Freedom: Credos from the Road

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Overview

There are few men who are as quintessentially American as Sonny Barger. He is patriotic—a veteran who loves his country. He is independent—choosing his own path on his motorcycle, living life on his own terms. He is outspoken—he has boldly criticized injustices in American law and society despite the backlash this has evoked from the establishment. Yet the element that he finds most important, most sacred, most American, is freedom.

In Freedom, Sonny articulates many of the ...

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Overview

There are few men who are as quintessentially American as Sonny Barger. He is patriotic—a veteran who loves his country. He is independent—choosing his own path on his motorcycle, living life on his own terms. He is outspoken—he has boldly criticized injustices in American law and society despite the backlash this has evoked from the establishment. Yet the element that he finds most important, most sacred, most American, is freedom.

In Freedom, Sonny articulates many of the principles he employs in his own life. Whether he is regarded as a leader, a rebel, a revolutionary, a criminal, or a soldier, Sonny's outlook has been influenced not just by school but by the military, prison, and his experiences riding with the world's most notorious motorcycle club. It was on these various journeys that he learned the lessons that are most important in his life and the qualities he respects when he sees them in others:

Independence
Customize Yourself; Originals Don't Come Off an Assembly Line

Toughness
Temper the Steel to Forge a Strong Blade

Fairness
Treat Me Good, I'll Treat You Better; Treat Me Bad, I'll Treat You Worse

Presented in the form of fifty credos, this book gives Sonny Barger's perspective on how to live a life that embodies the most fundamental of American virtues: freedom.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It's about time that Sonny Barger wrote a book about life lessons. Who, after all, is better qualified to talk about life's bumps and bruises than the legendary, hard-riding Hell's Angel? Sonny's credos are not for the meek: "Don't take shit from your enemies that you'd never take from your friends." "Commit yourself -- there's no reverse gear on a motorcycle."
Publishers Weekly
The rebellious, high-octane spokesman for the "biker lifestyle without boundaries," Barger now rides his customized Harley in Arizona, seeking "the Zen of the highway." The iconoclastic author of the memoir Hell's Angels and the novel Dead in 5 Heartbeats now offers a useful guide to maintaining personal freedoms and self-respect on streets mean and otherwise. As might be expected, Miss Manners and Dale Carnegie are left in the dust (with precepts such as "screw fightin' fair") as the fiercely independent Barger rolls out his practical, mostly straight-arrow advice, beginning with a warning: "When you break new earth, you'll instantly be considered an outsider." His experiences in the military, prison and on the road have not only shaped Barger's personal philosophy, they serve as his primary metaphors, e.g., "Life is one long boot camp and only extreme and strenuous life experience can turn you into the complete soldier." In addition to tips on confronting bullies, Barger covers everything from survival skills and self-reliance to teamwork and trust ("My friends are my family"). While many of Barger's 50 precepts are standard self-help fare, rudderless teens needing lessons in confidence, courage, honesty and individuality may find Barger more of a kindred spirit than, say, the Chicken Soup purveyors Agent, James Fitzgerald. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060532567
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/14/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 587,657
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph "Sonny" Barger is the author of Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. A master mechanic who has owned and operated his own bike shops, he currently lives in Arizona, where he rides every day.

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Read an Excerpt

Freedom

Credos from the Road
By Sonny Barger

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Sonny Barger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060532564

Chapter One

Treat Me Good, I'll Treat You Better.
Treat Me Bad, I'll Treat You Worse.

Be careful how you treat people. It can come back either to help you or come back and bite you on the ass.

Nobody ever confused me with being a priest, a minister, or a holy man. "Treat me good, I'll treat you better; treat me bad I'll treat you worse" is my personal take on "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Except with a modern edge. The phrase is on a plaque and is hung on an honored spot on my wall, whether at my cycle shops, my office, at home, or in the garage. It serves as a warning to whoever reads it. I'm a serious, determined man destined to be treated fairly.

I like to take fairness to its logical extreme. When somebody bucks the trend by really going out of his or her way, by going the extra mile and respecting me as opposed to treating me rudely or behaving like an asshole or an idiot, I respond by treating him or her better. People are like animals, and I mean that in a good way. Horses. Dogs. Cats. I love animals because they instinctively respond to kindness and discipline with loyalty. Kindness, like violence, can be an effective tool, especially when it's unexpected. When somebody is fair and decent, everybody wins, everybody's happy. But if somebody dares burn me, look out. Rip me off or steal my bike and you'll be nursing broken bones and drinking salt water.

On an everyday level, there's the example of the guy at the bar pushing you out of the way and stepping on your toes in order to get himself a beer. Three things to consider in this situation: he's either trying to prove something to you, he's showing off to his compadres, or he is in desperate need of a drink and is oblivious to his actions and the world around him.

Let's start by discussing the third. He's got his own troubles and not worth bothering with. The first guy is something you have to obviously deal with and right away. The second guy, these are the unpredictables and they'll do about anything to show that they are something they aren't, namely tough.

Guys, especially those just out of prison, notice immediately how rude our society has become. Inside the joint, it's "excuse me" and "pardon me, brother." Outside, it's "outta the way, buddy." Dog-eat-dog way of life. Think about it: What is it like where you live and work, and how do you deal with it?

Another example of being treated badly that annoys the hell out of me is not communicating. If someone tells me they'll get back to me or give me an answer to something and they simply don't get back, it says to me they don't give a shit either about the situation or me or both. It's not being treated fairly, and when the situation arises when they ask you for something, your natural tendency then is to not deal with it at all. If you don't respond, then you're playing the game, too. Treat someone the way you want to be treated.

It reminds me of a story a fellow bike rider told me about being in the navy. When he was assigned duty on a ship, he and all of its crew sailed out into the Pacific Ocean to begin a series of military maneuvers. The first couple of days out, he kept hearing the words Roger Wilco and he started wondering who this guy Roger Wilco was that everyone was talking about. So he asked some other sailor and he laughed and told him it was part of the basic etiquette in the navy and stood for "Roger," "will comply." First used in the signaling system, it later came to be used when orders were given by a superior and the inferior would make the gesture of saying "Wilco," to signify not only that he had heard him but that the order would be done. That to me is respect and compliance.

When somebody treats you good, see to it that you respond to them. It can be with a simple thank-you and/or a nod. Then you come across as the noble one, as appreciative, a rare quality in an individual these days. And guess what -- what you give is what you get. People value respect; they fight against the opposite. Treat someone badly and it is bound to come back at you sometime. And it does, just when you don't expect it.

There was a young man that joined the club and I immediately noticed that he was being a bit reclusive and standoffish. I liked him and had definitely voted for him to be inducted; I just felt that maybe he wasn't feeling too comfortable yet, was a bit intimidated, and had a little fear. I approached him and told him first that I was glad he was with us, then asked him to clean up some of the trash and garbage that had gathered behind the headquarters. That's all it took. He respected me for approaching him one-on-one and he respected the fact that I told him to do something as well. He became a brother for life and one of the best members an organization could ever have. Very dependable.

Continues...


Excerpted from Freedom by Sonny Barger Copyright © 2005 by Sonny Barger. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2005

    Better than you might think!

    I kept an open mind when picking this up and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with how many of his points i agreed on! I didn't agree on all of them but here are some i do agree with and which might shock you to find expressed by Mr. Barger: -The Golden rule (treat others...) -Freedom has a price in vigilance to preserve it -Give people a break -The underdog and injustice- how it affects us all Mr. Barger has had more COURAGE to live his life based on BELIEFS than most of us ever will and you get the impression that he has paid heavily personally for this as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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