Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed

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A practical, inspirational, revolutionary guide to social innovation

Many of us have a deep desire to make the world around us a better place. But often our good intentions are undermined by the fear that we are so insignificant in the big scheme of things that nothing we can do will actually help feed the world’s hungry, fix the damage of a Hurricane Katrina or even get a healthy lunch program up and running in the local school. We tend to think that great social change is the province of heroes – an intimidating view of reality that keeps ordinary people on the couch. But extraordinary leaders such as Gandhi and even unlikely social activists such as Bob Geldof most often see themselves as harnessing the forces around them, rather than singlehandedly setting those forces in motion. The trick in any great social project – from the global fight against AIDS to working to eradicate poverty in a single Canadian city – is to stop looking at the discrete elements and start trying to understand the complex relationships between them. By studying fascinating real-life examples of social change through this systems-and-relationships lens, the authors of Getting to Maybe tease out the rules of engagement between volunteers, leaders, organizations and circumstance – between individuals and what Shakespeare called “the tide in the affairs of men.”

Getting to Maybe applies the insights of complexity theory and harvests the experiences of a wide range of people and organizations – including the ministers behind the Boston Miracle (and its aftermath); the Grameen Bank, in which one man’s dream of micro-credit sparked a financial revolution for the world’s poor; the efforts of a Canadian clothing designer to help transform the lives of Indigenous women and children; and many more – to lay out a brand new way of thinking about making change in communities, in business, and in the world.
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About the author

Frances Westley has published widely in the areas of strategic change and visionary leadership, and led the Dupont Canada—fostered think-tank on social innovation, based at McGill University’s Desautel Faculty of Management, where many of the ideas for this book were developed.

Brenda Zimmerman, a professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, has been studying and writing about how complexity theory applies to organizations for twenty years.

Michael Quinn Patton is an independent organizational development consultant and has written five major books on the art and science of program evaluation.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage Canada
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Published on
Mar 19, 2009
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780307371140
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Conflict Resolution & Mediation
Political Science / Civics & Citizenship
Self-Help / Communication & Social Skills
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Just when the world needs it most, a new style of social engagement  is emerging: Active Citizenship.
 
A key member of one of New York’s  most civic-minded families—one that has supported many of America’s  notable institutions and deserving programs—Jonathan Tisch has devoted a lifetime to “active citizenship.” It’s an idea that uses the power of practical creativity and grassroots participation to solve seemingly intractable problems. In Citizen You, Tisch challenges readers to join this movement and points the way toward making our world a better place, one person and one neighborhood at a time. 
    
Tisch has filled Citizen You with accounts of people who you’ll meet, such inspirational individuals as:

Scott Harrison, who has used the networking and marketing skills he developed as a night club promoter  to help over a million people in the developing world get access for the first time to clean, safe drinking water.

Steffi Coplan, whose Broadway2Broadway project brought  out the hidden musical talents of kids at an inner city school.

Eric Schwarz, who decided to do something about America’s under-performing schools, and parlayed a single classroom mentoring project into the nationwide Citizens Schools movement.

Chris Swan, who is training a new generation of “citizen engineers” to make sure that the projects they build aren’t just structurally sound but also environmentally and socially sustainable.

Dave Nelson, who traded his role as an executive at IBM for a job at a struggling nonprofit that teaches kids about the power of entrepreneurship—and discovered a host of new challenges and rewards in the process.

Through these and many other remarkable stories, you’ll learn how today’s active citizens are  transforming thinking about social change. Rather than short-term fixes and hand-me-down charity, they’re striving to build sustainable, systemic solutions to our most challenging problems, building and empowering communities rather than fostering dependency.  And they’re using a host of new tools, from online networking and private-public partnerships to corporate engagement and social entrepreneurship, to redefine how change can happen. Citizen You is a potent antidote to pessimism. At a time of unprecedented challenges on the national and world stage, when active citizenship is not a choice but a necessity, Citizen You dares us to reshape the social, political, and intellectual structures that have long confined us, and offers fresh thinking that redefines the very concept of activism. For more information and ideas about how to be an active citizen go to www.citizenyou.org
"In discussing slavery and woman's rights, social security and the graduated income tax," writes Robert Walker, "the reformers have defined and redefined America." Recognizing in the history of reform a prime source for the discovery of cultural priorities, Walker seeks in Reform in America to organize the reform experience in a new way, so that its collective patterns can be seen.

