Author Topic: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne  (Read 10269 times)

Grid

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How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« on: January 06, 2015, 03:22:32 PM »
After GizmoTX suggested this book with the following link, I've been slowly reading through and gaining insight.  I'd like to hear any comments anyone has about the book.  I'm currently on page 82.

http://eiiiforum.com/picsfromusers/howifoundfreedom.pdf

I currently agree with a good deal of what he has to say so far, but I still have to mull a bit more on the idea of the government trap.  Does a government really have no chance of being any better than what would come about if there were none, just the General Market?  And is it really more difficult to conquer a divided group of little self-governed towns instead of a nation?  I doubt it, but still need to think about it some more.
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arebelspy

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 09:25:27 AM »
It's slanted very libertarian in its politics (the author was the Libertarian Party's candidate for president a couple of times.).  Get through that stuff, whatever you think of it, and there's a lot of value in the rest still.
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C40

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 01:00:44 PM »

I currently agree with a good deal of what he has to say so far, but I still have to mull a bit more on the idea of the government trap.  Does a government really have no chance of being any better than what would come about if there were none, just the General Market?  And is it really more difficult to conquer a divided group of little self-governed towns instead of a nation?  I doubt it, but still need to think about it some more.

That doesn't matter much. The book is about personal freedom - not about whether a specific form of government works better or worse than another. (He has another book about that subject)

For anyone who's considering reading this book - do it. For me, one of the top 5 most influential books I've ever read.
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Grid

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 02:06:44 PM »
That doesn't matter much. The book is about personal freedom - not about whether a specific form of government works better or worse than another. (He has another book about that subject)

For anyone who's considering reading this book - do it. For me, one of the top 5 most influential books I've ever read.

Yes, the government stuff is a minor part of the book.  He even changed his tune about the government in the epilogue he wrote for the book 25 years later.  Also, I skimmed through your journal, and it's quite an encouragement!  I hope to be in your shoes at your age.   

I Read this book on the advice of Arebelspy, and I loved it.  It makes you realize how much agency you have over your own life... and once you realize that nearly everything you do is a choice - that you are sovereign over your own life -  well you quit complaining about it.  Because the only thing complaining does is advertise your own feebleness.

I didn't love the politics either... but that's a trivial part of the book. 

I finished the book a couple days ago.  I enjoyed the message about sovereignty as well.  I think the biggest benefit I got from the book was feeling less guilty about pulling away from my family.  They're great people for the most part, but sometimes I've felt or been made to feel guilty for valuing my own time and goals above spending time with them.
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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 03:52:19 PM »
I just started reading the book too (thanks, GizmoTX! )
I realized that this is going to take me a while.  It's not a book that I can read quickly.  I'm just a few pages in and realized that I'll have to sit with with the ideas in each chapter.  So far, there's been no fluff, the writing is sharp, concise and deep.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 03:54:18 PM »
So far, there's been no fluff, the writing is sharp, concise and deep.

That's another part of what makes the book amazing.  There's a great deal of wisdom in each sentence.  I would stop often and see if I would be able to write out specific ideas with the same amount of clarity he had used, and  found many a time I just wasn't experienced enough to draw the sharp conclusions he was making.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 04:02:03 PM by Grid »
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arebelspy

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 03:07:32 PM »
It also took me longer to read than most books I read of similar length.  It's worth working through.

It makes you realize how much agency you have over your own life... and once you realize that nearly everything you do is a choice - that you are sovereign over your own life -  well you quit complaining about it. 

Well said.  One of the quotes in my good quotes file:
"When we realize the degree of agency we actually do have, we no longer have to "hope" at all. We simply do the work."– Derrick Jensen
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Dr. Doom

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2015, 03:33:44 PM »
The central point of having more control over your life than you realize is highly relevant and those portions resonated strongly for me.  Like:  Figure out how you want to live, and then pursue that goal unapologetically -- so long as you're not hurting others.  Yes.  Absolutely Yes.

An awesome quote, btw:
 "You can’t simply decide to be happy and suddenly feel a gust of mental well-being. If you’re not happy at any given time, it’s because of what is happening to you. To change your mental state from unhappiness to happiness requires that you
change your circumstances. And this is why you do things — to bring about the circumstances that will make you happier."
 
