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Rebuild the Dream

Rebuild the Dream

4.5 8
by Van Jones

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In Rebuild the Dream, green economy pioneer Van Jones reflects on his journey from grassroots outsider to White House insider. For the first time, he shares intimate details of his time in government – and reveals why he chose to resign his post as a special advisor to the Obama White House.

Jones puts his hard-won lessons to good use, proposing a


In Rebuild the Dream, green economy pioneer Van Jones reflects on his journey from grassroots outsider to White House insider. For the first time, he shares intimate details of his time in government – and reveals why he chose to resign his post as a special advisor to the Obama White House.

Jones puts his hard-won lessons to good use, proposing a powerful game plan to restore hope, fix our democracy and renew the American Dream.
The American Dream means different things to people, but the center of gravity is always the same: an ordinary person—who was not born with great wealth, but who is willing to work hard and play by the rules—should be able to find employment, live in a good community, make progress financially, retire with dignity, and give his or her children a better life.
That dream is fading. On Main Street, too many people are working harder than ever – while falling further behind. They play by the rules, but cannot succeed. At the same time, other Americans, including the worst of Wall Street, break every rule, but cannot fail – because someone has already decided that they are “too big” to fail. The American Dream has been turned upside down and inside out. It is time to set things right.
As the first Obama administration official to write a book about his experiences, Jones offers a unique perspective. In explaining why the 2008 “hope” bubble burst, he unveils the seven biggest mistakes made by the White House and its supporters.
He explores the origin and fate of the movements that helped to elect President Obama, as well as those that have challenged and shaped his presidency. Along the way, Jones systematically reveals surprising parallels between Obama’s people-powered campaign, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
At this pivotal moment, Jones argues that we must make our economy respect the 99% and work for the 100%, not just the 1%. He proposes serious solutions that fit the scale of our problems. Rebuild the Dream sets forth bold ideas inspired by the progressive values that made the twentieth century the “American Century.” It shows how key public policies and investments can create millions of good, American jobs.
America is still the best idea in the world. The American middle class is still her greatest invention. Rebuild the Dream is dedicated to the proposition that – with the right strategy– both can be preserved and strengthened for generations to come.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Van Jones has made it his life’s work to speak truth to power”—Nancy Pelosi in Time Magazine "Van Jones is an American treasure … one of the few Americans in recent years to have generated powerful new ideas that are creating more jobs here.”—Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President, on CNN.com “Van has successfully brought together urban youth with clean-tech entrepreneurs, labor leaders with business leaders, civil rights activists with environmentalists.”—Arianna Huffington, on the Huffington Post “Van Jones is an exceptional and inspired leader who has fought to bring economic and environmental justice to communities across our country.”—John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress
“Van Jones has worked tirelessly to bring jobs and environmental progress to some of the poorest communities in our nation. His dedication and leadership are exactly what we need more of in Washington.”
—Justin Ruben, Executive Director of Moveon.org

“Jones is an extraordinarily important leader. He cares, passionately, about helping young men and women find their way in the world, even if they had the misfortune to grow up in bad neighborhoods or make bad choices – and he sees in a new green economy a powerful instrument to heal their lives.”
—Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club

“This guy is a Yale-educated lawyer, he is a best-selling authority about his specialty.”
—Howard Dean, Former Governor of Vermont, Presidential Candidate and Chair of the Democratic National Committee

“Van is a gifted leader of ideas and of action. He makes connections, thinks beyond the box, and inspires others to join… He inspired people across the country with the insight that the transition to a sustainable economy could be the greatest jobs program since the mobilization for World War II – and that we could insure that those who were left out of the old economy could be central to the green jobs of the new economy.”
—Robert Borosage, President of Institute for America’s Future

