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Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming an Activist

by Jane Drake

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3711583,427 (3.61)14
Guides readers through nine steps to social change and discusses strategies on running an effective meeting, writing a petition, and lobbying governments.

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a very thin book, and a lot of it is still filler. A good 20% consists of timelines of significant events in categories like American Civil Rights or Air and Water Pollution. Even worse, these timelines don’t contain enough information to make the reader appreciate or care about the events listed. For example, one entry reads “A.D. 1978, United States: Governments evacuate hundreds of families from a subdivision in Niagara Falls, New York, constructed on toxic waste, used to fill in an old man-made waterway called the Love Canal.” I still remember vividly how horrified I was after reading about Love Canal for the first time in my ninth grade geography class, more than a decade ago. The bland statement in this book evoked none of that emotion.

Another major part of the book consists of more in-depth discussions of particular topics, like Rosa Parks or smoking laws. These 3-5 page sections were probably my favourite, because they actually provided interesting information in a readable format. They were only marginally related to the supposed topic of the book, though: this is supposed to be “a step-by-step guide to successful social change”. But there’s a huge gulf between reading about the progress that has been made by others (in the case of the smoking laws, it’s not at all clear how regular individuals made a contribution) and knowing how to bring about that progress ourselves.

The book does contain sections about how to be an activist, but I found them less than helpful. The advice dealt with questions like how to run a formal meeting and how to give an interview to a reporter. This is all well and good, but there’s an earlier stage that seemed to be missing. How do you build up interest so that people actually come to your formal meeting? How do you attract the interests of journalists so that they contact you for an interview? I would have liked to see a much greater focus on how to get started from nothing. What are some small initial steps that can be taken immediately to work toward the change we care about?

Ultimately, I don’t think I learned a lot from this book. It also took me forever to read, because it didn’t hold my attention. I’m glad I’m finally done with it. ( )
1 vote _Zoe_ | Sep 27, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book can be a great resource for students/people on how to make a difference. If you ever thought that you wanted to change something but did not know how to start or thought no one cared this book can help you to see that one person can make a difference. It is set up in simple chapters that tell the history of many different advocate agencies around the world-- how they started, why they matter and what they do today.. It is a book that can inspire and educate the person looking to make a difference in today's world. I plan to use this book as a resource for my freshman college students in my global citizenship class. ( )
  kathyw | Aug 9, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In 2010 I found myself thinking about social activism more than ever, so when this book became available through the ER program, I jumped at a chance to read it. I didn't realize that it was marketed for a teen audience. That wasn't a detriment, however, as most of the information in the book is applicable to a wider-audience.

This slim volume is well organized and packed with information. The chapters, or "steps" as the authors call them, tackle one issue each. They include an inspirational background story (for example, the beginnings of Greenpeace, or a short history of Gandhi), a section on useful strategies and tips for skill development, and finally conclude with a timeline of milestones and setbacks of a particular movement. Regardless of whether your area social activism is at the neighbourhood or global level, this book has helpful information, inspiration and advice to get you moving on your chosen cause. The writing is clear and concise and doesn't condescend to the audience. I also appreciate that the publisher included a useful index.

Recommended for: anyone who is interesting in getting involved in social change, whatever their age. Basic information and inspiration for the beginner, and not someone who is already an activist. ( )
1 vote Nickelini | Dec 29, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book jacket reads "A step-by-step guide to successful social change." I don't quite know if that's accurate. While this book offers a look at the process activism usually follows, there are less direct strategies and more stories of activists. There are a few helpful exercises, however. I liked that the book did not seem to be pushing one agenda, though the authors seemed to hint at discussing smoker's rights vs. non smokers rights and then only discussed the latter. There are some interesting nuggets about how much the U.S.A. sucks at environmental policy, but they are only facts in time lines, nothing pushy. All in all, this book offers an interesting look at how change is affected, and it does make me want to do something worthwhile in my community. I sense that this accomplishes the authors' true purpose. ( )
  KhrystiBooks | Nov 21, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The subtitle of this book is, Your Guide to Becoming an Activist, and I think that if the book is geared to people who are not yet activists, this will not be the book that jump starts them. The focus on very large organizations would be overwhelming to someone who is just considering "doing something", and the history of those organizations would not be that exciting. For those reasons, this is not the book I would be reaching for to encourage a young person who wanted to start making a difference. ( )
  JRlibrary | Nov 12, 2010 |
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Guides readers through nine steps to social change and discusses strategies on running an effective meeting, writing a petition, and lobbying governments.

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