- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (March 28, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 161039707X
- ISBN-13: 978-1610397070
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#53,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #35 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Advocacy
- #50 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Civics & Citizenship
- #61 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Human Rights
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You're More Powerful than You Think: A Citizens Guide to Making Change Happen 1st Edition
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"Eric Liu has written a primer on power that is a call to active citizenship. His energy and optimism are infectious, just as his vision of power is contagious. Anyone who wants to make change, large or small, should absorb the message and master the strategies in these pages."―Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America
"There is no more pressing time than now to understand your own power and use it, and there is no better guide to doing so than Eric Liu. This book is a way of living, individually and collectively, in a changing America."―Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder and CEO, Define American
"At one point, Eric Liu writes 'power is a gift.' Well, this book is also a gift-especially for all those who want to understand the complex role power plays in our society, and their power to change it. By weaving together comprehensive analysis, compelling stories, and change-making strategies, Liu has created an essential guide for citizens seeking to understand and exercise their own power to make the world a better place."―Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
"You're More Powerful Than You Think lays out a clear, practical model for organizing that will be hugely valuable to a new generation of social and political activists--at a moment when the nation badly needs them."―E.J. Dionne, author of Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism - From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond
"Those who want a more sustainable and just future often feel powerless against big corporations and the 1 percent. After reading Eric Liu's book, I see we do have power; we just need to better understand and leverage it. Read this book and let's get to work!"―Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
"An important and needed update of the rules of community organizing in the Internet Age. But unlike Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals,' there is nothing cynical or manipulative in Eric Liu's vision. We may disagree on many policy specifics, but we agree that dispersed citizen power is the new normal, and that 'many smalls can surpass a few bigs.' This hopeful and essential book shows us how to take responsibility for our democracy."―Matt Kibbe, Founder, Free the People
"Eric Liu's new book is profound and elegant, wise and accessible. Right alongside his diagnosis of the problems are thoughtful, energizing solutions. Be prepared to understand your own political agency in a whole new light."―Ai-jen Poo, Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance, Co-Director of Caring Across Generations
"Many of us want to make change but don't know where to start. Eric's wide-ranging career proves he is a doer - and with this thoughtful, forthright, provocative work, he empowers us to be the same."―Brittany N. Packnett, Activist and Co-Founder of Campaign Zero
"This is a smart, insightful book about one of the most timely topics of our times: How to create change. With practical examples and keen analysis, Eric Liu offers sure strategies on how you can maximize your power, organize communities, reframe the narrative and change your world."―Lynn Povich, author of The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace
About the Author
Eric Liu is the founder and CEO of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. He is the author of several books, including A Chinaman's Chance, The Gardens of Democracy and The Accidental Asian. Eric served as a White House speechwriter and policy adviser for President Bill Clinton. He is a regular columnist for CNN.com and a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com.
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With this as the basis, Liu posits hope. Reading it, you would think the USA is a cauldron of activism. All over the country, people are innovatively challenging the Swamp. He breaks out their tactics into easy-to-digest, universal bullet points that anyone can employ to boost a cause or prevent a disaster. With all this action, there is plenty of inspiration and optimism. Liu says true alienation is deadly silent and sullen, and we aren’t there. He has been at this a long time, through his Citizen University. The book comes out of a TED Talk he gave.
The upcoming era of post-truth, total corporate control, abandoning the environment, regulation and any sort of safety net should not end in total collapse, but rather bring forth a new generation of tacticians, strategists and protesters to keep the game from suddenly ending. That makes YAMPTYT a very uplifting book, and Liu packs wit with examples.
My favorite is about Mauricio Lim Miller, who quit his government job dealing with aid for single mothers, to create an organization that actually helps them. His Family Independence Initiative puts them together so they can network, share stories, problems, innovations and solutions. They help each other, keep each other going, and the stats say they are less in debt and more successful because of it. They need less subsidies, start more businesses and buy more homes than those on the state welfare system he ran – and left. It is spreading to cities across the country.
Liu’s basic message is – it’s all how you look at it. Like judo, you can take the enemy’s own strength and use it against him. You can reframe the story, use his own tactics - but better, and network your way to a broader base. Because power concentrates and ultimately isolates itself.
Possibly the main point is that power is not a zero sum game. Anyone can create power, and it is done all the time. Just posturing as being powerful exudes power. Momentum, movements and investigative reports create power. Yet people beat themselves into believing otherwise. According to a Stanford study, the more participants feel powerless, the more they believe that economic inequality is fair and legitimate. That has given us the trickle-down theory of economic expansion, for example. We must at all costs protect the rich first.
Liu keeps denying this is a self-help, motivational book, probably because it really reads like one. It’s all upbeat you-can-do-it. It is a manual for how to analyze your situation and take action successfully with well-established points. Just in the nick of time.
This book is about organizing and maneuvering for social-political change. It starts with a introduction to political theory and an overview of the forms of power. Then it presents 9 strategies for gaining power and prevailing on contested matters, with multiple examples of apparently successful applications of each strategy. The book is well organized and well written. The author forthrightly indicates his liberal leanings, but he cites some applications of the strategies by conservative causes.
My disappointment with the book is this:The author claims that political polarization in the country is the highest since the Civil War, and he worries about that, as do I, but then he advocates confrontational strategies with no discussion about how to use them without inflaming further polarization. Perhaps that is being saved for another book by this thoughtful author. If so, it will be worth reading.
Eric Liu gives readers credible encouragement and an action plan, with nine different ways to help us create a safer, more efficient and inclusive society. "Change the game: Adjust the arena. Re-rig the rules. Attack the plan. Change the story: Describe the alternative. Organize in narratives. Make your fight a fable. Change the equation: Act exponentially. Act reciprocally. Perform your power.”
An example of changing the equation: “the Family Independence Initiative, which helps lift people out of poverty by giving “ families baseline funds - up to $200 for reporting small steps taken to reduce debt or get education or the like - and requires them to meet as a group at least monthly.” …Trusting the network to support each other…”
An example of changing the story is Bill McKibben's divestment campaign where young people challenge the visible authority of colleges, philanthropies and banks, calling on them to end their investment in fossil fuels.
Liu also describes how we can change the equation, by helping citizens become part of teams, practicing compassion, inclusiveness, resourcefulness and cooperation.
If you are ready to stop staring into the headlights, this is a book that will help you and your community mobilize for a better tomorrow.