“Van Jones, one of the most effective organizers and strategists on the left, is out with a new book. Rebuild the Dream, which debuted last week on the New York Times bestseller list… seeks to harness the insurgent energies expressed by the Occupy movement into lasting institutional reform.”—Rick Perlstein, Rolling Stone “Activists know that building mass movements entails a variety of cognitive and action steps. Sometimes it is useful for a skilled activist like Van Jones to provide us with a framework for discussing how to proceed. Rebuild the Dream does that. It would be a good resource for study group discussion.”—Harry Targ, professor of political science at Purdue University, via The Rag Blog “In Rebuild the Dream, Jones joins other contemporary political figures in seeking an ideology-free politics powerful enough to unite people of all walks of life in the mission to achieve some moderately liberal objectives.”—People’s World.com “Jones deftly explains the rise and failings of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements in objective but engaging language that illuminates American’s shared experiences and hopes across the ideological divides fracturing us.”—Joseph Bloodworth, Dominion of New York (online) “In his new book, Rebuild the Dream, former special advisor to the Obama White House Van Jones drafts a thoughtful plan for the reconstruction of the simple American ideals and principles that secure the dream of a better life for everyone willing to work hard and play fair. With a vision centered on the benefits of a fully integrated green economy and practices of sustainable living, Jones’s book offers a detailed analysis of the circumstances that led to rise of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement. The author also provides a game plan for political activists looking to transform hope into lasting change and get the U.S. economy working again for everyone.”—James Edward Mills, Sierra Club Green Blog “Anyone whom Glenn Beck considers an anarchist radical, a black liberation theologian, a black nationalist and an avowed communist is clearly someone with a story worth hearing. And former Barack Obama advisor Van Jones, whom Beck drove from the White House with relentless, racist, red-baiting attacks in 2009, is telling his now.”—Bloomington Alternative (online) “Van Jones is back with a message for disappointed progressives, Occupy Wall Street and other ‘post-‘Hope’ Democrats still looking to President Barack Obama for the change they voted for in 2008: Get over it. . . . Jones’ new book, “Rebuild the Dream,” [is] his blueprint for grassroots action to restore the economy as well as attempt to turn Obama into the kind of president they want. The book is a companion piece to Jones’ activities since leaving the White House — and his new rock-star status within the progressive movement.”—Politico “[M]ore political prescription than memoir. . . . [Jones] is trying to push that agenda from the outside, by seeking to better organize various progressive movements that include the Occupy efforts, labor, women, environmentalists, civil rights supporters, and peace activists.”—USA Today “Rebuild offers a fairly honest critique of Obama's successes and failures during the president's first year in office.”—San Francisco Bay Guardian “In the end, Rebuild The Dream, like its author, is optimistic. Jones saw the rallies in 2008, the football stadiums filled to overflow capacity with cheering, hopeful, energized voters who were demanding change.”—Jeff Turrentine, ONEARTH Blog “In Rebuild the Dream, Jones explains seven crucial missteps by the White House and by social change movements since 2008 and analyzes the rise of the tea party and occupy movements. He lays out a strategic game plan for the next chapter—turning anger into action, protest into power and suffering into solutions. It is a road map to re-energizing the progressive movement.”—Mike Hall for the AFL-CIO “A confident clarion call sure to arouse controversy in this election year.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[T]his is a must-read book for the renewable energy industry.”—Joanna Schroeder, Domestic Fuel.com

“Van is a gifted leader of ideas and of action. He makes connections, thinks beyond the box, and inspires others to join… He inspired people across the country with the insight that the transition to a sustainable economy could be the greatest jobs program since the mobilization for World War II – and that we could insure that those who were left out of the old economy could be central to the green jobs of the new economy."—Robert Borosage, President of Institute for America’s Future “Let me just say that Van Jones is a very, very intelligent man. A Yale graduate, someone who came up from the public schools of Jackson, Tenn. to make something of himself. People have a deep and abiding respect for his expertise for on the environment.”—Donna Brazile, CNN Political Commentator/Political Strategist “I introduced Van, noting our past differences and my great admiration for his vision, passion and intelligence. I was amazed by his new vision – green-collar jobs – and the collaborative way he was building a movement to work with the system to make a difference for the planet and low-income people. Later that night, he shared with me his leadership journey during the 10 years since we met, how he had learned and grown. I saw his impressive charisma, intellect, and passion gain from the addition of humility, wisdom, and collaborative orientation.”—Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies “[Van is] in fact a Yale-educated attorney, best-selling author, and one of the most strategic minds in contemporary politics…he has been fighting for a lifetime to try and improve the world around him – most recently by pushing for green jobs and pathways out of poverty for millions of people around this country of ours.”—Gillian Caldwell, Campaign Director, 1Sky “We didn’t agree, a lot of times on things, we still don’t agree on things sometimes. I think I’ve helped him understand a different perspective, he’s certainly helped me understand a different perspective. He’ll find something in your background, something that you’ve answered, that he can connect with... He really truly wants to make a difference; he is committed to leaving this world a better place."—Jerald Ogg, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Tennessee, Martin “Van Jones is not a leader in our movement in the past tense. He is still a leader and an inspiring figure and we have no doubt that he is just getting started in terms of the leadership he will provide in this movement.”—Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition “At the Ella Baker Center For Human Rights, he and the brilliant organizers there helped develop the model project in Oakland that linked green job training to unemployed inner city youths… Van was building national networks and a bipartisan, multiracial consensus.”—Jeff Chang, Author/Activist

