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Publisher's Summary

National best-selling author of Apocalypse Never skewers progressives for the mishandling of America’s faltering cities.  

Progressives claimed they knew how to solve homelessness, inequality, and crime. But in cities they control, progressives made those problems worse.

Michael Shellenberger has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30 years. During that time, he advocated for the decriminalization of drugs, affordable housing, and alternatives to jail and prison. But as homeless encampments spread, and overdose deaths skyrocketed, Shellenberger decided to take a closer look at the problem.

What he discovered shocked him. The problems had grown worse not despite but because of progressive policies. San Francisco and other West Coast cities - Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland - had gone beyond merely tolerating homelessness, drug dealing, and crime to actively enabling them. 

San Fransicko reveals that the underlying problem isn’t a lack of housing or money for social programs. The real problem is an ideology that designates some people, by identity or experience, as victims entitled to destructive behaviors. The result is an undermining of the values that make cities, and civilization itself, possible.

©2021 Michael Shellenberger (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about San Fransicko

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Empathy

I really appreciate this very balanced and intelligent perspective presented here. While this book is quite critical of progressive activists it actually made me a little more sympathetic to their plight


9 people found this helpful

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An excellent book about the problem with the progressive movement

Progressives have good intentions, but their policies are the downfall of this nation. Another excellent book by Michael Shellenberger

9 people found this helpful

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AMAZING BOOK!

This is the perfect blend of compassion and pragmatism that seems to be completely missing from this subject. Finally someone is proposing something new instead of doubling down on what has already failed. Very well researched, well argued and from a decidedly liberal perspective. A very important statement!

7 people found this helpful

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Shellengerger For SF Mayor!

As an ex San Francisco resident of several years who finally gave up and escaped in 2020, I can’t tell you enough how Michael has hit the nail on the head. He narrows in on every issue I saw on a daily basis along with the persistent cognitive dissonance I saw every supposed liberal show towards what was in front of their own eyes. He doesn’t just call out the issues but proposes straight forward and intelligent solutions . If sf had leadership like Michael it could yet stand a chance .

6 people found this helpful

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A world with only carrots and no sticks

For individuals who TRULY want to help people who are in a ruff spot but don't understand that those people have to be ABLE and WILLING to meet you half way

5 people found this helpful

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Conservative in progressive clothing!

It's pretty simple, connecting law enforcement, health care and social work will miditgate the homeless problem in SF and other West Coast cities. Pumping billions of dollars into the hands of drug addicts will end in them dying, and that is unacceptable. It is intriguing how few in the book see the forest through the trees. A must read for anyone interested in finding a solution to the urban decay happening in our once great cities of the West Coast. Excellent book!

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Please share this book

I was the victim of an extremely violent crime in Seattle in 2020, and although the men who attempted to beat me to death have been caught both have been released back into the community. Because the justice system seems to care more about them than it does about me my only recourse is to spread the reach of books like this. Thank you Mr. Shellenberger for putting the effort into writing this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Realistic view of the West Coast cities

Realistic and actually compassionate view of what's happening on the West Coast and a real set of suggestions on how to safe those cities from harmful mindsets and policies.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book!

If you live in California and are mad about how awful San Francisco has gotten; this book takes a deep dive into why. Highly recommend

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Must Read

Great perspective of what needs to be done to start healing our cities. awesomeness. Split between the politics and cut to the issue without blaming sides.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-21-22

Fascinating but fact-heavy

Considering it’s such a niche topic, it’s not surprising that Shellenberger relies on a lot of statistic-led information - this can be hard to follow in the audio format. Still, it makes for a fascinating listen that is thoroughly researched in order to reach, what I believe to be, a satisfying solution to a serious problem.

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  • Nick
  • 01-06-22

Clear. Balanced and Sane.

Mr Shellenberger has researched his book well. It is not, in the atmosphere of polarisation today, biased. It is not a right wing pamphlet on "Lib-tards."
He challenges the popular narratives that both ends of spectrum cling to. He has lived this book. He has spoken to those who have lived in the fields discussed and honestly put across their feelings and experiences.
What His calls for is a re-engagement with the social contact between citizens and The State.
A acknowledgement that the responsibilities of a functioning civilisation are shared.