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Change the World : How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Results Hardcover – April, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0787951931 ISBN-10: 0787951935 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787951935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787951931
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Quinn's Change the World offers profound yet practical guidance for those who truly want to improve their surroundings. Quinn, a University of Michigan professor and author of five books on change and organizational performance, bases Changeon eight "seed thoughts" drawn from the philosophies of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. After relevant quotations from each, he cites contemporary real-life examples to show how these principles--Envision the Productive Community, First Look Within, Embrace the Hypocritical Self, Transcend Fear, Embody a Vision of the Common Good, Disturb the System, Surrender to the Emergent Process, and Entice Through Moral Power--can really be used. "All our lives we have been explicitly and implicitly taught to see human influence as an exercise in domination," Quinn writes. By learning instead to practice a new type of "transformational behavior," he suggests, even "ordinary people" can have "extraordinary impact." The section on asserting moral authority, for example, segues from his own fifth-grade coaching experiences to those of basketball superstar Larry Bird to details on building a bond between "change agents and change targets" that effects desirable modifications. Recommended for anyone open to new ideas on motivation and stimulating change. --Howard Rothman

From Booklist

A University of Michigan professor and author (Deep Change, among others) has the audacity to state that previous strategies for change are ineffective, positing a fourth--called ACT, or Advanced Change Theory--that includes and transcends the rest. It is hard to argue with someone who, through a combination of dense psychotherapeutic text and lively examples, debates his own theory and its eight steps. In fact, Quinn starts with a holy triumvirate of heroes who, in themselves, are difficult to naysay--Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King--and then are quoted at the beginning of each chapter. Yet, despite few graphics and Germanic sentences, his message is clear: to become a change agent, you must first change yourself and then immerse yourself in the common good, disturb the system, and "set the truth free." Not intended as a popular read but rather as a provocative challenge to nonleaders and leaders alike. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Robert E. Quinn is chair of the Department of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at the University of Michigan School of Business. He is coauthor of Becoming a Master Manager (1990).

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Please read this book.
E. Ruzek
Overcome your disbelief and misconception stalls about making beneficial changes!
Donald Mitchell
The book was a great read and informative.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Most books on change posit the concept that the leader has to change herself or himself before the organization or community can improve. This book sets a high standard by encouraging ordinary people to follow the examples of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
I heard Norman Schwartzkopf speak once about leadership. He said, "Be the leader you would like to have." That's the essence of this book.
Each principle is established by showing a quote from each of the three models, and then is followed by stories of ordinary people as well as those in major organizations.
The principles expressed here entail going several psychological levels lower into the human psyche than I have seen in other leadership books.
"Envision the productive community" is important as a first step, because chances are no one else sees the way that the people could cooperate to create much more. Human beings have trouble imagining what they have not yet seen, so those who are good at this can provide very valuable guidance to the others.
"First look within" is a good second step because it concentrates oneself on why one wants to change. It is very easy to want the change for the wrong reasons (pride, self-esteem, or misdirected ego). You have to purge that and focus on selfless reasons for changing.
"Embrace the hypocritical self" was very impressive to me as a concept. Almost every leader I know is actually partly driven by hypocritical motives. Even the Stephen Covey books show examples where he seems to have been operating hypocritically. I sense this issue in many of my consulting projects, and find that it is difficult for people to address this.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey L. Seglin on January 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Typically a top management team goes off for three days," writes the author Quinn. "They hole up in a room with lots of flip charts and go to work." Then he says that when they're through they typically write words on small cards and pass them out to employees. Sadly, he observes these cards are "ignored and things go on as before." The premise underlying this book is that Quinn would have us care enough to change this way of thinking. The key, he says, is to stop doing things out of self-interest and start identifying and going after the shared goals of the group. He does a nice job of working good examples into his text. He also points out how risky it is to be a true leader since it involves overcoming a fear of failure when trying something new. He also does a nice job of making clear that hierarchy in itself is not a bad thing; it's only bad when they're perceived as mechanisms that result in getting nothing done. "Hierarchies become frozen bureaucracies due to the failure of human courage." He makes a compelling case for why it's crucial to skip the hollow words and dare to lead toward change. Only then can organizations hope for real change.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Hopefully, you have already read some (if not all) of Quinn's earlier books, especially Deep Change which serves as an excellent introduction to this one. In the Preface, he explains that this book "is about changing the world. It is about coming to a deep understanding of human beings and human relationships." He then adds, "The book focuses on vision, unconditional confidence, and profound impact. It is about the mastery of human influence, transformational power, and the capacity to accomplish extraordinary things. It argues that everyone of us is a change agent." It is important to add, that Quinn advocates "deep change" as opposed to "incremental change." Moreover, no organization can achieve deep change unless and until those within that organization achieve deep change. So as I understand it, each of us must assume full authority as well as responsibility for (and have control of) our personal development. "There is a language of transformation. Yet most of us are cut off from that language. All our lives we have been explicitly taught to see human influence as an exercise in domination." Even the most sensitive among us is shaped by this paradigm or worldview. But this outlook prevents us from seeing more deeply into the actual workings of human systems. This book demonstrates an alternative system."
Quinn recalls the remark by Oliver Wendell Holmes that he placed little value in simplicity that lay on this side of complexity but a great deal of value on simplicity that lay on the other side. The framework within which Quinn presents his material comes from the "seed thoughts" of people who have mastered "the language of transformation.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sandy M; Focus Reviews on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Amazon recommended this book to me since I purchased Jackie Robinson: My Own Story and I've just been so inspired by it all. As I read Quinn's 8 priciples for personal and organization change, I actually had one of those "doh!" moments that wrapped together the thoughts that "I know this already, why did I have to read a book to have it click?" and "right book at the right time!"

In a clear, articulate, and insightful manner, Robert Quinn guides you to a better understanding of how everyone can enact positive change. While he used Martin Luther King and Ghandi as examples of ordinary people achieving the extraordinary, I had Jackie Robinson in mind as well!
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