Browne is clearly -- almost comically -- an INTJ, btw.  Holy god, is it obvious.  He says things like "the ultimate test of any idea is: does it work?"  Textbook.  He also chooses the path of least pain/resistance to navigate through situations in life that he doesn't particularly enjoy, e.g. simply avoiding specific people that cause him distress whenever possible.
Edit:  Shorter.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 03:44:38 PM by Dr. Doom »

Reddleman

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2015, 04:30:09 PM »
Working my way through it too.  Pretty good stuff (particularly for an INTP like me).

The whole "government trap" is pretty influenced by the time in which he was writing, too.  There's a lot of angst and disillusionment in the 70s in literature, arts, etc. which is pretty hard for many people today to understand.  It definitely makes sense in the context of the times.

Also, a lot of the finding like-minded people is much easier now- thanks to the internet and MMM.

Schaefer Light

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2015, 09:44:22 AM »
It's slanted very libertarian in its politics (the author was the Libertarian Party's candidate for president a couple of times.).  Get through that stuff, whatever you think of it, and there's a lot of value in the rest still.
Maybe that's why I liked it so much.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2015, 03:01:44 PM »
I've always disliked that I "had to" do, buy or be, something.
 Even if that something was something trivial like wearing a watch (my father insisted that a proper young man must wear a watch).

This book was a breath of fresh air, in that Mr. Brown made it clear  that you do have a choice not to be what others insist that you do, buy, or be.   If you wish to, that's OK but make it YOUR choice.

For those who want some more libertarian books, "Down with Power!" by L. Neil Smith is recommended.





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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 02:15:42 PM »
Where did you guys find this? I can't really find it anywhere.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2015, 05:39:40 PM »

Disclosure:
 I'm not affiliated with the following except as a customer.  If you can't find it at abebooks, your search will be much more difficult.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Harry+Browne&bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&recentlyadded=all&sortby=17&sts=t&tn=How+I+found+freedom&x=39&y=15


My copy was a paperback, somewhat cheaper than the current offerings.

GizmoTX

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2015, 07:13:55 PM »
Where did you guys find this? I can't really find it anywhere.

See the link in the OP.

arebelspy

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 10:38:33 AM »
Where did you guys find this? I can't really find it anywhere.

See the link in the OP.

Yup, it's available as a free PDF online.  I also have an ePub version, which formats better on eBook readers than PDFs.
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MgoSam

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 12:38:12 PM »
Where did you guys find this? I can't really find it anywhere.

See the link in the OP.

Yup, it's available as a free PDF online.  I also have an ePub version, which formats better on eBook readers than PDFs.

Whoops, my bad!

BuffaloStache

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2016, 03:37:34 PM »
I know I'm blowing dust of this old thread, but I'm currently reading this book (slightly over halfway through). It is mentioned across many blogs/sources in the FI/FIRE community, and I view it as a foundational book for many of us who want to know more about some of the major influences that shaped the FI community.

I agree that the politics do seem highly slanted towards Libertarian-ism. It's funny, I've been telling my wife for the past week as I've been reading this book that it "seems like a Libertarian Party manifesto"- to learn that Browne was a Libertarian Presidential candidate makes total sense to me.

All government sentiments/politics aside, this book does have some great knowledge and great quotes wrapped up in it. It lays out many great points about how each individual is in control of his/her life. It re-iterates the fact that our individual time is the only true limited resource in someone's life.
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Adventine

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2016, 11:26:35 PM »
I just finished this book. It gave me a lot to think about. I'm at a point of my life where I feel shackled by all my obligations to my job and my family. I'd love to have the kind of personal freedom Harry Browne writes about. It's hard, though - especially in my situation living in a Third World country where well-paying jobs and decent health insurance are rarities.

