Democracy: A User’s Guide by Joss Sheldon

Book Review

I received a free copy of Democracy: A User’s Guide in exchange for an honest review and I’m so glad I got a chance to read this book. Many thanks to BookSirens and Joss Sheldon.


Democracy: A User's Guide by Joss Sheldon; book cover
Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page

This book is all about the various aspects of democracy. In four different sections, Joss Sheldon explains how democracy works (or doesn’t), which forms exist and how to improve them.

Section 1 is about the history of democracy. He explains how the earliest human civilizations were most likely organized and how our modern systems developed over time.
Section 2 is about representative democracy, how it works and ways to improve it.
Section 3 talks about public service: democratic schools, the army, etc.
And section 4 is all about the economy, how demand and supply works, and why the current system is unfair.

My Opinion

I quite liked the author’s writing style. Especially because it doesn’t read like a textbook; it’s engaging, never dry, and at times even funny. In fact, I was impressed by the number of humorous references and enjoyable stories about real-life events in this book. Reading about purely theoretical ideas (especially regarding politics or economics) without any connection to our lives can be tedious and feel rather pointless. However, that wasn’t the case here. Joss Sheldon has a talent for presenting complicated aspects in an easily understandable way, even for a layperson.

I appreciated all the real-life examples he provides. He offers a wide range of information: from democratic schools and co-ops to groups of people forcing their governments to act in their best interests. Joss Sheldon has done a great job collecting and explaining all these facts, showing what could be done better and what’s possible.
I don’t know how realistic the solutions the books offers are. Still, in my opinion, it’s a very thought-provoking and inspiring read.


I didn’t expect to enjoy the book as much as I did; it truly is a hidden gem. I learned so much from reading it, and I’ll definitely research some of the ideas I encountered in this book. If you’re interested in finding out more about our democratic systems and love to question the status quo, Democracy: A User’s Guide might be the perfect book for you.

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