The reviews are glowing, including this one from Kirkus:
“A veteran activist uses history as a road map to a more progressive future … (His) work convincingly demonstrates that lasting, effective change often comes from unexpected places.”
Here’s another review by author Peter Harnik, summarized from his soon-to-be published full review of Byron’s work:
“Byron Kennard’s new book, How to Trick People into Doing the Right Thing, is a foray into contrarian optimism, a readable, rollicking paean to outwitting the failings of democracy—all in the public interest, of course.
Kennard, a wizened historian-philosopher-activist, sidelines as a humorist and satirist which shows up here. His wear-it-on-the-sleeve writing style not only mimics highly theatrical speaking, but even has the flow and rhythm of stand-up comedy.
But unlike most humorists, Kennard does not simply let jokes fall as they may, skewering for the sake of getting a laugh. Though committed to comedy, Kennard is even more committed to presenting ideas that matter.
While the book sounds like it should be found in the “How to” section of your bookstore, it is in fact firmly a history – the kind of quirky revisionist history that Kennard excels in. He wants us to enjoy the ride, but he has a serious direction in mind.
Whether explaining the marvels of benevolent trickery or spreading the optimistic gospel of relentless cultural advancement, Kennard continues to bring out the kind of hopefulness that we all need to press forward toward a more perfect world.”
— Peter Harnik, former director, First National Let Them Eat Cake Sale
All of the readers’ comments have been , as well:
Whoever heard of benevolent trickery?
Everybody knows that, in politics the bad guys will pull every trick in the book to win power so they can pursue malevolent ends.
In his new book, Byron Kennard makes the mind-blowing claim that good guys in politics pull tricks too — but, in their case, to pursue benevolent ends.
Kennard argues the good guys have no choice but to resort to trickery when the political system is immobilized by massive corruption and acute polarization. Alas, that’s the case right now for issues of overriding importance such as climate and public health protection.
The author documents his claim by trotting out a passel of examples where “benevolent trickery” changed human history for the good. (Did you know that “Honest Abe” Lincoln was a superb political trickster? That Gandhi was too? How about Mrs. Ronald Reagan?)
How to Trick People into Doing the Right Thing is short, funny, and a joy to read. It’s a trick in and of itself.
We would love it if you liked Byron’s Facebook page. We’re going to post weekly updates there including photos used to illustrate the book.
And his Twitter account could use some followers as well. You know how that goes.
Readers drawn to this book will undoubtedly be interested as well in Byron’s book published earlier this year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day: You Can’t Fool Mother Nature: The Once and Future Triumph of Environmentalism.
“Really a wonderful memoir of the environmental movement as well as an homage to Earth Day 1970.” Dan Esty, Professor, Yale Law School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Available NOW at Amazon