I'm well on my way to FIRE (age 27, no debt, 50% savings rate, net worth equal to 6.5 years of expenses) but I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet. I'm still worried about a future without a guaranteed income or health coverage. I have to work some more to achieve that dream of freedom.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 11:29:29 PM by Adventine »

Classical_Liberal

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2016, 04:22:04 PM »
Posting to follow & see if any more recent readers have thoughts to share.  I'm about halfway through and have many personal thoughts & concepts floating about.  None that I feel I can succinctly or directly articulate as of yet....  Maybe another day, I will say this is worth the read.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2016, 10:02:54 PM »
I read this book recently also.  Ironically, I've been lugging it around with me from place to place for the past twenty years, but only read it last week for the first time.  I suspect that what would have spoken to me in my 20s from the book is different than what speaks to me now.  Twenty years ago, I'd have reacted more like the people who were commenting about feeling free to break away from their families, since that was something that weighed heavily upon me at the time. 

Now in my forties, I don't feel very burdened by my parents' expectations any more, and what resonates with me most are the parts about not being a joiner.  Meaning, don't rely on forming common cause with others to try to persuade them to do what you want them to do.  You can't change others, and working to change them is only going to make you unhappy.  Especially given the recent election and all the angst it caused, I can see quite a lot of sense in what he says about not being a joiner.  That's a pretty contrarian position to take.  I mean, to say that you're not going to register to vote or join advocacy groups because voting or group protesting is not going to accomplish anything...well, it's true, but it's a pretty controversial stance.  Still, he's right; in the whole scheme of my life, it doesn't really matter who wins the election when both candidates are "deplorables."  And I'm better off focusing on what I need to do to win my financial independence and live a happy life versus worrying over trying to influence the election in any way, including even voting in it.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2016, 08:55:43 PM »
I'm better off focusing on what I need to do to win my financial independence and live a happy life versus worrying over trying to influence the election in any way, including even voting in it.

A great point.
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MasterStache

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2016, 01:26:01 PM »
Going to pick up the "on hold" copy at the library tonight. Might interject my observations/opinions when finished. Hope it's a good read.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2016, 02:05:04 PM »
Tim Ferriss and Derek Sivers had a discussion a while back about certain books needing to "catch you at the right time" to make a real impact on you, and I feel like this may be one of those books for some people. Speaking for myself, I very much enjoyed this book. It was denser reading than I expected, and I'd echo others' comments about needing to take your time to "unpack" everything, but definitely a worthwhile read.

Although they are certainly evident in Harry Browne's writing, it wasn't difficult for me to get past the Libertarian politics and focus on his larger points about individual agency, and the extent to which many things we take for granted are very much choices. It was eye opening, for sure.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2017, 12:37:30 PM »
Just resurrecting this thread to say thanks for the recommendation. I'm a little more than halfway through the book, and I'm finding it very interesting. I like the point about being responsible for your own outcomes in life and about actively changing what's not working rather than just feeling stuck and complaining. Or completely removing yourself from a situation rather than trying to change everyone around you. I also like the idea of allowing others to be who they are and appreciating their good traits rather than harping on the ways they aren't exactly like you. Looking forward to hearing more from others who have read or are reading it.

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2017, 12:48:18 PM »
.....rather than harping on the ways they aren't exactly like you.

It is the fact that they ARE exactly like my un-endearing traits that I harp about.

GreenSheep

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2017, 01:02:43 PM »
.....rather than harping on the ways they aren't exactly like you.

It is the fact that they ARE exactly like my un-endearing traits that I harp about.

That's a very good point. Sometimes the things we dislike most about others are the things we dislike most about ourselves!

BuffaloStache

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2017, 11:01:44 PM »
.....rather than harping on the ways they aren't exactly like you.

It is the fact that they ARE exactly like my un-endearing traits that I harp about.

That's a very good point. Sometimes the things we dislike most about others are the things we dislike most about ourselves!

All true, but remember- pick the direct solution instead of an indirect one. Work on changing yourself since you can't change others.
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markbike528CBX

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2017, 05:46:02 AM »
.....rather than harping on the ways they aren't exactly like you.

It is the fact that they ARE exactly like my un-endearing traits that I harp about.

That's a very good point. Sometimes the things we dislike most about others are the things we dislike most about ourselves!

