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Stick Your Neck Out: A Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond
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Stick Your Neck Out: A Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond [Kindle Edition]

John Graham
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As President of the Giraffe Heroes Project, which since 1982 has been recognizing people who "stick their necks out for the common good," John Graham has seen what hundreds of average citizens around the world have done to bring about constructive change. He's drawn on their experiences, his own as a veteran environmental activist, and that of a hand-picked group of seasoned activists to produce an accessible, eminently practical, inspiring guide on how to work effectively for change in any environment.
Stick Your Neck Out covers every aspect of working for change, from choosing an issue to mapping out a strategy, getting a team together, building alliances, working with the media, and more. Each chapter contains a series of practical tips as well as inspiring examples of real people--artists, truck drivers, doctors, waitresses, and others--who have made a difference on issues like poverty, racism, gang violence, environmental pollution, and many more. Everything in this book has been honed and practiced; nothing is untested theory.
This is a comprehensive guide to the skills, qualities, and strategies you need to make a difference on any issue. But it's also about becoming fully alive--about the meaning and passion you can add to your own life by getting involved. Active citizenship and personal growth are linked. The information in this book can change your world--and it can change your life.

Editorial Reviews


Read this book and come alive. -- Vicki Robin, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life, and cofounder, Conversation Cafes and Let’s Talk America

This book is about creating change. Here are practical suggestions on how you can help create the changes you desire. -- Millard Fuller, Founder and President, Habitat for Humanity International

About the Author

John Graham's first job upon leaving the Foreign Service in 1980 after 15 years service was lecturing aboard a luxury cruise ship. 140 miles out into the Gulf of Alaska, the Prinsendam caught fire and began to sink. His lifeboat lost in a violent storm, Graham was finally pulled to safety, and to a new sense of what his life was about. He began by creating a series of lectures and workshops on creating political and social change. In 1983, these merged with the Giraffe Project, a national program inspiring people to stick their necks out for the common good. The Project finds ordinary people acting with extraordinary courage on a broad range of important issues--then tells their stories to millions of others through the media, and in schools. Graham, now the Project's President, is a familiar keynote speaker on themes of leadership, courage, meaning and service. He also leads Giraffe Project workshops, helping organizations, businesses and individuals handle their challenges more effectively. His work in mediating conflict has brought him eye-to-eye with, among others, leaders of apartheid and of the Khmer Rouge.

Product Details

  • File Size: 541 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (April 14, 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LY2FTO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,081 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Inspirational September 15, 2005
The impulse to seek change in neighborhood or community comes from the heart, but even the most dedicated heart can falter when the head says "What was I thinking?". As one who has been in exactly that position, I can say that this book is for the head. It offers practical advice that will be useful to anyone who has taken on a cause, however small, to make the neighborhood or community a better place. The practical how-to's are presented by someone who really has been there and done those things, and illustrated by examples from other ordinary people and their work. And by showing the reader that he/she is not alone, the book works to encourage and inspire those who have taken on the risk of citizen activism (as differentiated from paid activism). The book is helpful to the activist because it can be read in parts and provides quick summaries. There is help here for that panicked "Oh my god, I just got my first call from a reporter" moment. Indeed, any weakness in the book is that length constraints caused some situations that would have been helpful to be left out. And read as a whole narrative, it makes an interesting and thought provoking tale of what is right (and wrong) with our country today-- a view from the trenches, not the think tanks. The book is a work of great optimism based on the premise that we as ordinary citizens can change the world one neighborhood at a time. We are doing it every day. The only question is, will there be enough of us?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It certainly has been the case for as long as I can remember. Stop and think about the community where you reside or about the organizations you might belong to. Isn't it usually just a tiny fraction of the citizens or membership who wind up doing most of the work? And the problem has become even more acute in recent years as fewer and fewer people are willing to even join civic, religious or service organizations let alone do any meaningful work. Having said that there are still millions of folks around our nation who unselfishly lend their time and talent to the causes they believe in. If you are one of these good people then "Stick Your Neck Out" is definitely a book you should read. Author John Graham, President of an organization known as the Giraffe Heroes Project has created a volume that is just chock full of practical advice and useful suggestions for those who see the value in getting involved. Among other things you will learn how to recruit like-minded volunteers, formulate a plan of action, negotiate with opponents, raise money and deal with the media. In addition "Stick Your Neck Out" offers a number of inspiring profiles of ordinary people who are out there accomplishing extraordinary things while working on a wide variety of issues. This book is especially valuable as a source of encouragment for those folks contemplating getting involved in such matters for the very first time.