Reform in America identifies three principal streams of reform advocacy in American history. Politico-economic issues, the mainstream of reform, are exemplified by a detailed study of the politics of money from 1832 to 1913. Reform on behalf of special groups, the second major category, is illuminated by the examples of movements on behalf of blacks and women and by an examination of the civil liberties and civil rights movements, which again have been principally concerned with the extension of rights and liberties to particular groups. A third category is established by connecting communitarianism, utopianism, and visionary planning to form a tradition through which ideal alternatives are offered to the existing social order.

Walker's interpretation minimizes the stark contrasts in social activity and underlines those continuous forces that have moved American society steadily in the direction of broadened political participation, increased concern for special groups, and a dynamic sequence of cultural goals. He thus draws our attention to what may be America's most lasting frontier -- the management of social change toward certain general objectives. The appreciation of reform, in the end, requires an adjusted perception of the national character, one that sees competitive individualism as at least balanced and perhaps outweighed by a demonstrated preoccupation with the common weal.

In his 1998 book Consilience, E.O. Wilson set forth the idea that integrating knowledge and insights from across the spectrum of human study -- the humanities, social science, and natural sciences -- is the key to solving complex environmental and social problems. Experiments in Consilience tells the unique story of a pathbreaking effort to apply this theoretical construct in a real-world setting.The book describes the work of the Biodiversity Research Network, a team of experts from the United States and Canada brought together to build interdisciplinary connections and stimulate an exchange of expertise. Team members sought to understand the ecology and population dynamics of key species in particular ecosystems, to understand the impact of human populations on those species and ecosystems, and to develop tools and processes for involving a greater variety of stakeholders in conservation efforts.In order to keep the experiment grounded, the network focused on a single type of conservation planning workshop run by a single organization -- the Population and Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop (PHVA) of the IUCN-sponsored Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG). The book combines sections on the theoretical underpinnings of relevant concepts in population biology, simulation modeling, and social science with detailed descriptions of six PHVA workshops conducted on different species across four continents. A concluding chapter examines the lessons learned, which have application to both theory and practice, including reflections on interdisciplinarity, integrated risk assessment, and future directions for research and action. Through the combination of theory and application, combined with frank discussions of what the research network learned -- including both successes and failures -- the book offers fresh ideas on how to improve on-the-ground conservation decisionmaking. Experiments in Consilience offers a one-of-a-kind overview and introduction to the challenges of cross-disciplinary analysis as well as cross-functional, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral action. It centers on the problem of conserving endangered species while telling the story of a new form of organizing for effective risk assessment, recommendation, and action.
From the world’s #1 body language expert* comes the essential book for decoding human behavior

Joe Navarro has spent a lifetime observing others. For 25 years, as a Special Agent for the FBI, he conducted and supervised interrogations of spies and other dangerous criminals, honing his mastery of nonverbal communication. After retiring from the bureau, he has become a sought-after public speaker and consultant, and an internationally bestselling author. Now, a decade after his groundbreaking book What Every BODY is Saying, Navarro returns with his most ambitious work yet. The Dictionary of Body Language is a pioneering “field guide” to nonverbal communication, describing and explaining the more than 400 behaviors that will allow you to gauge anyone’s true intentions.

Moving from the head down to the feet, Navarro reveals the hidden meanings behind the many conscious and subconscious things we do. Readers will learn how to tell a person’s actual feelings from subtle changes in their pupils; the lip behaviors that betray concerns or hidden information; the many different varieties of arm posturing, and what each one means; how the position of our thumbs when we stand akimbo reflects our mental state; and many other fascinating insights to help you both read others and change their perceptions of you.

Readers will turn to The Dictionary Body Language again and again—a body language bible for anyone looking to understand what their boss really means, interpret whether a potential romantic partner is interested or not, and learn how to put themselves forward in the most favorable light.

*GlobalGurus.org

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