To be honest it took me a while to get into this book. I found the early stages a bit of a slog and feared that this was where Brand and I would part ways. It seemed a shame as I’ve long been a fan and find him an interesting, funny and clever person.
The first couple of chapters, laying the groundwork for his awakening to the need for change and the fact fame wasn’t the answer he’d searched for, are interesting enough but, for me, lacked Brand’s trademark energy, that swirling, surreal drama he brings to things, mixing the philosophical and the more base aspects of humanity.
Luckily, he began finding his feet soon enough, perhaps realising that despite his serious subject matter he could still allow little flights of whimsy and let his personality show. Once this begins happening with increasing frequency the book really takes off.
Brand writes about the revolution he wants, the great change he feels needs to come to change the flawed, corrupt world we live in now. Throughout he discusses different theories and approaches for a better world, boiling them down into his own theory and hope- a peaceful awakening that sees the public take control of their future. An end of corporations and greed, and the installation of a new system of small, self contained communities governed by true democracy, where leaders work in service of the community not in the interests of themselves or companies.
It’s rabble rousing and you’d have to be very entrenched in the current system not to see that Brand has some good points, especially as he highlights the massive gulf of inequality which exists in our world and the unfairness of our system. The arguments he sets forth are researched, thoughtful and all stem from a basic love and respect for humanity and its potential.
Sure, when he talks about meditation or his belief in God he may lose some, but it’s never too in your face or “this is how it should be”, more a case of “this works for me, it might work for you and it might make the world a better place” (avoided going all Jacko there). And for many Brand himself will be enough for them to disregard his opinions or theories, which is a shame as their bases on basic principles that most of us share (a belief in fairness, compassion and a desire for unity).
I found myself warming to the book and many of the ideas that he puts forward. Only a fool would argue that our current system works, and a greater fool would be needed to push the angle that we can’t do better. We can, we have to.
Does Brand have all the answers? Is the revolution just around the corner? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for change and start taking steps to put into action the changes we want to see.
His writing, as he gains confidence, is insightful and full of humour, never getting too bogged down. It’s fuelled by optimism and love for his fellow man.
But Brand is no fool and has done his homework, he acknowledges that previous revolutions have failed, with those who have seized power being corrupted and that this one must be different, and that he is not putting himself up as our new leader. In fact he seems to know that coming from him some of these ideas will be rejected outright, acknowledging his flaws and mistakes with openness, and discussing that trying to live a better life is a daily struggle. That his ego, selfishness and sense of individuality can be hindrances to be a better person.
I’m going to end on a quote from the book, which I feel shows Brand’s intelligence and why he shouldn’t be written off. It makes a good point too.
Verdict: After a slow start I really got caught up in this book, it’s hard not to feel Brand’s passion which courses through the book or to argue against his basic ideas. Not everyone will be a fan, or agree with everything he says, but it’s hard to deny that Brand has poured his soul into these pages, filling them with humour, hope and love. Viva la revolution! 8/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.