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Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change [Paperback]

by Nick Cooney
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1, 2010 159056233X 978-1590562338
Should anti-war protestors use graphic images to get public support for their cause, or will such images turn the public off? In encouraging the public to adopt sustainable behaviors, should environmental organizations ask for small changes like using fluorescent light bulbs or big changes like giving up cars? Why do most Americans say they oppose the cruel practices of factory farms and sweatshops yet still buy products from these places? And how can non-profits get more people to say yes to their requests to volunteer, donate, recycle, write a letter to a political prisoner, support gay rights, go vegetarian, conserve energy or make other positive changes?

Scientific research has generated a wealth of information on how people can be persuaded to alter their behaviors, yet this body of knowledge has been largely ignored by those working to improve society. Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change brings this information to light so that non-profits, community organizers and others can make science-driven decisions in their advocacy work. The book examines over 80 years of empirical research in areas including social psychology, communication studies, diffusion studies, network systems and social marketing, distilling the highlights into easy-to-use advice and serving as a psychology primer for anyone wanting to spread progressive social change.

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Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change + The Animal Activist's Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today's World (Flashpoint (Lantern))
Price for both: $30.19

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nick Cooney is the founder and director of The Humane League, an animal advocacy organization based in Philadelphia, PA that focuses on farm animal protection issues. Nick has written for publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and Z Magazine, and his advocacy work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio. Nick holds a degree in Non-Violence Studies from Hofstra University and formerly worked conducting nutrition education programs with the University of Pennsylvania's Urban Nutrition Initiative.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Lantern Books (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159056233X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590562338
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Cooney is the founder of The Humane League, an animal advocacy that focuses on farm animal protection issues. He is als the Compassionate Communities Campaign Manager at Farm Sanctuary, the country's largest farm animal protection organization. Nick has written for publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Z Magazine, and VegNews Magazine, and his advocacy work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio. A frequent lecturer, he has spoken to hundreds of classrooms, community groups, and conferences on animal advocacy and social change. He is a graduate of Hofstra University.

Nick can be contacted at nick.cooney // at // gmail.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a great book that should be necessary reading for anyone in the non-profit field, whatever your cause may be. Whether you're a volunteer, an executive director, or looking to start a group of your own, check this one out.

As advocates for social change we should understand why people believe the things they do, and why they do the things they do. Most of us that are trying to change people's behaviors and beliefs can get easily frustrated when we put in so much work and don't get the results we had hoped for -- this book will help you understand people better, and therefore be better at influencing people to adopt more kind and compassionate behaviors.

By using years of marketing and psychological studies, Cooney compiles it all together and applies it to activism. It's definitely a one of a kind book that is well-written and easy to understand (even if you don't know anything about psychology). While reading it I was constantly thinking, "How could I apply these ideas and discoveries to my advocacy work?" And that's what the book makes you do -- it helps you to think differently, critically and more effectively on creating social change.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Whatever your cause and whatever your profession, if you're someone who wishes to use psychology and influence as a force of good, you will deeply benefit from "Change of Heart." Cooney draws on classic and novel research in psychology to provide a window into why people believe the things they believe, do the the things they do, and how people can be led to do better. Cooney doesn't just spew off psychological research though, he relates his own experiences as an activist who acted on many misguided (albeit common) assumptions about human nature and learned to be more effective. From front to back the book is teeming with insights into how people think, act, and make choices. I recently read Nudge, a great book on psychology and behavioral economics from a public policy angle and I kept thinking 'there should really be a book like this but geared toward social change.' Thankfully, Nick Cooney wrote it! It's rare to find a book that is both fascinating on an intellectual level and actionable on a day-to-day practical level. This book is loads of both.

After reading "Change of Heart", you will be armed with powerful psychological insights in your efforts to help others and promote a better world.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Applied psychology for activists January 18, 2011
By Alex B
Format:Paperback
This book is the most practical application of psychology (largely social psychology) that I've seen, and it should be required reading for every amateur and professional activist. The author, in a very readable style, describes how people are and are not swayed to changed their behaviors, and how you can do the swaying. The book weaves some wry humor into what is very much a handbook-style work, and includes fascinating personal anecdotes from the author's experience in (mostly animal rights) activism.

Having been involved in activism myself for years, what struck me most while reading Change of Heart was how far from ideal and effective most real-world activism is. Most activists' efficiency -- that is, getting the most change for their resources and effort -- would be greatly increased by reading and applying the principles outlined here. So you, pamphleteer, and you, executive director, and you, grant-writer: this book is for you!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I've been a social justice advocate for over 25 years and always want to improve my outreach to be the most effective activist possible. This book showed me tangible ways to perfect my outreach activities and I know I will be a better person and activist because of it. Thanks to Mr. Cooney for doing all the research and work to teach us how to change the world for the better.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly helpful and inspiring. January 18, 2011
Format:Paperback
This is easily one of the best books on activism that I have read. It succeeds at a very difficult task: providing the reader with TONS of scientific data and information while simultaneously remaining practical and easy to read. Cooney answers basic questions that all activists ask themselves, and backs up his answers with hard facts. Never boring and always useful, this is going to remain a permanent part of my library. I look forward to giving a copy to activists that I work with, as I know it will help them be more effective in what they do! If you are interested in changing the world, you should start by ordering this book RIGHT NOW!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Phil L
Format:Paperback
I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in spreading social change. Nick Cooney shows how we can use scientific research to better our efforts at attempting to create a better world. Businesses use research to understand how to influence people to buy their products. Why shouldn't we social justice advocates use research to influence people to adopt compassionate behaviors? Social justice advocates of any cause must read this book!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really wonderful book January 16, 2011
Format:Paperback
I found this to be a very insightful book and recommend it to those seeking to promote positive social change. Cooney lays out the argument that we can improve our advocacy efforts by studying research into what motivates people to change, and then gives us a tour through that research and shows how we can each be better advocates. Good for beginners and long-time social justice advocates alike.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all who hope for a better world
Regardless of which positive social change you're passionate about, this book is a must-read. It shares what we know from social science, some of which will surprise you, some of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Bassett
5.0 out of 5 stars Change of Perspective
I love reading about new and different ideas. This book satisfies both the new AND different elements and should be read by anyone who is interested in a change of perspective... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sheila A. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for activists
So much to be learned from this magnificent book. Cooney is really a brilliant activist and his research-based words of wisdom are invaluable.
Published 6 months ago by AndreaG
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for activists!
In this book you'll learn excellent research-based strategies for making strong positive changes within society through effective activism. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Boris Yakubchik
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone trying to produce social or behavioral change
“Change of Heart” is easily among the Top 3 books on advocacy that I have ever read.

Author Nick Cooney, who is a skilled and experienced advocate himself, presents a... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jeffrey Cohan
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done, with a map and a gate
I was skeptical about buying a book from a non-academic on this topic: "Who is this kid, and what could he possibly have to offer? Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any new or seasoned activist!
I am just beginning my venture into animal-rights activism, having become vegan about a year ago. I've tried to influence my family and friends' attitudes/behaviors, but have been... Read more
Published 23 months ago by James DeAlto
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I absolutely loved this book, it was so interesting and inspired me to go out and actually do something. Read more
Published on April 2, 2012 by TracyP
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ideas go Beyond Social Change
Prior to reading this book, the best book I ever read was "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. But "Change of Heart" surpassed "Blink" in insight and ease of reading. Read more
Published on June 28, 2011 by Brian Patrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with a lot of good tips for changing lives.
Change of Heart is excellent source of hints & tips to get your message out. Especially for passionate people who tend to be over zealous.
Published on April 24, 2011 by Gregory J Gaynor
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