Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian - Christopher Hitchens This is a brief book about what it takes to be a good contrarian. I think in an era where either people favor being loud, obnoxious, and ill-informed (or just willfully ignorant) or the intelligent people tend to just remain quiet to avoid, as Peter from the film Office Space would say, "avoid being hassled," Hitchens gives advice on how to stand up for something. Argue. Question everything. Do so well prepared. Being well read also helps. The book is written in a style very much like Letters to a young artist. This is a book that can be read in a short time, but it is also a book that invites rereading. I know I probably should try to reread it soon. I also think it is a book we should be handing out to more young people, maybe in high school, so they can learn a thing or two about how to handle good arguments, how to question things, and how to stand up for their beliefs in the face of opposition. Those are certainly skills that are not taught very well to young people these days. On a more personal note, this book was timely for me given the discussions of certain folks in libraryland about whether the librarianship profession can handle argument and discussion or not. It is pretty well known the profession does not handle dissidents very well. I think this book may have a thing or two to say to those who aspire to raise questions and have discussions without being silenced by certain privileged folks. Anyhow, it gave me some food for thought in that regard. Overall, this is a book worth reading. And if you have not read Hitchens before, it may be a pretty accessible introduction to his work and thinking.