Word Wednesday: ‘What Would Marx Do?’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This week’s word is “Marxism.”

Don’t worry, this is not the first step in a GeekDad revolution; this week’s word should really be two words, “Political theory.” Whilst Gareth Southwell’s latest book might be called What Would Marx Do? it features a host of political theorists and examines how they might tackle life’s vexing questions, such as whether we should watch what we say on Twitter.

What is What Would Marx Do?

Author/illustrator Gareth Southwell has created accessible explanations of political thinking and presents them as forty essays that are relevant to modern life. The book asks questions, such as:

  • Which of us should look after the baby? (Particularly interesting to GeekParents everywhere.)
  • Should I have children? (Possibly a bit late for most of us here.)
  • My teenager says I’m a fascist, am I? (Anybody going through this, may feel they can help answer the previous question.)
  • Do I earn enough?
  • Should I support my country going to war?
  • Can I trust the news? (Very relevant right now.)
  • Is my local golf club a fair society?
  • Can I sack a robot?
  • Why does Hollywood think the future is so grim?

These questions are grouped into 5 broader sections:

  • Freedom.
  • Equality
  • Power & Authority
  • Rights
  • Justice

Each essay takes the viewpoints of several political theorists and examines what they had to say on the subject. The thinkers range from the famous (Marx) to the not-so-famous (Morozov) and are taken from a variety of stances and perspectives. Each essay is concise and to the point, with each being roughly 6 pages of text and pictures.

Word Wednesday MarxismWhy should I read What Would Marx Do?

Southwell’s choice of subjects makes this book an engaging way to access complex subjects. His writing is informative and never dry. His excellent illustrations lighten things further. All too often, philosophical works are either dry or abstract, often both. This book is never dull. I have problems when reading non-fiction, as it sends me off to sleep. The relevance of What Would Marx Do? kept me engaged and awake.

The book is perfect for dipping in and out of. There is no reason to read it cover to cover. Read whatever takes your fancy. I have found it impossible to only read a single essay. Many of them reference each other, and it’s easy to become caught up in what you’re reading, and head off in search of just one more philosophical nugget.

I’m the sort of reader who loves the idea of reading works of philosophy but finds the reality of doing so a little too much like hard work. Not with Gareth Southwell guiding me. What Would Marx Do? engages, informs, and entertains in equal measure.

You can buy the book here, in the US (including the other books in the series) and here, in the UK.

If you enjoyed this post, do check out my other Word Wednesday posts.

Word Wednesday MarxismDisclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in order to write this review.

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