by Jim Lesczynski
This is writer Jim Lesczynski’s first novel. And it is very well done. It is targeted for pre-teen to teenagers, but I found it entertaining to read as an older adult.
Like a Heinlein novel, the story takes place in the 1st Person as told though the life of a 12-year old boy whose recently impoverished family has dad in jail and mom shacked up with a not so caring man. Instead of outer space or on some far away planet, this 12-year old’s world is located in Walton, New York in the middle of a massive job layoff/depression.
These are the adventures of a boy and his 8 year old brother as they decide to go into business for themselves and the significant challenges that must be overcome. We advance between home life, public school life including the dreaded school bus, and the adventure in between which would be familiar to a 12-year old.
As the story evolves, we see the free market in action as middlemen are dispensed, and one successful business spawns other kids to form their own business to fill needs. Pretty soon, the underground “kid economy” is thriving amidst a collapsing adult economy. Like Willie Sutton, the government goes to where the money is. Tax collectors are enraged, and the army of government is unleashed to get its share in a time when the adult population is in the mist of an economic meltdown. Government taking on kids produces some hilarity, but any kid and any entrepreneur will recognize –and probably laugh at – the situations that arise in starting and growing a business, and dealing with the disasters and problems that crop up along the way.
The beauty of this book is that it hits upon and explains at an 8-year old level in a readily understandable and entertaining manner just about every libertarian principle. Though at one point there is a continuous Internet chat room back and forth that drones on multiple subjects a bit too long, but nowhere near one of Ayn Rand's missives. How fast the kids start to create and amass wealth will probably be viewed as unrealistic, but believe me, if you are not paying taxes or other fees to government, nor being bothered by edicts to conform to regulations; money can be accumulated very fast.
This book has a little something to tick off every statist on the planet. It does very well in persuading the reader to both libertarian principles and laissez faire markets. But a couple of areas I found unbelievable: One, government gave up way too easily and too bloodlessly in the novel. The ending, which I won’t give away, but essentially has the cavalry arriving both from out of nowhere, and in the nick of time to save the day has already been worn thread bear in literature and screen. Though this book offers strong moral lessons on the value of life, any life, which is reinforced at this time.
I highly recommend this book for anyone giving it four out of five stars.
Book Website: East River Press
Price: $9.95 272 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5, ISBN: 0979128307
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Mark Hoffman disrespects authority, cuts class at every opportunity, and suspects he knows better than nearly every adult in Walton, New York. He may be right—he is, after all, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the community. Between product rollouts and pie fights, Mark and his hilarious, money-hungry friends just might revive their dying hometown, if only the grown-ups would stop arresting them and shutting down their businesses.
About The Author
Like the heroes of The Walton Street Tycoons, Jim Lesczynski wanted to be wealthy and powerful from an early age. Lacking their talent and work ethic, however, he became a writer instead. Jim has been employed full-time as a writer for the last 20 years, mostly in the financial services industry. His political commentary has been featured in such publications as The New York Sun and Serf City, and his freedom activism has led to appearances on The Daily Show, News Night With Aaron Brown, Wolf Blitzer Reports, and countless talk radio programs. This is his first novel.
The Walton Street Tycoons by Jim Lesczynski is simply the best libertarian novel to come along in a quarter of a century or so... It has exactly the same true heart and unerring eye that we love in so many of Robert A. Heinlein's "juveniles"—books, in truth, fully as entertaining and engrossing to adults as they are to kids—a spirit and vision perfectly suited to the 21st century. —L. Neil Smith, four-time Prometheus Award winner and author of The Probability Broach.
Aired January 23, 2007 (Taped January 9, 2007) Host: Joseph Dobrian Guest: Jim Lesczynski, Author, “The Walton Street Tycoons” View this program on YouTube.
Author Jim Lesczynski will discuss The Walton Street Tycoons with Bruce Martin on 90.1 WUSB-FM, Stony Brook, Long Island, on February 20 at approximately 12:15 pm (EST). Listen live.