA director, but instead as White House Climate Czar: Carol Browner.is a Socialist. worked with Citizen Action was founded by Heather Booth,==== dirt with smile ?????'s
    Browner was Legislative Director for Senator Al Gore from 1988 to 1991, and became a Gore protege She helped Gore rig a smear against Ron Arnold and others in an ABC News Nightline show, but it backfired when Ted Koppel revealed his source as Al Gore on the air and reworked the report in a fair and balanced manner, enraging Gore and Browner”

    Those votes in state senate he told people i'm with you and then voted 136 times present on bills of law that could have maybe saved these kids lifes in the streets of Chicago…..

    The Obama doctrine beleave the razzle-dazzle
    Obama White House motto is do not judge anyone just blame them

  • VinceP1974

    Thanks for your review. though I have to quibble with your harping on how it might appear to those not convinced.

    Do you thikn anything coming from Glenn Beck.. or anyone.. is going to convince a Lefty they're wrong? Hardly

    It's just like Ann Coulter. When she raised the issue of the Democrats using political human shields the only reason why the press decided to give her a platform to state her argument is because she used the 9/11 surviors as the example the use… provoke howls of protest by the Left.

    Seems to me that the Left is all about style over substance… I sugget we care not about appealing to their style.

    But like I said, Im quibbling.. I over-all enjoyed your review.

  • davidforsmark

    Hey, I still get hate mail on occasion because I favorably reviewed a couple of Ann Coulter books 5 or 7 years ago in my mainstream newspaper days! (and for reviewing Horowitz's Hating Whitey) But Ann's were whithering critiques, and Glenn's book is largely something else entirely. It's a full throated advocacy FOR the free market, freedom and American ideals, and I think the convincables would have been more likely to buy it. NOT liberal activists, but that not very partisan person who is trying to figure out which of the heated political rhetorical poles he identifies with– and there are still a lot of those people.

    And if you've read much of my writing, you know confrontation and pointed rhetoric are not a problem for me…
    Cheers,
    Dave

  • ElizabethMartin

    I would like to personally thank you David for being fair and honest. You have now gained a fan. I have been looking for a book critic that is fair and balanced and judges honestly and without bias.

    Thank you again and I am looking forward to your next book review. And unlike most of the people you may get a comment from here, I am using my REAL name and not hiding behind some made up one.

    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Martin

  • jhimmi

    I tend to agree with the marketing criticism; maybe the book should have been published with two different covers and titles. The thinking may have been to stoke anger on the left, forcing lefties to buy the book in order to refute the refutations, and pumping up sales.I think some more accurate, effective, and possibly equally sensational, book covers and marketing strategies could have been devised.

    I think people who are 'in the middle', or apolitical, get tired of the name calling and personal attacks, and it turns them off. Which side makes more sense, Progressivism or Libertarianism? Dependence or self-reliance? Couch it as a battle of ideas; common sense and life experiences generally work against progressives.

  • http://www.clearlydeparted.com/ Clearly Departed

    I couldn't agree more with the “ugly” premise. If the book is bought up by legions of Beck fans who already agree with him, well that's great, but wouldn't it be a greater event if the book were bought by those who disagree, or who are generally uninformed, and then aided them to change their minds? Perhaps a second edition is in order that markets the same material towards those who would never pick up the book as it now stands, the kind of book you could give your liberal friend without feeling as though you're calling them an idiot as you hand it to them.

  • Carterthewriter

    You are right on target regarding this manual, which I will call it, for that is what is should be for all of us that want this country to return to its core values.

  • davidforsmark

    Thanks, Elizabeth! Most of what I've written for anyone in the last 10-12 years, anyway, can be found at Davidforsmark.com
    Cheers,
    Dave

  • Name

    Thank you for the thoughtful and fair analysis when so many are quick to toss this book in the trash. He is theatrical, but his views are sobering and almost always backed up with ample evidence…which makes it all even more sobering.

  • Dr Duncan Druhl

    What people in the US are not often able to fathom is that in the majority of cases, they are dealing with a one-party system, where (my premise) Democrats and Republicans are all Corporatists, evolved, so to speak, Mercantilists. Rarely is there anyone in mainstream politics who actually believes in the People, thus the remark about McCain, I suspect, that I would certainly defend.

