Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change

Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change

Should anti-war protestors use graphic images to get public support for their cause, or will such images turn the public off? In encouraging the public to adopt sustainable behaviors, should environmental organizations ask for small changes like using fluorescent light bulbs or big changes like giving up cars? Why do most Americans say they oppose the cruel practices of factory farms and sweatshops yet still buy products from these places? And how can non-profits get more people to say yes to their requests to volunteer, donate, recycle, write a letter to a political prisoner, support gay rights, go vegetarian, conserve energy or make other positive changes?

Scientific research has generated a wealth of information on how people can be persuaded to alter their behaviors, yet this body of knowledge has been largely ignored by those working to improve society. Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change brings this information to light so that non-profits, community organizers and others can make science-driven decisions in their advocacy work. The book examines over 80 years of empirical research in areas including social psychology, communication studies, diffusion studies, network systems and social marketing, distilling the highlights into easy-to-use advice and serving as a psychology primer for anyone wanting to spread progressive social change.

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Price: $ 18.99


3 Comments so far »

  1. Kenny T. said,

    Wrote on November 15, 2011 @ 4:40 am

    17 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A must-read for anyone that wants to make a difference in the world, December 31, 2010
    By 

    This review is from: Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change (Paperback)

    This is a great book that should be necessary reading for anyone in the non-profit field, whatever your cause may be. Whether you’re a volunteer, an executive director, or looking to start a group of your own, check this one out.

    As advocates for social change we should understand why people believe the things they do, and why they do the things they do. Most of us that are trying to change people’s behaviors and beliefs can get easily frustrated when we put in so much work and don’t get the results we had hoped for — this book will help you understand people better, and therefore be better at influencing people to adopt more kind and compassionate behaviors.

    By using years of marketing and psychological studies, Cooney compiles it all together and applies it to activism. It’s definitely a one of a kind book that is well-written and easy to understand (even if you don’t know anything about psychology). While reading it I was constantly thinking, “How could I apply these ideas and discoveries to my advocacy work?” And that’s what the book makes you do — it helps you to think differently, critically and more effectively on creating social change.

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  2. Ben_D said,

    Wrote on November 15, 2011 @ 5:25 am

    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    If you’re serious about getting things done, check out this book!, January 6, 2011
    By 
    Ben_D

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change (Paperback)

    Whatever your cause and whatever your profession, if you’re someone who wishes to use psychology and influence as a force of good, you will deeply benefit from “Change of Heart.” Cooney draws on classic and novel research in psychology to provide a window into why people believe the things they believe, do the the things they do, and how people can be led to do better. Cooney doesn’t just spew off psychological research though, he relates his own experiences as an activist who acted on many misguided (albeit common) assumptions about human nature and learned to be more effective. From front to back the book is teeming with insights into how people think, act, and make choices. I recently read Nudge, a great book on psychology and behavioral economics from a public policy angle and I kept thinking ‘there should really be a book like this but geared toward social change.’ Thankfully, Nick Cooney wrote it! It’s rare to find a book that is both fascinating on an intellectual level and actionable on a day-to-day practical level. This book is loads of both.

    After reading “Change of Heart”, you will be armed with powerful psychological insights in your efforts to help others and promote a better world.

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  3. Alex B said,

    Wrote on November 15, 2011 @ 6:14 am

    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Applied psychology for activists, January 18, 2011
    By 
    Alex B (Wyncote, PA) –

    This review is from: Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change (Paperback)

    This book is the most practical application of psychology (largely social psychology) that I’ve seen, and it should be required reading for every amateur and professional activist. The author, in a very readable style, describes how people are and are not swayed to changed their behaviors, and how you can do the swaying. The book weaves some wry humor into what is very much a handbook-style work, and includes fascinating personal anecdotes from the author’s experience in (mostly animal rights) activism.

    Having been involved in activism myself for years, what struck me most while reading Change of Heart was how far from ideal and effective most real-world activism is. Most activists’ efficiency — that is, getting the most change for their resources and effort — would be greatly increased by reading and applying the principles outlined here. So you, pamphleteer, and you, executive director, and you, grant-writer: this book is for you!

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