"Seven Principles of Good Government", by Gary Johnson

Brian Gongol

One-paragraph review: It's easy to dismiss the Libertarian Party as an institution because of some of the outlandish and quirky behavior of some of its members. But it would be a mistake to dismiss the seriousness of the principles Gary Johnson espouses in his 2012 campaign book. After two terms as the governor of New Mexico, Johnson ran for the White House in 2012 and departed from the Republican Party after it became clear he didn't have a viable path to the nomination. While it was quixotic to run in 2012 against a sitting President and an experienced major-party challenger, Johnson's principles of government ought to be attractive to a broad spectrum of the population. He does not advocate for radical anarcho-libertarianism, but rather for a strongly restrained Federal government that acts as a trustee of the public's funds and interests and seeks to return as much of those directly to the public as possible. It really isn't a radical agenda he espouses; just a faithful (if vigilant) small-government orthodoxy. The book is a swift read and easy to digest -- if anything, it could have stood to be longer and even more detailed -- and aside from leaning too hard on quotations of old press clippings (perhaps as a means of proving Johnson's bona fides as a serious governor) and a handful of diversions into Johnson's interest in exercise and athletics, it's a strong campaign profile for those who don't necessarily realize they are libertarians (if not capital-L Libertarians) at heart.

Verdict: Johnson's book is actually even more mainstream in 2016 than it was in 2012 -- and well worth reading; the campaign is making a mistake by not printing and giving away millions of copies