Skip to main content

How do we live sane, healthy, and happy lives amid our hectic, shifting world?
Join Acton Institute for happy hour at San Chez Bistro featuring a lecture and Q&A from James Poulos, author of The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselves.

Limited seats available, register today!

Book cover and Poulos

Most of us probably don’t learn about Alexis de Tocqueville in school anymore, but his masterpiece, Democracy in America, is still surprisingly resonant. When he came to America in 1831 to study our great political experiment, he puzzled over our strange struggles with religion and politics, work and money, sex and gender, and love and death. Clearly we haven’t come as far as one might hope. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom―and it isn’t now. Tocqueville didn’t just catalog our problems; he provided a manual on how to flourish despite them. In The Art of Being Free, journalist and scholar James Poulos puts Tocqueville’s advice to work for a contemporary audience, showing us how to live sane, healthy, and happy lives amid our hectic, shifting world.

Poulos reveals what Tocqueville’s beloved study tells us about everything from our relationship to technology and our obsession with appearances to our workaholism, our listlessness, and our ways of coping with stress. He explores how our uniquely American malaise can be alleviated―not by the next wellness fad or self-help craze, but by the kind of fearless inventory-taking that has fallen out of fashion.

James ​Poulos ​is ​an ​internationally ​recognized ​writer ​and ​social ​theorist. ​His ​work ​on ​freedom ​and ​equality ​in ​publications ​such ​as ​National ​Affairs​Foreign ​Policy, ​Good, ​and ​Vice ​has ​won ​praise ​from ​The ​Atlantic​New ​York, ​and ​The ​New ​York ​Times. ​A ​columnist ​for ​The ​Week ​and ​The ​Federalist, ​he ​has ​appeared ​on ​HBO, ​MSNBC, ​and ​NPR. ​He ​received ​five ​fellowships ​in ​doctoral ​work ​at ​Georgetown. ​A ​director ​at ​the ​Heraion ​Foundation, ​he ​lives ​in ​Los ​Angeles.

Event Details

Start Date


San Chez A Tapas Bistro
38 Fulton Street West
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
United States


6:00pm- Cocktail Hour
6:30pm- Lecture Begins
7:00pm- Q&A
7:30pm- Book Signing

Acton on Tap is a new series of complimentary events sponsored by the Acton Alumni Association.


Beginning at 6:00pm, free ​​street ​​parking ​​is ​​available. ​​There ​​are ​​also ​​paid ​​parking ​​lots ​​nearby

More Upcoming Events