The Premise: (from NetGalley) Naomi Klein – award-winning journalist, bestselling author of No Logo, The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything, scourge of brand bullies and corporate liars – gives us the toolkit we need to survive our surreal, shocking age.
Remember when love was supposed to Trump hate? Remember when the oil companies and bankers seemed to be running scared? What the hell happened? And what can we do about it? Naomi Klein shows us how we got here, and how we can make things better.
Thoughts: a good sign of how much I engaged with this book is that I highlighted about 7 million passages while reading. Reading it, I realised I was nodding violently approximately every 3 pages. This is quite an embarrassing habit, actually, and one which I hadn’t planned on developing until I was at least 80.
Klein gets into some deep topics, from the roots of Trump’s populist success, to the shady backgrounds of the man himself and his equally dubious Cabinet; the section on how members of Trump’s inner circle manipulated and benefited from the effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, for example, makes for quite chilling reading.
There are some truly awful details here about Trump and his buddies, like his gloating soon after 9/11 about his tower now being the tallest in New York, while both Mike Pence and Rex Tillerson are skewered for their profiteering and general lack of humanity. One particularly galling piece of information mentioned by Klein is that Tillerson’s retirement package from ExxonMobil runs to $180million. So that will make him nice and unbiased about oil then.
In an age of ever-widening income inequality, a significant cohort of our elites are walling themselves off not just physically but also psychologically, mentally detaching themselves from the collective fate of the rest of humanity. This secessionism from the human species (if only in their minds) liberates them not only to shrug off the urgent need or climate action but also to devise ever more predatory ways to profit from current and future disasters and instability.
Since last year and the various political upheavals of Brexit here in the UK and Trump’s victory in the US, I’ve been reading more and more about neoliberalism and the political conflicts that have led us to where we are now, and No Is Not Enough was the perfect read for me in this respect; Klein’s agenda largely reflects my own political views and the content of the book served to add to what I already know as well as adding new, horrifying information. What’s important to note is that, while Klein highlights occasionally terrifying details, the aim of the book is a positive one; building on the current climate of protest marches and an empowered opposition, No Is Not Enough encourages engagement and the seeking of positive changes. It’s an eye-opening read but not a depressing one.
In Conclusion: obviously, No Is Not Enough will not appeal to anyone who isn’t interested in politics or, you know, the planet. Klein is putting forward a specific political viewpoint and raising the idea of a liberal agenda, opposing neoliberalism and arguing for firm action on climate change. If these aren’t your views, this probably isn’t the book for you. It’s an unambiguously anti-conservative message, which fits entirely with my own views, so I found No Is Not Enough invigorating and vital. I’ve not read Klein before, but I will be rectifying that shortly.