  • Ric Darrell

    I absolutely agree with you on this point David. Glenn has missed an opportunity to reach a large number of people out there who could be persuaded by this book to reevaluate their positions on many issues. Just as Rush Limbaugh has been unfairly painted as some “out there” right wing blowhard, Glenn is positioned the same way. I personally didn't “get it” until I actually “listened” to an entire program for a full week by both of those radio personalities. A friend of mine challenged me to get over my preconceived notions about them by doing that, and he was right!!

  • cindyhaller

    Great review David, thanks. I am planning to buy this book for my husband. I also do not like the title.
    The humor of Beck and his staff is to be admired. I'm sure the information provided within the book will be good.
    We have a few of his other books and our teenage daughter has actually been the one with the most time and interest to read them thoroughly.
    I hope the Beck staff reads this and does re-package it to attract the moderate and apolitical crowd. I myself am an independent, reg. NPA, and like to know all the sides of an issue.

  • popinator

    Very good and objective review.

  • Larry Hall

    I totally agree with the cover picture. What a shame that this picture will cause people to avoid buying and reading this book – certainly in public if they are on the fence about the issues of the day.

    I plan on buying the book because the content is more worth it to me, but I would hav already bought the book had the cover been different. It puts you off.

  • strakill

    Thank you for doing this review. I think you were very fair and gave this highly informative book its just do.

  • alan413

    Great review David, I love the honesty, although I must say I found the Book Czar pretty funny. I think its great that he doesn't take himself too seriously. Something I liked about the book is that he put all the negative things people said about him. It says a lot about him.

  • philipG

    Great book from what I've read so far. As Glenn often states, he's riddled with ADD and some of the graphics lean that way, but that's a good thing as it's fun to page through.

    I'm a 9.12'er and if you'd like to see my 9.12 Project I'd appreciate your time.
    Please visit: http://www.wtpba.org

  • Tammy

    My only complaint about the article is actually the comments, I wish people would stick to the actual subject matter of the article, not the issues behind it.

    I also happen to agree with you on the cover. First time I saw it I found myself wondering “What the heck were they thinking?”

  • prayerwarriorpatriot

    The cover is as”cute as a button”.Glenn sells TRUTH. I will buy every one of his books, with or with out a cover. It was a more interesting cover than his other #1 seller before it…….
    Keep doing the Lords' work Glenn. You're a great WATCHMAN and the Lord is your rear~guard. Amen.

  • ElizabethMartin

    Added to favorites :)

    Oh and I posted your review on my FB and it looks like a lot more agree. Thanks again.

    Elizabeth

  • http://google.com/ A Conservative Teenager

    I must say, in defense of Glenn, while it would be nice if he made the book something the left would read, two things come to mind. One, wouldn't the name Glenn Beck just scare people off of the book, regardless of what he used as a marketing ploy? Two, isn't the book designed for conservatives to read and use as a base reference (with it's huge bibliography and well articulated points) in THEIR arguments against idiots? Just wondering.

  • kb2504

    The cover is irrelevant. The book will never be purchased by any left leaning individual simply because of the author's name. Glenn Beck.
    The only way to get a lefty to seriously read his book is to publish it under a pseudonym.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jackie-Jolley-Lowery/1560303697 Jackie Jolley-Lowery

    This is a very objective review! Take a look…..

  • alynette

    Glen Becks' type of meaning…. Do people really judge a person by his cover? outer appearince? or do they look beyond…. # 1 seller should tell all that “most” americans might not like what they see on the out side, but we are willing to look thru the pages to find out… The rest; lost out on a good “read”…

  • aimee_simmons

    wonderful. very effective review.
    Thank you for taking the time to give it your attention and thinking enough of it to share with us.

  • jimmyrick

    What? A fair assessment and review of a Glenn Beck book? I nearly fell out of my chair!! You may lose your critic's license!

    Now, I do agree with you that the title may be somewhat off-putting and, accordingly, not conducive to converting those whose politics dwell in that zone “where the buses don't run” (as Britt Hume has said). However, the purpose of the book is not to proselytize, but to provide an arsenal should you be forced to engage an enemy notorious for its distaste of reason, facts and logic.