"Stick Your Neck Out: A Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change In Your Community and Beyond" would be a great book to give to a graduating high school or college student. The message of this book is clear. Each and every one of us has something to offer. Whatever your interests or political persuasion the possibilities for making a difference are virtually limitless. In "Stick Your Neck Out" John Graham illustrates this point over and again. It is a book I can highly recommend!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's The Best! August 20, 2005
Having been a participant in the Island County Case Study cited by John, I can attest from experience that the guidance this book offers is the very best available - and it works!. It is the best book of its type out there in my opinion because it represents tested approaches to being an active community participant, in particular in the public process. I'm impressed that John frankly admits to mistakes made and corrected from the experience because that too is instructive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding August 29, 2005
You will find this book not only a source of very practical ideas, but also a rich and thought provoking read. Whether you want to organize a block party or spark opposition to urban sprawl, this book tells you how to be effective in organizing a social enterprise. But it is far more than a cookbook for project management. Interleaved with the no-nonsense `how-to' information, John Graham reveals the personal philosophy he forged and tested in his personal journey from his Viet Nam years to now. The subtitle `Service as the path of a meaningful life' hints at what you will find in the book's pages. It is great as a textbook for project planning, group dynamics, negotiation, and success. But it is also an inspiring guide for achieving genuine personal fulfillment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE March 7, 2006
If you are familiar with the Giraffe Heroes Project ([...] you will know of John Graham.

Stick Your Neck Out, his latest book,is one I recommend for

citizen activists (that's you, and me...Graham gives tools to help any of us stop complaining and take action).

This guide reads easily and is packed with helpful information and inspiring case studies. His suggestions are holistic and soulful, while still grounded in the realities and challenges of changemaking in today's world of polarized views. He advocates win/win solutions as optimal, but offers advice on how and when legal means might be necessary.

If you aren't already motivated to take action to improve situations in your neighborhood, community, country, or planet, Graham's sharing of his heart, experience, and optimism will move you to action. His message: take risks, be smart (by learning from his and others' mistakes), and yes, YOU absolutely can make a positive difference!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars works its purpose
simple read yet informative. focused towards its purpose for advocacy and bountiful volunteerism. Ideas are vlear to direct the reader
Published 9 months ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Read It Twice and May Refer Back To It For Years
Since my life goal is to make a difference and be the change I want to see, this is an excellent how-to-do it book. I read it twice and will be referring back to it for years. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Maryellen Grady
4.0 out of 5 stars It was like new
I liked the fact that it wasn't used at all. There were no makings, highlighted areas or dents on it.
Published 20 months ago by Heidi Salgado
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid motivating read
I was looking for a book to jump start getting a community organization going. This book gave some good examples and good ideas of how things can turn out. Read more
Published on March 10, 2010 by Christopher Wales
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Easy to Read
This book is easy to browse, and its advice is made more accessible though many anecdotal examples. A worthwhile investment no matter what your level of experience is in creating... Read more
Published on August 22, 2005 by Margaret Elwood
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for people who want to bring change
This is a superb book for those who want to take active steps to bring change in their community. However large or small the change you wish to effect, this book guides you through... Read more
Published on August 21, 2005 by E. Peters
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More About the Author

I shipped out on a freighter when I was sixteen, took part in the first ascent of Mt. McKinley's North Wall at twenty, and hitchhiked around the world at twenty-two. A Foreign Service Officer for fifteen years, I was in the middle of the revolution in Libya and the war in Vietnam. For three years in the mid-seventies, I was a member of NATO's top-secret Nuclear Planning Group, then served as a foreign policy advisor to Senator John Glenn. As an assistant to Ambassador Andrew Young at the United Nations, I was deeply involved in U.S. initiatives in Southern Africa, South Asia and Cuba.

By most measures, I was very successful. But something was missing.

In 1980, a close brush with death aboard a burning cruise ship in the North Pacific forced me to a deeper search for meaning in my life. Now out of the Foreign Service, I began teaching better ways of handling challenge and conflict. Since 1983 I've been a leader of the Giraffe Heroes Project, an international organization moving people to stick their necks out for the common good. The Project finds ordinary people acting with extraordinary courage on a broad range of important issues, then tells their stories to millions of others through the media, and in schools.

I'm a familiar keynote speaker on themes of leadership, courage, meaning and service. I also leads Giraffe Heroes Project workshops, helping organizations, businesses and individuals handle their challenges more effectively.I've done TV and radio all over the world and articles about me have appeared in major magazines and newspapers.

I'm the author of Outdoor Leadership, It's Up to Us (a mentoring book for teens), Stick Your Neck Out--A Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond, and Sit Down Young Stranger, my new memoir (>.

I'm active today as an international peacemaker, focusing on the Middle East and Africa. I have a degree in geology from Harvard and one in engineering from Stanford, neither of which I ever expect to use.


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