The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

14 April 2008

Steal This Book

Steal This Book is the title of a book written by Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Youth International Party known as the Yippees, which was published in 1971. Hoffman campaigned vigorously against the Vietnam War, and in his autobiography Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, he described himself as anarchist.

His book advocates rebelling against authority in all its forms, including the government and big corporations. It contains practical advice on such topics as growing marijuana, starting a pirate radio station, living in a commune, stealing food and shoplifting, preparing a legal defense, making pipe bombs, and even how to obtaining a free buffalo from the US government. The book discusses various tactics for fighting, and there is a list of affordable and easy ways to find weapons and armour to use in any confrontation with the police.

Many bookstores refused to carry the book. They were afraid that some people would take the book's title literally. Even today, it is still very hard to find the book in public libraries probably for the same reason. The latest paperback edition was published in 2002 and you can get it at

Reflecting on the success of the book, the author said, "It's embarrassing when you try to overthrow the government and you wind up on the Best Seller's List".

Much of the information in the book is now completely out of date; and some would now be seen as encouraging international terrorism. But what the book does is capture the mood of a generation that has long since passed.

The influence of the Yippees is still around through such things as “culture jamming” and “subvertising”; and there are parallels between the Vietnam war which mobilized a generation to speak out and the growing revulsion against the Iraq war of today. The Yippees still exist as a small movement whose main concern now is to see marijuana legalised. In 2004, they were able to purchased their 9 Bleeker Street headquarters which they have converted into the Yippie Museum Cafe. If you are ever in New York, pay it a visit, have a cup of coffee and think about the consumer culture and what we can do to rein it in.

Borrow this book

The internet also provides you with a way of sharing your books… through BookCrossing:

“Our goal, simply, is to make the whole world a library. BookCrossing is a book exchange of infinite proportion, the first and only of its kind.”

There must be a book which you have really enjoyed or found particularly useful, which you would like others to read. Maybe this is gathering dust on your bookshelf. So, take it off the shelf, write some comments about what you like about it and why others should read it in the inside front cover. Then go to the BookCrossing website, register the book and follow the instructions. You will then leave the book somewhere for someone else to find it, read it and then pass it on to someone else. You will be track the progress of your book as it travels the world on the BookCrossing website.

The process is really very simple. These are the “Three R’s of BookCrossing”:

R1: Read a good book… a book that you would recommend to others.

R2: Register the book with BookCrossing. First you log in your details. This takes a couple of minutes. You will be given a BookCrossing identification number and the URL of the BookCrossing website.

Label the book with these references, and put a note asking the reader to pass it on after they’ve finished reading it. You can download printed labels from the BookCrossing website.

R3: Release the book for someone else to read. There are three ways of doing this. You can give it to a friend. You can leave it somewhere for someone to pick up – on a park bench, in a coffee shop, etc. Or you can release it “into the wild”, when people can search for it. The BookCrossing website enables you to say you have left it or give clues to help people find it.

Then wait and see what happens. You will be joining 589,357 other people in over 130 countries who have shared their passion for a particular book with the world.


Go Kindling

“Kindling” is the term used for small strips of wood used to start a fire. You can now “Kindle” your books without having to burn them!

Kindle is a new electronic reading device developed by, where you can download books wirelessly in a matter of seconds. It has these features:
• Its electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
• It is simple to use – no computer, no cables, just press a button.
• Its wireless connectivity enables you to purchase electronic books from Amazon wherever you are – whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
• You just buy the book and it is delivered wirelessly to your Kindle in less than one minute and at a good saving on the printed version.
• More than 110,000 books are available, including many current best sellers.
• You can download free book samples, and read a chapter or two before you decide to buy.
• You can also get a selection of leading newspapers and magazines, and more than 250 leading blogs on business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics. It also includes free wireless access to Wikipedia.
• It is lighter and thinner than a typical paperback – weighing just 10.3 ounces and holding over 200 titles.
• It has a long battery life. It needs to be recharged approximately every other day if left on continuously; or if the wireless is turned off, you can read for a week or more before needing to recharge. Recharging takes two hours.
• Unlike WiFi, Kindle uses the same high-speed data transmission system as advanced cell phones. You can download from anywhere, and you don’t need to go to a hotspot.
• You can e-mail Word documents and pictures in JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG format to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.

At he moment, Kindle is only available for delivery n the USA. It costs $399. Since there are no printing or distribution costs, this method of selling books to readers has the potential to transform the book industry.

Find out more and watch the video at:


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