    My on-line dictionary defines “idiot” as “an utterly foolish or senseless person” and while extreme, the definition is all to many times accurate. But given the premise that any individual capable of forming an argument – no matter how flawed – might just possess the capacity for rational thought gives rise to the hope that redemption might be within reach and those incoherent liberal tendencies might possibly be shepherded towards enlightenment!

    This is the premise upon which this book is based; that perhaps there is hope for the hopeless.

  • owlish

    Thank you, Mr. Forsmark, for the review. I absolutely agree that while the title and the cover will sell the book to Beck-lovers, it will probably alienate the rest of its target audience–everyone but the left, that is. If I hadn't looked inside it I'd never have known how valuable it is. And I wouldn't have done that much (being a non-
    TV person), except that, through the Net, I'm aware of his work on ACORN and Van Jones…and the attempt to blackmail Fox into dumping him for his excellent work on those two excrescences.

    This is really reminiscent of Robert Ringer's horribly mis-named /*Winning through Intimidation*/, which Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod would probably have snapped up based on its title alone, assuming they didn't leaf through the book first. Recently I happened across a paragraph or two that Mr. Ringer wrote about the difference between what he thought his title meant and what practically everybody else took it to mean, and having read his explanation I wish I hadn't been so disgusted by the title that I felt like washing my eyes for having merely seen it. I'd have become a fan, I'm sure.

    So I too hope that the publishers bring out a new edition with a better title and a cover that doesn't literally make me sick at my stomach. Not because the lefties are put off–they're (almost all) impervious to reason, facts, and history anyway–but because most people really are not hard-leftists, and it's the sensible people whom we need to reach. Thanks to Mr. Beck for the compendium of fundamental facts and quick and intelligible arguments, and to Mr. Forsmark for the very helpful review.

  • davidforsmark

    Well, apparently Glenn and crew weren't too offended by my style criticism, and took it in the spirit in which it was intended and in good humor:

    http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/artic

  • davidforsmark

    While I appreciate everyone who agrees with me about the cover, etc, it would be a pretty bad idea for them to put out an alternative cover. It was a mis-step, in my opinion, but not so offensive that they should back down to THAT extent. It would be probably giving too much ground to their critics. Besides, I meant some of that criticism to be humorous, and some of it to identify with those who might have had that reaction and tell them that someone else who thought the same thing really liked the book.

  • davidforsmark

    Thanks. Hope you can find a FEW good books you haven't read yet!

  • owlish

    Mr. Forsmark,

    I understand your point about republication, but bringing out a second printing with a different cover really isn't all that unusual, I think.  And a lot of books are brought out with different covers in the initial offering, because publishers know that what greatly appeals to one may lose another altogether.  In fact, I think it could be done in quite a humorous and attention-getting way that would really poke fun at the humor-LESS lefties–a split cover, with the right half carrying the original photo, and the left half with a black-and-white of a Gladys Kravitz-type shrilling indignantly at Mr. Beck.

    And I still think that a good many sensible and good-hearted people really are turned off by those who holler at people and try to “win through intimidation” or by cudgeling and deriding the opposition. 

    But it was an excellent review, and thank you for it once again…and for your reply to my comment as well!

    L'chaim,
    Julie Krauss

  • Mike Boileau

    I can't believe Glenn Beck puts up with the outright hatered and vitriol that pukes from the mouths of people like Joy Behar, and her ilk.

  • N4574

    The REAL reason for the cover, in my opinion, is to draw attention to the fact that those on the Left are trying to destroy Liberty and force Socialism down our throats. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Which is the Way of Socialism/Communism/Marxism, whatever you want to call it. The Party Elite live like kings while the People wait in line for bread and toilet paper. Some of us remember these things and don't want them in the U.S.A.

    He has a bit on his radio show (which I don't get to listen to anymore since my local station dropped his show) called America's March to Socialism which is hilarious and scary. Some of us are Beck fans because he's the only one speaking the Truth. Sometimes it takes shocking people to wake them up. The cover is shocking, especially with the backwards R. This reminds some of us of Communist Russia, due to its Cyrillic resemblance.

