I was drinking espresso after lunch at my newly discovered favorite cafe in Minneapolis, Common Roots, and reading a book that my brother gave me recently. The book was "The Freedom Manifesto," by Tom Hodgkinson, and it is an inspiring and funny and lighthearted outline how to go off the grid, unhitch oneself from the expectations and burdens of modern society, and revive the joys and inspirations of non-modern life. If the book is an extended leftist pamphlet, it is one with no self-righteousness or drudgery, but instead with special emphasis on enjoying our time on earth. Tend a garden; grow your own vegetables; cancel anything with a monthly fee; get out of debt and stay out; drink more beer with friends; cook your own food; let the kids find their own entertainment outside; ignore the government; start a neighborhood council and use it to throw a great party every year; stuff like that.
I was laughing out loud at one particularly pungent paragraph and an employee (manager?) of the restaurant approached me while he was busing a nearby table.
"What is that you are reading?" he asked.
"It's called 'The Freedom Manifesto,' " I said, and I gave him an earful about the book, the new convert's hard-sell. He said it sounded great, and that he'd look around for it.
A few weeks later I was back in Common Roots ordering lunch and espresso at the counter. The man who asked me about the book was ringing my order up. "You're the guy who told me about 'The Freedom Manifesto,' right?"
Yeah, that's me.
"I read the book, it was great, leftist politics without the overseriousness."
Yeah, I said, I thought the same thing.
He turned to another woman behind the counter who was pulling a shot of espresso for a customer. "Hey, this is the guy who told me about that book," he said to her. She told me she had read it and enjoyed it herself. "She loved it, too," she said, indicating another employee.
I was very pleased that I was able to introduce this fantastic book to a handful of new readers. If any of you out there like the Common Roots cafe, or just want to read a very interesting book about getting free, you may want to read "The Freedom Manifesto," by Tom Hodgkinson.