Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World

Overview

"Empowering . . . sweepingly ambitious . . . . Rosenberg's case studies are as different as they are fascinating . . . A brilliant book." —Abraham Verghese, Newsweek
A winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Tina Rosenberg has spent her career tackling some of the world’s hardest problems. Now, through striking stories from around the globe, Rosenberg shows how positive peer pressure can change people’s behavior and solve seemingly intractable social quandaries. In every case, pioneering social ...

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Overview

"Empowering . . . sweepingly ambitious . . . . Rosenberg's case studies are as different as they are fascinating . . . A brilliant book." —Abraham Verghese, Newsweek
A winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Tina Rosenberg has spent her career tackling some of the world’s hardest problems. Now, through striking stories from around the globe, Rosenberg shows how positive peer pressure can change people’s behavior and solve seemingly intractable social quandaries. In every case, pioneering social entrepreneurs throw out the old models for social change in favor of humanity’s most powerful and abundant resource: our connections with one another. The result is one of those rare books that will not only revolutionize the way you look at the world but also give you the power to change it.

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Editorial Reviews

Jeffrey D. Sachs
Rosenberg valuably reminds us that the success of a society depends on the strength of its communities, because the development of our best traits—trust, honesty, foresight, responsibility and compassion—depends upon our close interactions with others. At a time when America is grappling with a decline in trust, and when cooperation across nations and cultures is extremely difficult, Rosenberg's book is timely, thoughtful and important. It illuminates one crucial piece of the complex puzzle of social ­improvement.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The ability of peer groups to affect behavioral change takes on positive connotations when applied to social activism in this ambitious, evocatively written treatment of what the author calls "the social cure." Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Rosenberg (The Haunted Land), recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, explores join-the-club strategies for progressive causes: South Africa's AIDS-awareness group, loveLife; Serbia's student-led anti-Milosevic democracy movement, Otpor; India's rural health-worker program in Jamkhed; a Christian faith-building community in suburban Chicago; and a teen-driven antismoking campaign in Florida. Overcoming the limited efficacy of the usual models—for instance, information-dispersing approaches to behavioral modification—these cases all successfully employ peer groups and in-group lifestyle campaigns in service of their respective social and political goals. Results range from decreases in teen smoking to the overthrow of oppressive governments. Citing a Brixton-based drop-in center aimed at young British Muslims, she explores the degree to which the fight against terrorism might itself be amenable to a peer group approach. Rosenberg's immersion in the issues and considered reflections on the power of peer groups to shape personal and social action brings an urgency to a strategy as old as any in civilization's arsenal. (Mar.)
USA Today
A solution that is simple yet profound, and rooted in human nature.— Deirdre Donahue
Boston Globe
Rosenberg is an uncommonly incisive and empathetic observer.— Jonathan Liu
New York Times Book Review
Timely, thoughtful and important.— Jeffrey D. Sachs
Newsweek
“Sweepingly ambitious...Rosenberg’s case studies are as different as they are fascinating...the ideas in Join the Club are exciting, and they immediately make one consider professional and personal obstacles in one’s own life that might be amenable to a “join the club” solution. It is an empowering idea.”
The Daily Beast
“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tina Rosenberg spots a brewing social phenomenon: the power of groups to motivate positive changes. Using stories to illustrate this premise in action, Rosenberg describes how positive peer pressure reduced teen smoking in the U.S., improved the health and prosperity of Indian villages, helped minority students earn the highest grades, and hastened the fall of Slobodan Milosevic.”
Tim Weiner
“Tina Rosenberg has cracked a code that reveals how people change for the better. She has found the common humanity in human communities across the earth. Join the Clubwill open your mind to the ways in which we can heal our world.”
Deirdre Donahue - USA Today
“A solution that is simple yet profound, and rooted in human nature.”
Jonathan Liu - Boston Globe
“Rosenberg is an uncommonly incisive and empathetic observer.”
Jeffrey D. Sachs - New York Times Book Review
“Timely, thoughtful and important.”
Library Journal
E.M. Forster bade us to "only connect," and that is the message of this splendid book, an accessible treatment of the use of peer pressure as a force for positive change, with far-reaching implications for researchers and public policymakers in both government and the private sector. "A few years ago, if anyone had asked me about the transformational ability of positive peer pressure, I would have thought of Alcoholics Anonymous," writes the MacArthur- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Rosenberg (contributing writer, New York Times Magazine; The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism) in her conclusion, "Now I see the possibilities everywhere." Her wide-ranging examples of positive results from peer pressure include the reduction in U.S. teen smoking, minority students closing the achievement gap, and other successful grassroots efforts. Although four of her accounts here were published in earlier versions, there is enough additional material to justify the purchase of this volume. VERDICT There are, to be sure, plenty of studies documenting the negative effects of peer pressure, e.g., Pamela Paul's Parenting, Inc. This book serves as an antidote. Promotional material likening it to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point does it a grievous disservice. Highly recommended.—Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848313002
  • Publisher: Icon Books, Ltd. UK
  • Publication date: 8/28/2011

Meet the Author

Tina Rosenberg

Tina Rosenberg, the winner of a MacArthur grant, is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Her last book, The Haunted Land, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Join the Club xi

1 Turning Positive 1

2 The Empire of Irrationality 21

3 Righteous Rebels 43

4 Corporate Tools 63

5 The Calculus Club 97

6 Angels of Change 125

7 A Problem That Has No Name 159

8 The Party 211

9 The Judo of Fear 249

10 Next 283

Acknowledgments 353

Notes 355

Bibliography 371

Index 381

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    highly recommended

    I loved this book. It is so optimistic and full of good ideas for those of us who want to change the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    Price?

    The price seems a little high at $14.27, but it seems like a good book. I am inpressed with her knowledge of the material and the book's readability.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 7, 2011

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    Posted March 30, 2011

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    Posted August 27, 2011

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    Posted June 16, 2011

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