Kirkus Reviews
Staunch advocacy for the Rebuild the Dream movement by its co-founder, who argues that to rebuild America's economy requires not simply a strong leader but a mass social movement. Jones (The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, 2008), an environmental activist and former special advisor to the Obama administration on clean-energy jobs, begins by examining the movements that preceded and helped to elect Obama and those that emerged to challenge him. As he scrutinizes the Tea Party, the author asks what can be learned from its success and what the Occupy movement needs to do to achieve its goals. Jones sifts through both the accomplishments and the mistakes of the Obama administration. In the second section, the author presents a neat framework that he calls the Heart Space/Head Space Grid for interpreting events and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of movements. Political success stories, he writes, must contain four elements: villain, threat, hero and vision. He demonstrates the presence or absence of these four factors in the Obama campaign, the Obama administration, the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement. To understand the mechanics behind these movements, he turns to swarm theory, the idea that decentralized, self-organized groups harness a sort of collective intelligence that renders them more resilient than vertical hierarchies. Jones describes how the Rebuild the Dream movement seeks consensus and bottom-up direction through community organizing, "crowd-sourcing," online petitions, digital projects and conferences. In the final section, the author introduces the Contract for the American Dream, a 10-point consensus-based program for reviving the economy based on local production, thrift, conservation and ecological restoration. Magazine-style sidebars accentuate the text, and simple diagrams illustrate the essential points of Jones' arguments. A confident clarion call sure to arouse controversy in this election year.

Product Details

Nation Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Van Jones is founding president of Rebuild the Dream, a pioneering initiative to restore good jobs and economic opportunity. He is the co-founder of three, thriving organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All. Jones is the author of the New York Times best seller, The Green Collar Economy.

A Yale-educated attorney, Van worked as the green jobs advisor to the Obama White House in 2009. There, he helped run the inter-agency process that oversaw $80 billion in green recovery spending. Time Magazine has named Jones one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
  Rebuild the Dream is a strategy and action center that is rapidly emerging as a major force in the fight to rescue America’s middle class.  Launched in June 2011, the organization is already more 600,000 members strong, with a presence in every Congressional District. To join the movement, go to RebuildTheDream.com.

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Rebuild the Dream 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! It provided a very clear understanding of: 1. How Obama and "Hope" energy faltered after the election. 2. Why Fox News (and Republican thought) have been so "illogical" and yet so effective by continuing to control the "heart region". 3. How we can get the energy back and "WIN" in the future!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The other reviewers have done a great job of describing the essence of the book. This book along with Thom Hartmann's book Rebooting The American Dream gives me hope that the movement beginning in this country is strong enough to reverse the effects fo the last 30 years of tax policies that allowed the rich and greedy corporate America to get vastly richer, while leaving less and less for the rest of us and enacting legislation that leaves us fewer options to reverse the trends He reminds us that it is not enough to protest, we have to work to elect candidates who reflect our values of a job that will support a family without fear that it will be shipped overseas, a home that is not in foreclosure, health and dental care, an environment that is not going to make us sick or kill us and a dignified retirement The real question is: "Are we willing to be active and do the hard work that will be required to make the changes?"
SilenceDogoodCR More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book that makes sense of what happened to the movement for hope and change! If you wonder where all the magic from Obama's campaign went, this book is for you. The book gives a great history of all the social movements that led up to Obama, and it really reminds you that the grassroots people were becoming very powerful even before he ran. I had almost forgotten about the anti Iraq War movement, Howard Dean, Al Gore and everything that laid the ground for Obama to run. The author does a good job of showiing how citizens' movements mattter in many ways. The middle of the book is my favorite part. It has very helpful charts to compare and contrast Obama, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. This shows some very original thinking, which I have not seen anywhere else. I will admit that I expected a nasty, bitter, tell-all kind of book, because I knew that he had worked for Obama and maybe left on bad terms. Or else, I expected it to just defend Obama and attack conservatives. Instead, he seems to be coming from a place of really trying to understand everything that has been happening. He explains new terms like "swarm theory" and "open source branding" very well, as they relate to politics. He has good and bad things to say about a broad variety of topics, including both the left and the right. It is kind of harsh when he calls the Tea Party "cheap patriots," but then he proves his point. I think the author is very brave for writing a book like this. I did not know what to expect, but reading this book made me feel sad that someone like him is not in the government. I hope Obama will put him back in the cabinet after he gets re-elected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another casualty of the right-wing war on the Obama Administration, Van Jones explains the false accusations against him and details his time working for the White House. He also presents a new perspective on our President, proposals to change our economy into an ecologically and socially responsible one, as well as insight into the current political climate. Accessible, informative and very entertaining, Van Jones' book is well worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More than a litany of complaints, Van Jones offers a vision and specific idea about how to meet the challenges of the economic and systemic problems that beset our country. More than high minded abstract judgements, this book looks hard and deep at what bedevils the US economy and our politics and points a reasonable way out of the mess.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm just balancing out the one-star "review" that left by someone trying to earn a Faux News merit badge or whatever. The person who gave the one-star review I'm sure never read the book. And I'm also sure that if you asked him or her why they "hate" Van Jones, or this book, they would struggle to give you a reason. B&N needs to delete meaningless, politically based "reviews." If the haters don't care enough to read the book, then I--and Barnes and Noble--shouldn't care about what they have to say.