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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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Great read

Controversial perspective but nonetheless based on sound logic and argumentation. If only we could turn this into policy - the USA (and other developed countries with declining birth rates) would be a better place for it. Sadly the US is going in the opposite direction and the imminent end to the empire is on the horizon.

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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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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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  • Andrew
  • 16-09-20

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?

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  • Tommy Adelson
  • 17-09-20

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.

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  • K. Long
  • 15-09-20

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
  • 28-09-20

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
  • 17-09-20

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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  • Alberto
  • 17-01-22

Well written and well performed thesis

Matthew Yglesias provides excellent sourcing and optimistic views of America’s future without being Pollyanna. Broad look at the multiple advantages to the US geography and comparative advantages.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-12-21

a Hamiltonian plea after Alexander Hamilton's own

not since Alexander Hamilton has such an optimistic dream for America' been envisioned. Matt Yglesias makes a persuasive case of how to ensure America's future. a truly progressive program of how to restore American Greatness by thinking big again. any fan of Alexander Hamilton should be proud.

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  • Adam R.
  • 12-10-21

_

Simple and to the point. If you are wondering why the economics and social science support expanding immigration, this is the book for you.

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  • Scott A. Medley
  • 29-08-21

A Pundit's Book

I can tell that Yglesias clearly enjoyed not just writing but narrating this book over his One Billion Americans proposal. I'm not gonna reveal too much of it but basically he wants to encourage population growth to drive economic growth, among other things. I have to say I'm more than impressed with his use of sources and statistics and again I love how he sounds like an excited little kid talking about his science project. A lot of his ideas sound interesting and worth a try. I'm not sure if I'm completely and totally on board with it, but I'm more of a libertarian on a lot of issues so take that with a grain of salt. The listen is not long at all, I think it's like six and a half hours, so feel free to give this one a listen while on a long walk or driving cross country to visit folks.

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  • Joel Silberman
  • 18-07-21

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.