    Glenn doesn't do anything without thinking it through first. That is my experience, anyway. There is a reason he does things. It's just up to you to figure out what that reason may be. He doesn't lie about everything like that Keith guy. No. Glenn tells it like it really is and if that upsets you… GOOD! Do something about it.

    I really like the cover. When I saw it I laughed and decided right there to get it. Of course the marketing is directed at his fans! See, the whole point of Beck's shows is to get The People, You and Me, out there to spread the word of what's going on. That is the only way to stop it. Glenn knows this.

    I'm about a third of the way through “Arguing With Idiots” and I'm finding it more informative and page-turning than “An Inconvenient Book,” which I have not finished. The only thing I would change is to reduce the number of asides. I get distracted by them. A.D.D. Moments, indeed!

    I do think your review is fair. Thank you for your honesty. Honesty is becoming a rare commodity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mporenta Mike Porenta

    Great book, very easy read. It is filled with some of the best common sense arguments I have ever come across. If liberals are changed by what they read at least they can know what the true conservative argument is for each topic rather than just believe the lies they have learned in college; that all white people hate minorities and would die before giving their money to the poor.

  • owen

    about half way through i have already learned a lot

  • owen

    about half way through i have already learned a lot

  • proudofamerica

    I think you definitely got the spirit of the book in your review. You were fair, grounded your comments with facts, and understand some of the challenges that Glenn and his “fans” face. Thank you for offering a “fair and balanced” review.

    Also, as for N4574 who couldn't listen to Glenn's radio program anymore because his local station stopped carrying it, he should go to Beck's website and find out what radio stations are carrying it, then go to http://www.iheartradio.com (eye-heart-radio) which offers web-casts of over 350 radio stations. I often use that site to listen to the radio while I'm working on the computer and it's been wonderful.

    Again, great job! and I wish you continued success (and wisdom)! :-)

  • Rweger

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

    People who are open minded, curious for truth and without an agenda, will enjoy Mr. Beck's book and since they are still in the majority #1 status is assured.

  • richnorris

    I have been a designer for 40 years. I've worked for fortune 500 companies throughout my career, I always designed outside of the BOX. I tip my hat to all of the creative folks that put this master piece together. The content is right on the money. If they had this book back when I was in school I would have stayed awake. Oh yea, the numbers are with the RIGHT, let the LEFT play catch-up like they always do. Great job Glenn. Thanks for being silly. Most of the media live in straight jackets. PS. Loose the suits. That's the only thing that doesn't work on your show. Keep On, Keeping On! God Bless America.

  • ashjones

    Atta Boy Glen. keep up the good work! Show BO the ropes, he's not a real true American – we feel that in our gut.

  • joshbooker

    Great Review! Glenn has said on the radio that he wanted to call the book something like 'America's March to Socialism' but publisher over a year ago said no one is thinking of socialism that wont sell. Glenn said Oh they will be!

    As for the cover, I think Glenn's 'March' title would tie in the outfit and besides…you know what they say about how not to judge a book!

    Still great review Mr. Forsmark

  • Congress Works For Us

    I understand why you are saying what you are saying, but I think you've missed the point of the book.

    The book is not meant to convince Liberals of the error of their ways. Liberals simply wont be convinced by Glenn Beck. Even the commentator that stated he was convinced after listening to a week of Beck and Limbaugh, was convinced only because a FRIEND convinced him to listen to their shows.

    The book is meant for people like me, who are surrounded by doubters, and who need real facts to back up our arguments.

    The one thing I think the review missed is the footnotes. Everything Beck says in the book is backed up by quotes from sources that Liberals are likely to accept (such as the NYT), and there are pages and pages of these.

    So when I tell my mother-in-law why she's wrong, and she says “Oh, where did you hear that, Fox News?” I can reply, “No, actually it was in the New York Times.” Priceless!

  • ddturnerjr

    Although the marketing tactics were all but graceful, I will respecfully disagree with your critique of Beck's marketing strategy. I believe Beck is “right on daddy'o”, in that he is succeeding at what he makes clear his goal: to arm the American people with the truth, even if doing so indirectly.

    Don't get me wrong, any fringe liberal converted by this book would be an excellent bonus, I just don't think that Beck invisioned it to happen that way. I believe this book was intended to be in the hands of the people that already feel in their gut that something just isn't right with what is going on today, and want to set clear in their mind what they already know to be true.

