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Publisher's Summary

National best seller

What would actually make America great: more people.

If the most challenging crisis in living memory has shown us anything, it’s that America has lost the will and the means to lead. We can’t compete with the huge population clusters of the global marketplace by keeping our population static or letting it diminish, or with our crumbling transit and unaffordable housing. The winner in the future world is going to have more - more ideas, more ambition, more utilization of resources, more people.

Exactly how many Americans do we need to win? According to Matthew Yglesias, one billion.

From one of our foremost policy writers, One Billion Americans is the provocative yet logical argument that if we aren’t moving forward, we’re losing. Vox founder Yglesias invites us to think bigger, while taking the problems of decline seriously. What really contributes to national prosperity should not be controversial: supporting parents and children, welcoming immigrants and their contributions, and exploring creative policies that support growth - like more housing, better transportation, improved education, revitalized welfare, and climate change mitigation. Drawing on examples and solutions from around the world, Yglesias shows not only that we can do this, but why we must.

Making the case for massive population growth with analytic rigor and imagination, One Billion Americans issues a radical but undeniable challenge: Why not do it all and stay on top forever?

©2020 Matthew Yglesias (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about One Billion Americans

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  • Andrew
  • 16-09-2020

Novelty and Vision

One Billion Americans makes an affirmative and expansive case for radically expanding the remit of America. Frankly it was refreshing to read a book that actually has something to say rather than another book just explaining how dumb and broken our current system is. That said, I don't agree with every point in the book but that is as it should be. There a bunch of BS feel-good books out there that can repeat orthodoxy or explain the current system if that is what you want. What I want is a book with some guts and ideas.

While I was waiting for my audio preorder which was released after the physical book I saw a lot of bashing of this book and harsh reviews. After reading it myself I understand the criticism though I mostly find it overblown. The bottom line is this is a book that presented interesting new ideas and perspective. You can disagree with it but at least it is not a milquetoast political memoir, insider story, or explainer of our current system focused on the past.

Matt is right about this, it is better to think big than wallow in the myriad failing of our current system. If you are stuck thinking about the world as it is, how can you ever expect to create the world as it should be?

12 people found this helpful

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  • Tommy Adelson
  • 17-09-2020

FINALLY SOME BIG IDEAS

Fantastic book. Extremely readable, digestible, and enormously enlightening. Even if you disagree, these are great points for getting our country back on track.

4 people found this helpful

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  • K. Long
  • 15-09-2020

Bold ideas, well presented

Matt provides a lot of interesting ideas, in a framework premised on main stream ideas like America should strive to maintain its position in the world. If you enjoy Matt's contributions on Vox podcasts, you will greatly enjoy this audiobook.

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  • S. Ellerd
  • 28-09-2020

Good Premise, NOT Non-Partisan

I really like this concept. Absolutely support massive legal immigration and a better immigration process. That being said, this book is definitely NOT non-partisan. when describing conservatives, he misrepresents the Conservative position and calls conservatives "far-right" and "right-wing". But when speaking about Liberals, he calls them liberals and progressives. He doesn't use the same inflammatory terminology. He doesn't repeatedly call them left-wing or far left. Specifically in Chapter 5 he repeats this terminology over and over. I would've been been much more on board if he would've been truly non-partisan. Otherwise, it's an excellent concept.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-09-2020

Like the Weeds but with less cynicism.

I enjoyed listening. Didn't understand everything. Sometimes got lost in the minute, but overarching theme connected well. Not gonna lie the audio definitely didn't have the call to action resonate well with me.

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  • Joel Silberman
  • 18-07-2021

Matt should have other people read his books

He's a genius, but not an orator. Still well worth the listen though. Don't miss it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-07-2021

Great optimistic vision

A lot of this book really appeals to me! I love the idea that we need more people. Also, I listen to Matt’s podcast, the Weeds, so I enjoyed the reading. I did find the jingoism a little annoying, because to me making America better is good even apart from beating China, which, for me, is neither here nor there. But overall good ideas and uplifting.

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  • Timothy Schreier
  • 27-06-2021

Changed my thinking

I didn’t agree with every suggestion/thought experiment, but this definitely changed my previous thanos-esc ideas to population growth. Whole-heartedly recommend. Also, listen to the weeds podcast.

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  • Jeffrey
  • 01-03-2021

Fresh ideas

The writer makes several very good points, especially around regional visas and potential updates to housing policy.

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  • Chris
  • 24-01-2021

Good Read, accept the bias

I held off on purchasing this for awhile, due to my personal antipathy for much of the author’s political views and other reviews stating that they came through more than they could put up with.

I am happy to say that, even though those biases were there, and they were grating, it did not appreciably detract from the overall message. He is far more willing to assume good faith from those on his side of the aisle than he is from those on the opposite side, but he still is willing to call them out when he thinks they’re wrong.

The book would be better if he would be more even handed, but I still enjoyed it. Also, he has a ever so slightly clipped diction that made listening on car speakers at normal volume and high speed (my normal preference) less than ideal, but he sounded fine on headphones. I just had to slow down to 1.5x when listening in the car.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-10-2020

Fantastique

I excitedly awaited the release and it did not disappoint. Very good breadth. I do wish he would have addressed other environmental issues beyond Climate change, including broader habitat encroachment issues than those just posed by grazing, the die off in insects and pollinators, and the regional inequity in water availability.

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  • Will
  • 04-10-2020

Great national revivalist book

This book does a great job in providing policy ideas to ensure future American greatness. Some of the ideas are a little esoteric but there are also some sensible seeming ones. How good the ideas are is difficult to say but the book is entertaining.

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