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Big Citizenship: How Pragmatic Idealism Can Bring Out the Best in America Hardcover – August 31, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586487868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586487867
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a young Harvard law graduate, Khazei resolved to serve his country by creating an urban organization in the style of the Peace Corps called City Year. Based in Boston, City Year has grown from a few volunteers into a massive operation with branches in 20 cities filled with young people eager to serve where they live. Khazei offers a touching memoir of what young entrepreneurs with vision can do to change not just communities but the world. Much of the book is dedicated to the pursuit of this ideal, with reference to Khazei's past efforts, Save AmeriCorps and Be the Change, allowing him to offer words of wisdom to other civically-minded would-be entrepreneurs. The late inclusion of a run for the United States Senate comes as a distraction, but may offer a further level of inspiration for readers. Khazei's Citizenship is an accessible motivational tale that is short on concrete advice but long on heart. END

Review

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, co-author of Built to Last
“Alan Khazei is the walking definition of a Big Citizen. One of the great entrepreneurs in America, he has created not just an idea, not just an organization, not just an impact—he has helped launch an enduring great movement that carries forth with exponential momentum. Read. Learn. Be inspired.”

Former Senator Harris Wofford
“You can read Alan Khazei's extraordinary book forward or backward, starting with his personal saga of social invention in founding City Year and becoming a major leader in the movement for national service, or you can start with his concluding section that conveys his larger vision of a Service Nation in bold detail. But read it. Khazei has rolled into one ball his rich experience and creative ideas that will challenge and inspire those ready to be big citizens, and make social entrepreneuring contagious.” 

Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
“Alan Khazei connects readers with the contagious enthusiasm and great ideas of the remarkable people he has met on his own inspiring journey of empowering young people. This is a must-read for anyone committed to bettering the world on a grand scale.”

Jeff Swartz, CEO of the Timberland Company
BIG CITIZENSHIP is not a ‘feel good’ book, not even a ‘do good’ book, but an invitation and challenge to ‘be good,’ written by one of the most accomplished social entrepreneurs of this generation—or any other generation. Alan Khazei lives the change he seeks to create, and Big Citizenship is the story telling invitation to each of us to be the Big Citizen we can each of us be.” 

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian
“‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others,’ Robert Kennedy famously wrote, “he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.’ No one better exemplifies the truth of these words than Alan Khazei, the co-founder of City Year. In this stirring call to arms, Khazei lays out a path for the renewal of America, which should provoke conversation, debate and action.” 

Brad Meltzer, author of The Tenth Justice
“Forget the debate between big and small government. BIG CITIZENSHIP gives an alternative—and far more inspiring—answer. From being one of the creators of City Year, to his work preserving AmeriCorps, Khazei knows exactly how idealism works.” 

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor, Harvard Business School, and author of Confidence and SuperCorp
BIG CITIZENSHIP is a brilliant tour de force and force for change. Alan Khazei masterfully weaves together a big idea for the future of America with his personal journey as a savvy leader building a successful national organization and social movement. His engaging story will both inspire and yield practical models for action."

Boston Globe, August 31, 2008
“Alan Khazei extols the virtues of volunteerism and service in “Big Citizenship,’’ a combination memoir and call to action that lays out a framework for everyday people to solve major social issues.”

Educated Quest, September 22, 2010
“A very appropriate and useful book for a student interested in public and non-profit management or an executive who is considering a role in serving others.”

 


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Customer Reviews

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If you are someone who has ever wanted to help change the world, this is the book for you.
Jim McCorkell
Alan Khazei's story is remarkable, and his idea of Big Citizenship is a refreshing way to remind us all that we are valuable contributors to our communities.
Brady Moore
His writing style is approached from a series of stories that could even be considered essays all of which have a life of their own.
Drew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kaitlyn Beck on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
From the first Page this book makes you feel as though anything is possible if you are passionate enough. It is not someone telling you a beautifully written tale that is hard to imagine. This book shows exactly how creating change and paving your own future is possible. Incredibly empowering, heartfelt and inspirational. This book needs to be at the top of your book list. It will not only change the way you view the world, it will change the way you view your role in it. READ THIS BOOK!! I reccomend this to anyone and everyone!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Emily Cherniack on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alan's book about Big Citizenship is an incredible journey of how you can create change in the world. You feel like the impossible can be achieved. I recommend this for anyone who has ever wanted to make a difference--in their community, business, government, or education system. If all of us were "big citizens" imagine what our world would be like! A must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By an avid reader on September 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot say enough good things about this beautiful book. It is idealistic without being naive, gripping without being overblown, and a fabulous testament to the power of each of us to effect change. It is NOT a boring owner's manual, but a riveting pageturner -- offering clear advice about how each of us can embrace our inner citizen as seen through Alan Khazei's decades of experiences on the front lines of service. Share this book with everyone who has ever dreamed of making our world a better place; it will inspire and motivate!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greenleaf on September 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're concerned about where this country is headed, about our divided politics and seemingly selfish, materialistic culture, this is the book you've been waiting for. Alan Khazei turned down a career in corporate law to co-found City Year, a non-profit youth service group that became a movement, blazing a new trail as a social entrepreneur. His story is a tonic for our times. Best of all, this isn't one of those tedious all-about-me memoirs that successful leaders often write to burnish their image and build the personal brand. It's written in a warm human voice that draws you in from the first page.

Early on, recalling his childhood as the son of a hardworking immigrant family, Khazei says that as he boarded the school bus each day, his Italian-American mom would shout out, "I love you, Alan!" He was mortified, as any kid would be. "But," he continues, "I learned from her the power of unconditional love." And that's really the theme here. Love of others, love of community and country, love of freedom and all the possibilities it offers us to build a better world. In Big Citizenship, Khazei shows how to grasp that potential and DO something with it. This book isn't ultimately about him, it's about us and the enormous benefits we can reap, individually and collectively, by getting back in touch with our own idealism and putting it into practice.

A great read, highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cristina Sinclaire on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For years, I've described my political views as Pragmatic Idealism. In this book, Alan Khazei lays out exactly what I've meant by that. It's about balancing a longer vision of a better world with the concrete steps we can take to get us there. Alan's story--from founding City Year to building a National Service Movement--is an inspiring one that shows with passion and action anyone is capable of making change. I am energized by this book and recommend it to anyone interested in seeking a better world for all. Big Citizenship isn't just an idea or an action, it's a lifestyle.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brady Moore on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
To say that this book is inspiring is an understatement. It outlines not only an optimistic vision for the future, but the path to get us there. The pages are full of examples of social changes that we can make as individuals, and how overall we excel when we invest in ourselves and our communities. Alan Khazei's book should be read by every person who seeks to better our world, and should be regarded as one of the most sensible roadmaps to get us on track. It is for world leaders, students, parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. Each will feel empowered to add value to his or her community in a new way. Alan Khazei's story is remarkable, and his idea of Big Citizenship is a refreshing way to remind us all that we are valuable contributors to our communities. I hope this becomes the first in a series by the author!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CWill on August 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Big Citizenship is such an enjoyable and fascinating read. I am admittedly not an avid reader, but Alan's tale of starting City Year with his college roommate from within (almost literally) their college dorm room and bringing it to the vehicle for change it is today was so engaging and inspiring that I couldn't put the book down. This book made me realize how powerful citizenship can be!
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