All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity Hardcover – June 11, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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—Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes (the inspiration for the film Mean Girls) and Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads
“Fuller has it right: many are just plain tired of the somebodies stealing their dignity…. [He] provides us a roadmap to a better society, one that’s characterized by equal dignity for all.”
—Robert Spanogle, National Adjutant, The American Legion
"If only all the problems in the world were just about money, or land, or religion, or racism. But in fact, they're about power. All of these things are just excuses for the ugly tendency of those in power to abuse those without it. Worse, power often seduces the powerless as much as it corrupts the powerful. Fuller exposes these ugly dynamics—and in exposing them, helps to make them easier to overturn."
—Esther Dyson, Internet guru, Editor, Release 1.0
“All Rise gives us the essential tools to fight abuses of rank and to build high-performing institutions and organizations based on respect. It is the operating manual for leaders who recognize the latent power of each individual to make a difference in a free and fair society.”
—Wes Boyd, Co-founder, MoveOn.org
"This important and useful book, which is not a critique of the concept of rank, but of its abuse, should be read by leaders of ALL failing institutions, particularly those in the public school system. It is a sad commentary on our society that this statement in favor of human dignity should be so necessary at this time."
—A. Lawrence Chickering, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
“Robert Fuller looks at life through a provocative and unusual lens. Even if you begin by thinking your own worldview is different, you will nonetheless find here an array of observations that leave you intrigued, surprised, and unexpectedly nodding your head in agreement.”
—Adam Hochschild, Founder, Mother Jones, and author of Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves
“No value is more needed in today’s world than respect for the dignity of others. In this brilliant treatise, Fuller cogently argues the case for redesigning our social institutions to create a ‘dignitarian society.’ His wise recommendations deserve to be widely read—and implemented.”
—William Ury, coauthor of Getting to Yes and author The Third Side
- Publisher : Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Annotated edition (June 11, 2006)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1576753859
- ISBN-13 : 978-1576753859
- Item Weight : 0.035 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.44 x 0.77 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #679,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It is easy to see it in kids, but Robert Fuller has identified an issue so pervasive and so ingrained that we adults don't even notice it. Sometimes it takes a great thinker (or a 12 year old) to show us the way.
This is a book about how to treat and be treated with dignity. Both a global blueprint and a personal one. Like our racial blindness only 50 years ago, rankism needs to be isolated so we can see it and conquer it. And that is what Robert Fuller does with deceiving simplicity.
I read the book on vacation. It is direct, simple and accessible. It makes its point with examples that will ring true to us all. Fuller makes his point so well, that it appears almost obvious.
Buy it. Read it. And read it again. This book will stay with you even if you don't have a 12 year old at home.
I wish I had the means to put this book in the hands of those who make mainstream movies. I want to see a movie where the hero or group of heroines say just those things we wish we could think of when we've been embarrassed, put down, humiliated or dismissed. I don't mean what we usually say when we intend to give the perpetrator his lumps. I'd like to see an exciting, funny, sometimes somber, always thoughtful movie showing the hero moving through life's common indignities---but coping gracefully with them.
As Fuller writes, "Rankism can only be ended when people find a way to protect the dignity of their tormenters while at the same time suggesting to them a way to treat people with respect." What we all need, as Fuller points out, is better models as illustrations of coping, a kind of verbal aikido which lets the person know that you've heard and received the injury, but that you're both bigger and smarter than that. In short, we need to have fun with our imaginations as we delve into deeper levels of response, levels where we're proud of our ability of think of new solutions, proud of how we've responded at the scene. We want ways to at least feel that we're left in a neutral position, rather than as enemies waiting for vengeance.
What is more important in this historic period of our lives? We're all aware that we live on the brink of disaster---due to people's lack of imagination to do much more than act out conflicts through war. I suspect that many of us are frozen in fear, when what we need is just this kind of creative, imaginative response in the world. What if in rebuilding schools around the world, we not only built the schools, but sent the teachers off with cartons of Stephanie Heuer's book, "I Feel Like Nobody When...I Feel Like Somebody When," and let the children answer those two questions? It would help to create an atmosphere of openness, strength, respect and self-awareness from day one in those schools, preventing more catastropic Columbines.
For those who read his previous book, "Somebodies and Nobodies" and who wanted more concrete suggestions on how to deal with our daily indignities, "All Rise" is the book which has some answers. Fuller wrote "Somebodies and Nobodies" to illustrate the problems that rankism creates, and "All Rise" gives us ideas about how to solve them. And while you're at it, take a look at his website at [...], where you'll find a lot more. If you're brand new to the concept of rankism, you can go to that site and take a tour of the dignity movement. If you've known about the concept for years, you can go to that site and find support as you bring the concept to others.
Fuller describes "rankism" as a label comparable to racism, sexism, and ageism, where one uses the external characteristics of a person or group to render that person invisible or less worthy in some regard. While sometimes the offense is deliberate as in the case of discriminatory policies or legislation, often the questionable behavior is unconscious and unintended.
Think about it. Here is action that is totally free and within every individual's power to control. Like a smile, it's contagious. It provides psychic pleasure to everyone involved and is capable of making a profound difference in our own lives and the lives of others. It doesn't solve all of society's ills but--if it caught on--we, and democracy itself, would be taking a giant leap forward. Related ideas like "common sense, common decency, basic good manners" all suggest the fundamentals are within everyone's grasp.
In fact, it's difficult to think of reasons not to behave as Fuller suggests, especially at the personal level. The obvious barriers are one's own insensitivity, insecurity, ignorance, or spite. Let's take the first case--insensitivity--maybe there's someone you know who engages in rankism but doesn't realize it. He doesn't know the name of the person who cleans the office or the guy who cares for his lawn. She never bothers to look a waiter or a busboy in the eye. In fact, even if an accomplished professional is presented as the friend of a friend, that person won't be seen as "noteworthy" unless perceived to be of sufficient stature. Fuller suggests that the way to get through to the unconscious rankist is to frame the situation from how it makes us feel rather than to accuse the person of engaging in such behavior.
Insecurity and ignorance are the motivations behind much unpleasant behavior associated with rankism as with all the "isms." Ignoring the common humanity of others routinely leads to bullying, put-downs, bigotry, as well as economic exploitation and outright abuse. Ridiculing a protest as "politically correct" instead of recognizing the legitimacy behind the comment, trivializes the feelings of the person or group being disrespected. As a society, we often try to avoid acknowledging how the systematic disempowerment of entire groups can result in wage slavery that subsidizes the more comfortable lifestyles of the middle and upper classes.
If we are to be generous, we should try to educate and reassure others when possible as to how their actions are impacting others. Fuller realistically concedes our ability to change perception is limited by our own rank in a given situation. If we outrank the abuser or he or she is a peer, we're more able to have an influence than if we, as the abused person or an independent observer, are much lower in rank. Every case is different and Fuller suggests there aren't standard rules of engagement, (except perhaps when monitoring our own behavior.)
This is where the notion of a political movement enters the picture. As the Civil Rights and Women's Suffrage movements demonstrated, the author makes the case that sometimes it takes the collective actions of the disrespected and their supporters (who enjoy greater status in society) to force or inspire social change.
Look at the recent marches and rallies of low paid workers through the lens of rankism, rather than immigration, for just a moment. It's easy to imagine these individuals, who we normally overlook, wanting to be seen and valued. The balance of power didn't change, but for one day they felt like they belonged in our society.
The book is straightforward and easy to read. It's not preachy and contains many thought-provoking "bridge ideas" that will appeal to people of various political perspectives. One can continue one's education either by reading Fuller's first book, [...]