10/22/2011 01:30 pm ET | Updated Dec 22, 2011

What Occupy Wall Street Can Learn From an Original Merry Prankster

All across the nation, there is a new vibration in the air.
There's a new generation, with a new explanation
So if you go to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

-Scott McKenzie

Before there was an Occupy Wall Street, or the 1967 Summer of Love, there was the Merry Prankster, a group of hipsters and writers surrounded by writer Ken Kesey.

The Pranksters had an important historic role as they were considered the bridge between the beatnik movement and the hippie movement. Their exploits were chronicled in many great book's including Tom Wolfe's great book, The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.

There is a lesson that Occupy Wall Street can take from the Flower Power movement: The Flower power people won. The war ended.

The hippie movement was a catalyst for bringing an end to the Vietnam war. They also created a cultural, fashion, literary and musical changes, many that have held up for the 44 years since the Summer of Love.

It also seems preordained that the great Merry Prankster, Ed McClanahan, just released his new book, I Just Hitched In From The Coast, at the same time the Occupy Wall Street movement arose.

McClanahan noted that he was more of a lover than a fighter. In separate, humorous chapters about how he almost burned his draft card but backed out and a day when Ken Kesey invited some radical black panthers to visit, McClanahan showed that he was not one to duke it out.

He wasn't punching police but scoring points for society in his own easy-going, friendly way. McClanahan, known as Captain Kentucky during his flower power days, new book is a "greatest hits" from a storied literary career that includes several books, award winning features for Esquire and Playboy and his novel, The Natural Man which was universally considered a classic from the day it was released.

McClanahan, reminds us that rebelling against authority does not have to involve violence, anger or even a well defined plan. The Merry Pranksters were against the war but they were mainly a bunch of great writers having a great time. That great time inspired a generation to make real and meaningful change.

In my new best seller, Wealth Without Wall Street: A Main Street Guide to Making Money, one of my primary themes is that how you live your life makes a political statement.

The Pranksters were an important point in McClanahan's life but not the stopping point. Most of his greatest work, such as The Natural Man, were written after the Summer of Love came to an end and the chapters of I Just Hitched in From The Coast reflect Ed's long and storied career.

Even if you don't have the slightest interest in Occupy Wall Street, I just Hitched in From The Coast is a great read. Entertaining, fun and written in a style that comes across an unusual friend with the gift of being a great storyteller.

If you are interested in advancing the cause of Occupy Wall Street, definitely read the book. It is not a primer for radicals or even intensely political but does allow you to glimpse a man who was part of a movement that changed the course of American history.

The same way the Occupy Wall Street protesters do.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the bestselling author of the book Wealth Without Wall Street: McNay, who lives in Richmond Kentucky, an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor. You can learn more about him at

He is the Chairman of the Board for the McNay Settlement Group ( which provides structured settlement consulting for injury victims, lottery winners, and the families of special needs children.

McNay founded Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC, which assists attorneys in as conservators and setting up guardianship's. It is nationally recognized as an administrator of Qualified Settlement (468b) funds.

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