The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

by Eric Liu, Nick Hanauer

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today--generate these simple but revolutionary ideas:

True self interest is mutual interest. (Society, it turns out, is an ecosystem that is healthiest when we take care of the whole.)

Society becomes how we behave. (The model of citizenship depends on contagious behavior, hence positive behavior begets positive behavior.)

We’re all better off when we’re all better off. (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Adjust the definition of wealth to society creating solutions for all.)

Government should be about the big what and the little how. (Government should establish the ideas and the goals, and then let the people find the solutions of how to make it happen.)

Freedom is responsibility. (True freedom is not about living some variant of libertarianism but rather an active cooperation a part of a big whole society; freedom costs a little freedom.)

The Gardens of Democracy is an optimistic, provocative, and timely summons to improve our role as citizens in a democratic society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781570618437
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Publication date: 12/06/2011
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 549,034
File size: 754 KB

About the Author

ERIC LIU is the founder and CEO of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. He is the author of several books, including You’re More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen, The True Patriot, and A Chinaman's Chance. Eric served as a White House speechwriter and policy adviser for President Bill Clinton. He is a regular columnist for and a correspondent for
NICK HANAUER is a Seattle-based serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author and activist with a knack for identifying and building transformative business models. In 2007, he co-authored The True Patriot with Eric Liu and co-founded The True Patriot Network, a non-partisan group committed to furthering patriotic ideals. He also co-founded the Washington State League of Education Voters (LEV), a non-partisan statewide political organization focused on promoting public education, where he serves as co-president.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
GeordieFoster More than 1 year ago
I read it in one night! That's an accomplishment for me. I subscribe to much of this thinking & seeing it actually on paper and organized was terrific and made me feel better about my convictions. It will be a tough sale to right wing Baby Boomers but it's written in a way that even they might give it a second thought. Young People these days subscribe more and more to this type of thinking and the education system is integrating it more and more into their curriculums thank goodness. Now if you can just incorporate the thinking of Gene Roddenberry I'd be happy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an in depth analysis of how and why both sides of the current political fence deeply problematic. The beauty of this book is that the current flaws don’t lead to a solution between the two extremes. Instead it presents a new and more organic and interdependent framework that avoids most of our debilitating social problems.
myronlh More than 1 year ago
Maybe there is hope for the future if more people would model the suggested behavior.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I haven't finished reading the book as yet, I am reallly enjoying it. Thought-provoking and written in a language I can understand easilly. If the book holds up until I finished, I am going to recommend it to my 3 daughters, among others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A refreshing new look that moves beyond the traditional arguments that have created the current political impass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a book based on common sense. Something lost in our modern political system.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is completely one sided. It has nothing to do with democracy. It's about Socialism and Communism. It talks about  "redistribution of wealth", how there should be "more unions", and how everyone should be "required to vote".