How the World Works

How the World Works book cover

David Barsamian interviews Noam Chomsky
Edited by Arthur Naiman
Soft Skull Press, 2011; 336 pages.

According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is "arguably the most important intellectual alive." But he isn't easy to read . . . or at least he wasn't until these books came along. Made up of intensively edited speeches and interviews, they offer something not found anywhere else: pure Chomsky, with every dazzling idea and penetrating insight intact, delivered in clear, accessible, reader-friendly prose. 

Published as four short books in the famous Real Story series—What Uncle Sam Really Wants; The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many; Secrets, Lies and Democracy; and The Common Good—they've collectively sold almost 600,000 copies.

And they continue to sell year after year after year because Chomsky's ideas become, if anything, more relevant as time goes by. For example, twenty years ago he pointed out that "in 1970, about 90% of international capital was used for trade and long-term investment—more or less productive things—and 10% for speculation. By 1990, those figures had reversed." As we know, speculation continued to increase exponentially. We're paying the price now for not heeding him them.

Author(s):

David Barsamian (click to view archive)

One of America's most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists, David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio show Alternative Radio -now in its 28th year- and his books with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy and Edward Said. His latest book of interviews with Noam Chomsky is Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire. His best-selling books with Chomsky have been translated into many languages. Barsamian was deported from India in 2011 due to his work on Kashmir and other revolts. He lectures on world affairs, imperialism, the state of journalism, censorship, the economic crisis and global rebellions.

He is winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. The Boulder Daily Camera, Barsamian's hometown newspaper, published this feature about David in 2011. As Arundhati Roy wrote for The Guardian, Barsamian was deported from India in 2011 due to his work on Kashmir and other revolts. He speaks all over the world.

Noam Chomsky (click to view archive)

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is the author of scores of books, including Hopes & Prospects, Masters of Mankind, How the World Works, and Power Systems with David Barsamian.

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