All true, but remember- pick the direct solution instead of an indirect one. Work on changing yourself since you can't change others.
It is a great way to become aware of one's own faults, so that self changing process can begin.

logansandres

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2017, 05:46:43 AM »
I'
After GizmoTX suggested this book with the following link, I've been slowly reading through and gaining insight.  I'd like to hear any comments anyone has about the book.  I'm currently on page 82.

http://eiiiforum.com/picsfromusers/howifoundfreedom.pdf

I currently agree with a good deal of what he has to say so far, but I still have to mull a bit more on the idea of the government trap.  Does a government really have no chance of being any better than what would come about if there were none, just the General Market?  And is it really more difficult to conquer a divided group of little self-governed towns instead of a nation?  I doubt it, but still need to think about it some more.
  I think that it is really easier to actually govern a nation, sicne it sort of lessens the sense of personal identity. People in small groups tend to be more independent and they know what they want and how they want it. I think it's simple as that.

BuffaloStache

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2017, 05:44:00 PM »
I think that it is really easier to actually govern a nation, sicne it sort of lessens the sense of personal identity. People in small groups tend to be more independent and they know what they want and how they want it. I think it's simple as that.

I agree with this, but the fundamental flaw I find in Browne's government trap idea is that I believe that there is likely some increased efficiency in governing because we have a large critical mass behind it...
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VladTheImpaler

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2017, 10:45:58 PM »
I just picked up a copy from the library and I'm on page 22 and literally have tons of ideas buzzing and echoing around in my head already.
My first thought was "why have I been a people pleaser for so long?"
My second thought was the lyric from that old Sheryl Crow song "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad."
This book is going to be a great read for me.
Anyone else reading this now?
"Everyone has different tastes and desires. These differences make the world orderly. If everyone wanted the same things, we would all be struggling against each other to acquire what little was available. Diversity is the source of harmony in human relationships."

-Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World

lemanfan

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2017, 11:11:29 PM »
I read it about a year ago, and it was an interesting read.  Fit right into the stoics that I read these days...

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2017, 12:26:16 AM »
My first thought was "why have I been a people pleaser for so long?"
My second thought was the lyric from that old Sheryl Crow song "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad."

Sure, if it makes you happy.  If it DOESN'T though, the point of the book is that you don't have to feel trapped into that as being something you "have" to do.  There is nothing you "have" to do.
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zoltani

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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2017, 04:23:53 PM »
I enjoy this book and find it to be a good one to pick and choose certain sections based on your current life situation.

.....rather than harping on the ways they aren't exactly like you.

It is the fact that they ARE exactly like my un-endearing traits that I harp about.

That's a very good point. Sometimes the things we dislike most about others are the things we dislike most about ourselves!

All true, but remember- pick the direct solution instead of an indirect one. Work on changing yourself since you can't change others.
It is a great way to become aware of one's own faults, so that self changing process can begin.

Lately, with everything that has been going on in the world/society I think of three quotes. They all say the same thing, essentially, but they get progressively more long-winded.

"Clean your room"
Jordan Peterson

"You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye."
Matthew 7:5

"In any foreseeable future there are going to be thousands and thousands of people who detest and abominate Negroes, communists, Russians, Chinese, Jews, Catholics, beatniks, homosexuals, and "dope-fiends." These hatreds are not going to be healed, but only inflamed, by insulting those who feel them, and the abusive labels with which we plaster them—squares, fascists, rightists, know-nothings—may well become the proud badges and symbols around which they will rally and consolidate themselves. Nor will it do to confront the opposition in public with polite and nonviolent sit-ins and demonstrations, while boosting our collective ego by insulting them in private. If we want justice for minorities and cooled wars with our natural enemies, whether human or non-human, we must first come to terms with the minority and the enemy in ourselves and in our own hearts, for the rascal is there as much as anywhere in the "external" world—-especially when you realize that the world outside your skin is as much yourself as the world inside. For want of this awareness, no one can be more belligerent than a pacifist on the rampage, or more militantly nationalistic than an anti-imperialist."
Alan Watts



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Re: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World - Harry Browne
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2017, 06:07:19 AM »
Thank you for sharing the pdf link, I've been finding it impossible to get this book through my library (an inter-library loan was going to cost $10) and secondhand copies were through the roof. I've seen this recommended in a bunch of places so I'm excited to add it to my pile of readings. I will report back!
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