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Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  135 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Urban decay can sap the determination—not to mention the soul—of anyone who experiences it. But there are forces that can and do reverse it. They are not spectators, or critics, or occasional demonstrators. They are groups of citizens, encouraged and trained to take power with dignity and creativity and unrelenting determination, and to make it work for them, day by day, m ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 18th 2004 by Anchor (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 281)
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Dustin
Apr 27, 2007 Dustin rated it it was amazing
Going Public is a book for politically-minded people who are just as turned off by politics-as-usual as they are by activist cultures that exclude. Gecan writes well for his purpose. His prose is engaging, but he waxes poetic only to the extent necessary to make a point. And the final chapters, more philosophical than historical, reiterate his vision for a politics of engagement very well.

If the book lacked anything for me it was answers to questions it unintentionally raised, which is a complim
...more
Jessica
Jul 29, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-justice
I read this book as an introduction to community organization because I am starting a series of training sessions in an effort to be a social justice leader in the TC Jewish community. I really appreciate Gecan's style. He explains his points in four sections, gives a few anecdotes as examples, and then signs off. I don't like when books go on and on for no apparent reason, and a lot of recent nonfiction is guilty of this.

I also found the biographical information interesting because Gecan grew u
...more
Grady McCallie
Dec 01, 2013 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-policy
Michael Gecan, a longtime community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, shares in this book a practical philosophy of organizing through a series of concrete stories. On an initial reading, the book seemed painfully disjointed; once I started summarizing the point of each chapter in a phrase, the structure made a lot more sense (part of the problem is that several of the chapter titles are significantly misleading). At any rate, in case it's helpful, here's my synopsis:
Why organize?
...more
Wealhtheow
Feb 18, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Gecan has a lot of good advice for people who want to affect their communities: make your meetings well organized, start on time, end on time. Publicly recognize people who do good work, but don't let them rest--remind them that you'll be checking up on their next project. Have face-to-face, intimate meetings; really get to know the people you're working with. Don't be afraid to de-construct organizations/committees once they've served their purpose. Before meeting politicians or the media, rehe ...more
Brady Dale
Apr 15, 2013 Brady Dale rated it it was ok
This book is forgettable. I know it is because I read it and almost immediately forgot it, which was a bummer because I had a strong incentive to remember it.
Once upon a time I was trying to work for the organization Gecan is part of and I read the book a little while before meeting him. While talking with him, we talked a lot about writing, and I kept mentioning things I thought would be cool for him to write about and he kept saying that he had written about them in this book. Which was embar
...more
Drick
Feb 21, 2013 Drick rated it really liked it
Shelves: community-work
Michael Gecan is an experienced community organizer with Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) who recounts stories of his work largely in East Brooklyn with the Nehemiah Homes Project, and in so doing shows definitively how everyday folks, well organized, can make a difference in their communities. Gecan is a good writer and a great storyteller and highlights many of the basic concepts used in organizing. While I found the book easy to read, had I wanted to learn about how to do organizing I would ...more
Adrienne
Feb 17, 2016 Adrienne rated it it was amazing
If you would like to gain a clearer picture of what my work entails read this book by my supervisor, Mike Gecan, co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation... Through stories Mike describes the organizing craft.
Jim Dressner
May 23, 2013 Jim Dressner rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting and inspiring accounts of local people who faced government neglect or injustice, and organized to make a difference in their situation. Gecan's experience shows that good intentions and a strong moral cause are sometimes not enough; collective action may be required to bring about change. I'm truly impressed that he was able to organize & motivate true grassroots organizations led by local volunteers who spoke for their communities. The division of public life into 1) Market 2) ...more
Nancy
Nov 22, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
Very interesting book. I heard about it from the Unitarian Universalist Social Action portion of their Web site. A very readable book. The author gives concrete suggestions for effective organizing and includes lots of stories from his work, stories which include Mayors Koch, Giuliani and then Lt. Gov. Cuomo. One reason I liked this book is because I am the opposite of the person blessed with the traits to make a good organizer: courage, conviction and the ability to see the big picture, among o ...more
Mimi
May 30, 2007 Mimi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: chage makers
Gecan is a veteran community organizer and retails some of the best stories of his times doing broad based community organizing. These stories serve as illistration to a foundation of organizing principles. It's a much quicker and more entertaining read than Ed Chambers' _Roots for Radicals_ but doesn't go as deep as Chambers does in the theory.

This is an excellent first read for anyone interested in community action. It's inspiring and motivating.
Bill
Sep 26, 2007 Bill rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Incoming Community Organizers
This is a decent book. Gecan really wants to professionalize organizing, for better or worse, and wants to play to the middle. Unfortunately, he does so through disparaging other activists, which really doesn't make sense strategically, not to mention morally. He does have a good handle on tactics though, and there are some really good stories worth reading.
Whitney Marie
This book was one of my textbooks for my Community Organizing class and I would say that I would highly recommend this book and the other Gecan book to be studied in a Sunday school or book study course together so that others can not only learn about how to lead but learn of the impact of the importance of being a leader.

Ny
Dec 28, 2009 Ny rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Mike Gecan is a great writer. I laughed out loud so many times--something I definitely wasn't expecting from a book about community organizing. He really lays out what exactly this whole 'organizing' thing really means, and the most effective ways to institute change. Any politically-minded person should read this.
Beni Wajnberg
Jan 05, 2014 Beni Wajnberg rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, thoughtful and amazing read. Great way of recycling practices and thoughts, in an attempt of getting better at connecting with others and empowering our communities.
Debra
The chapter on disorganizing and reorganizing was worth the price of admission and should be read by every church vestry or council....
Noah
Apr 09, 2009 Noah rated it liked it
This books was really interesting and gave me a lot of insight into community organization and how to organize power within communities. It was however much less of a "how to" and much more of a "how it happens". Definitely recommend it.
Benjamin Britton
Apr 29, 2016 Benjamin Britton rated it it was amazing
"People capable of change and committed to change emerge from a disciplined culture of individual meetings and faithful relationships, of strict training and ongoing education, and of experimental action and tough evaluation."
Joseph
Aug 16, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book my brother, sister, and I always wanted Dad to right - to help us answer that deceptively complicated question, "what does your dad do for a living?"
Jana
Jun 28, 2011 Jana rated it really liked it
Many incredible stories, few concrete steps in how to make community organizing a reality. But the stories were certainly worth reading the book for.
Rachel
Jun 23, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
A moving organizer's memoir. Good to read if you're interested in Alinsky-style organizing.
Kim
Sep 08, 2009 Kim rated it it was amazing
Builds on Roots for Radicals, moving Chambers's work into today's context. Great storytelling!
Kristymiller320
Sep 06, 2007 Kristymiller320 rated it it was amazing
really helped me understand my husband's career
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