    These factually based arguments provided by Arguing With Idiots will allow the readers to influence the ideas and opinions of millions of Americans, even if they are only fractionally successful. In this way, Beck has directly and indirectly had a HUGE and positive effect on the course of our history and every single American

    I think that his marketing strategy was a strategic, in your face, highly specific, and to one single market: To the American people that are committed to uphold our God-given rights that have made us the greatest nation on Earth, Freedom & Liberty. And everyone else, “Find the truth, they will. Hmmm? Yes?”

  • Dr Duncan Druhl

    Spot on. In responding to media hysteria, as the frothing-at-the-mouth commentators have been doing recently, one has to similarly respond to THE DOGMA with facts. Only data will get the attention, however short it may be, of those who daily worship THE DOGMA.

    It really isn't all that different from the task in front of people prior to the Enlightenment, you know. Brushing away the superstition and illusions surrounding THE DOGMA takes facts, and for that we can be thankful to Beck's research.

    Similarly, “Liberal Fascism” is equally useful in a parallel battle as it, too, is well researched and speaks to the same audience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1080232452 facebook-1080232452

    “Arguing with Idiots”…. definitely worth dropping a twenty! It's a great book with creative layouts… funny, but fanatically factual and proves how progressive thinkers are not exactly the altruistic, superior intellectuals, they try to portray themselves to be.

  • frankadefeo

    very interesting

  • Fern Fitzgerald

    At last a book where I can back up my comments to others with facts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=758119692 facebook-758119692

    Just ran across this interesting and brief review. I hope you will at least check out the review.

  • KIMINARKANSAS1

    GLEN YOU ARE THE BEST …WE ARE WITH YOU 100% , NO 110%…….. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY KIM IN HOT SPRINGS , ARKANSAS

  • Terri

    I <3 this book!! The layout is perfect to move around in it when using it for reference. Plus I love that Glenn included exactly where he got his information from so we don't have to quote him – haha. Glenn is the master of the fusion of entertainment and enlightment!

  • Otis

    The book was fantastic- matter of fact, it attracted a different audience than mentioned. My friends and I waited for that until it came out, screaming 'yeah!!!' when we got it.
    I love the fact that it's fun and in depth, for what better way to entertain a 15 year old teenager?
    We get so tired of every one reacting with regurgatated one-liners and emotions, and we knew in our guts (even if our parents thought not) that something wasn't right. This book helped us with facts, and provided us with the means to react calmly and civily, and many of the times we got yelled at any ways.
    Was worth it though.

  • joven123

    Arguing with idiots should be required reading in highschools. (Like that is ever going to happen!). I was a fence sitter until I read this book. I am still not convinced that we need some oversight on businesses (Enron anyone?) but beck has convinced me that we have taken our oversight way past any sane limit. What drives me insane is the people who most need to read this book will not. How can you call yourself anything but an idiot if you refuse to ever even consider the other side of any argument?

  • trodaball

    When the book first appeared I too was bothered by the cover. It looked more parady or comic-based. I wanted it to be read by a wide-cross section of people who are curious at all the Beck popularity, as well as those interested in how a large portion of America thinks. i.e. I wanted it to be taken seriously by as many as possible. I love the book and still hate the cover.

  • EvilConservitive 1

    God Bless Glenn Beck for telling the truth about the sad state of our once-noble goverment. (Well, as noble as a goverment can be anyway.) I am young and a recent convert to Beck's thinking, however I am old enough to know that I am a bitter middle class American clinging to my guns and religon, and that I need to learn how to defend my rights and the rights of my friends and family from the vast leftist conspiracy to steal our freedom. Once more, GOD BLESS YOU GLENN BECK!

  • Walt

    Your quibbling about the title of the book is rather silly. Do you think the “Dummies” and “Idiots” series really caused those “how to” books to fail? In a marketplace flooded with titles, one really has to stand out in order to avoid winding up in the remainder section at a bookstore. You really do need to “man up” if such a book title makes you so queasy.

  • johnrmccommas

    I bought the book and I am going to read it! Doesn't that make you mad??!!!

    – That is of course AFTER I finish Sarah's book.