Saturday, January 22, 2011

To be rich and altruistic...

Stickified Citizen You, plus a few great coffee table reads.
Two thumbs up for the title and subtitle.  Two thumbs up for the billionaire's intention to promote civic activism/ active citizenship.  Two thumbs up for 3-10 action ideas per chapter plus 52 more at the back of the book.  Two thumbs up for a few interesting new-to-me stories of citizen successes. 

One thumb sideways for mentioning Tufts University and/or its graduates, affiliates, programs, and current students at least 100 times: It's both Tisch's alma mater and an institution of which he is now a prominent trustee.  One thumb also sideways for every time (beyond the first 15) that he mentions Loews Corporation endeavors (his family's business).  I know, I know: one may 'do well while doing good', but after the first ten mentions, I began to wonder - just a whit - which intention came first, and to question whether/not many groups other than Tisch's affiliates are actually participating in the types of ventures he describes. 

However, this book does get The Golden Sticky, my highest award for 'textual relevance or pithiness resulting in post-it notes' to mark info. I want to return to, reprocess, and jot down when I'm finished reading a book. 

NB: The "Don't just note: Sticky!" process was derived from the clever strategy devised by my friend M, who employs it so successfully as a review technique prior to our bookgroup conversations that I adopted/adapted it myself.  Although she'd be the first to say that it's not enough to 'simply sticky' in all situations, for bookgroup it appears nearly ideal: one doesn't need to slow down or interrupt reading to take notes, yet one can quickly return to stickified pages an hour before meeting, review them, and thus conjure salient passages, ideas, and details with apparently savant-like clarity and precision during discussion.  My Smarty Pants Award for today goes to M.

"Let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum-up."  Tisch covers quite a range of up-and-coming options for active community-changers, from "Social Entrepreneurs" to "Digital Citizenship" to "mid-life career-changers" to many variations on "business professionals doing civic good", but my favorite chapter challenged ole Rebekah Nathan's research with "A New Breed of Leader: A Generation of Change Agents Ready to Hit the Ground Running".  In it, he details the many ways college students are already shifting toward community mindedness, particularly those at Tufts University where 80% of students take at least one class with a community service component, and Tisch himself has endowed an entire "College of Citizenship and Public Service" that spans every department in the University.  Tisch recounts fascinating examples of students serving in ways as various as bringing showtunes to a neighborhood school that lost its funding for music to a student from Dubai who helped create the Tufts International Ambassador Program.  According to Tisch, student engagement is on the rise, not just at Tufts, but nation wide.

Favorite Quote w/Most Counter-Intuitive Information:
From from Peter Levine, head of CIRCLE, a non-partisan research center based at Tufts as well, relatead to a long-term study of civically-engaged youth:
Although values do not cause people to participate (in civic endeavors), participation changes people's values and habits.  When we compare participants who appeared similar before a civic opportunity, we find that they behave quite differently afterward.  A similar gap emerged between comparable people who did and did not participate in the Freedom Summer (civil rights) campaigns (in the Deep South) of 1964.  Such profoundly moving and terrifying work might be expected to leave a lasting mark.  But the same is true to a lesser extent of young people who participate in student government or school newspapers.  Even forty years later, they remain more civically engaged. (36)
1. From this book, I've collected at least 10 websites to contact that I plan to link to my Reading for Change site (launching 3/11).  The groups associated with those sites will be able to link w/me directlly and we should be able to provide each other with mutual support.
2. In addition, I'm going back to the stickies and taking notes to use as I move forward with my Reading for Change process.
3. Also, I'm going to thoroughly peruse the website and take whatever additional actions seem relevant.

Just the Jist List
Title: Citizen You
Author: Jonathan M. Tisch, w/liberal help from Karl Weber
Genre(s): non-fiction, business, public service
Book's Website:
Author's Website: none.  Wikipedia entry.
Year Published: 2010
Pages: 247
When was it read? January 9, 2011 to January 11, 2011
Perfect Matches: World-changers, neophites to civic or social action looking for a plethora of ways to get involved, people who dig a well-organized non-fiction read with immediate practical applications, pessimists saddened at the state of our nation's civic participation
Perfect Timing: Career-changers hoping to shift into public service, students looking for culminating projects/senior projects, people who want/need to volunteer in their communities right away but don't know where to start, people looking for high-leverage non-profits & public agencies to support, business people looking to shift toward the triple bottom line (economy, community, environment)
Perfect NOT: uninterested in community matters, civic action; hate non-fiction, even if it's well written
Content Fab Scale (1-5): *****
Why? Rich in examples, broad in coverage of this topic. Many people know little about social entrepreneurship and the current upswing in civic participation.  Even those who know much will find something new here.  Up to date too.
Action Fab Scale (1-5): *****
Why? One could act on every chapter, plus Tisch/Weber provide 3-10 action suggestions per chapter and 52 more at the end of the book.
# Yellow Stickies: 27
Why? See above.  And it all pertains to what I'm personally working on...
Get it:

MFB like a citizen,

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