Thursday, July 3, 2008
what I'm reading: going public
One of the books I'm reading in my quest to improve bike and pedestrian safety is Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action. In the book, Michael Gecan details his work with various organizations who worked to improve life in inner cities. While the first sections of the book seem like mostly storytelling, you can get an idea of how ordinary citizens subverted power to accomplish positive change in their neighborhoods. The end of the book gives more pragmatic advice for how you can implement positive change in your own organizations. While most of the groups in the book were fighting serious social issues like poverty, crime, and corruption, its clear that the techniques can be used for a myriad of scenarios.
Verdict: The stories in the first part of the book were compelling enough to hold my interest, but if you want more pragmatic advice, skip to the last few chapters. It will definitely make you rethink the way you approach citizen organizations (and thanks to one of my favorite sections, the way you think about the market and bureaucracy as well.)
Oh, and speaking of organizations, I'm totally jonesing to get my hands on this book. Its been mentioned twice now on Worldchanging, and I can't wait to read it. Social media and organizations, I'm so there. I wonder if they would have it in the bookstore here at the beach...