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Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World Hardcover – March 28, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
It reads like an early, unedited draft. Why? Firstly, its unnecessarily long. The obsessive attention to detail added nothing to my interest in the subject or my understanding of the argument. Secondly, it reads like two books mixed randomly together. One book (the one you ordered) is about significant social change for good brought about by peer-group pressure. The other book (slipped inside without prior warning) reads like a long-winded promotion for some kind of commercialized evangelical Christianity. Thirdly, its disorganized. With such a complex and ground-breaking idea, drawing examples from so many diverse and contested areas of social conflict, it was always going to be difficult to create a coherent line of argument. Unfortunately, a supporting cast of thousands surges on and off the page in a way that obscures the main characters, the ideas.
There are many important nuggets of wisdom hidden away inside this book. The ideas are brilliant and the argument is convincing and has already changed my perspective on life. It's sad and frustrating that the writing and editing didn't fulfill the potential.
Ms. Rosenburg has explored a number of social problems, both domestic and international and explored how the "social cure," peer pressure as she defines it, can make positive changes. Domestically, the exploration of both teen smoking prevention and study groups for Calculus provide brilliant reporting. The use of professional thinking in marketing to engage teens is particularly helpful, and similar ideas to engage youth in political opposition to corporate manipulation in consumerism, worker exploitation, etc. spring easily to mind.
The international examples are also strong, with powerful stories in Indian, grass-roots health care, the empowerment of women and political action. She also examines the probable peer pressure factors in the success of micro-loans.
While for this reader the overly-long section on the use of groups in a protestant, suburban, mega-church doesn't measure up to the other stories - this book is good food for thought for advocates everywhere.
I recommend this book to anyone who has interest in finding out why certain societal occurrences happen in the manner they do. I couldn't put this book down. It is actually shocking to think how some organizations and people have been able to utilize the social cure to conduct unbelievable good while other groups use it to conduct unthinkable harm.
The best known example of the social cure is AA; similarly, armies run on unit cohesion - individual soldiers charge the enemy to maintain the respect of their comrades, organized religions rely on the idea that one's relationship with God is deepened when one is also in a relationship with others, weight-loss programs utilize group pressure to improve results. Media campaigns are often key - not in directly bringing about change, but bringing people to the face-to-face programs that do. Similarly, with activity programs (basketball for teens, Salvation army support for the homeless). Sharing personal history, stressing positive things one could accomplish without AIDS, or with an education are also important.
Defensive mechanisms used to resist positive behaviors include rationalization, repression (banishing intolerable information into the unconscious), denial (claiming that unacceptable information does not exist - eg. "I don't have a drinking problem and could quit tomorrow"). Cognitive dissonance is another frequent problem - the stronger our commitment to a belief, the more we are interested in proving it right and seek out information that confirms our beliefs.
Genetic disposition is another problem - eg. children of alcoholics are 4X as likely to become alcoholics themselves. Negative culture (including prejudice) represents the opposite problem source.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting how our youth are being influenced. With out even knowing it.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
As many reviewers have mentioned, the thesis of this book is truly remarkable: effective change comes not from information, but identity transformation, namely the "social... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Sijin
A great book for anyone who doubts the world cannot be changed by a few committed individuals. Great read also.Published 17 months ago by Shirley H.
Opens up whole new vistas of possibilities for effecting change in entrenched social problems.Published 19 months ago by Bruce Page
Very strengths-based focus. We are considering using this book as our common book for incoming MSW students. Read morePublished on August 19, 2014 by Utah Savvy reader
But just because many successful people growing up with peer pressure doesn’t mean, alas, that many people with peer pressure are successful.Published on May 15, 2014 by BookReader
Humans are social animals descended from a long line of hunter gathers who lived in small social groupings of extended families (i.e. tribes). Read morePublished on February 3, 2014 by Clif
There is so much important in this book. It has stunning breadth. At the same time, I felt that there was a disconnect between the subtitle "How Peer Pressure Can Transform the... Read morePublished on October 13, 2013 by good kitty