Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World
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Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The fearless Tina Rosenberg has spent her career tackling some of the world's hardest problems. The Haunted Land, her searing work on how Eastern Europe faced the crimes of Communism, garnered both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In Join the Club, she identifies a brewing social revolution that is changing the way people live, based on harnessing the positi...more
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published March 28th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published March 7th 2011)
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Clif Hostetler
Humans are social animals descended from a long line of hunter gathers who lived in small social groupings of extended families (i.e. tribes). We are programmed to care about what other people think of us. Rugged individualism is probably an imaginary facade in most cases. This book explores ways in which peer pressure can be adjusted to create positive behavioral changes.

The book provides examples of how efforts to motivate people with information or by using fear simply don’t work and sometime...more
Andy
I was left ambivalent about "Join the Club." It has some nice stories with important, interesting information, but the premise overall doesn't pan out. People are sheep--OK, fine. This is nothing new (see "the Lord is my shepherd" in the Bible, e.g.). But peer pressure, i.e. the sheep leading the sheep, is just circular reasoning that doesn't help much for "transforming the world." The author uses smoking as an example, so let's look at that with a peer pressure model. Billy smokes because Jimmy...more
Hunter James
"Other researchers have confirmed this -- if there is litter on the ground or graffiti on the wall, people will not only litter and draw graffiti, they will begin to commit crimes. People adjust their behavior to fit the message sent by their physical surroundings about what a neighborhood finds acceptable."

"Industry Spokesman" was the first in a series of ads that made Big Tobacco a character. In another ad, black rappers attacked the tobacco industry for using menthol cigarettes to get blacks...more
Fred Gorrell
This wonderful book provides a very encouraging view of the use of peer pressure not as it is often understood pejoratively but as a tool for making the world a better place.

Tony Kushner, the playwright, gives voice succinctly to an idea that threads through many religions and philosophies: “The smallest indivisible human unit is two people, not one; one is a fiction. From such nets of souls societies, the social world, human life springs.” Whether in the concept of minyan in the Jewish faith,...more
Icon Books
Tina Rosenberg has spent her career tackling some of the world's hardest problems. 'The Haunted Land', her searing book on how Eastern Europe faced the crimes of Communism, was awarded both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in the US. In 'Join the Club' she identifies a brewing social revolution that is changing the way people live, based on harnessing the positive force of peer pressure.

Her stories of peer power in action show how it has reduced teen smoking in the United States, m...more
Catherine
I did a lot of thinking based on reading this book. I wrote a whole blog entry (a long one, apologies) about how useless the new FDA cigarette labeling is based on the research Rosenberg reveals in this book combined with what I've learned about marketing in the last couple years. And I was fascinated by how "peer pressure" has been used to build lives and take down despots in so many cases.

Rosenberg really concentrated on Otpor and how this social movement help bring down Milosevic (in Serbia)...more
Yu
Reading Join The Club is like to refresh my mind of preparing IELTS, listening to Michael Sandel's public lectures, or reading those academic articles with stats in different magazines. I guess my professor would have been more delighted if I've done this when I did Health Promotion :).

I believe Peer Pressure (PP) has an impact on AA and same kinda behavior changes, but some of the chapters to me are not so related or a bit too farfetched to Peer Pressure as it's called. Such as the Calculus Cl...more
Chrishna
The title is a bold claim, but she gives examples of how peer pressure can change the world. From toppling dictatorships to raising the standard of living for untouchables in India to helping students obtain better calculus grades, she gives concrete examples of positive peer pressure. I found the idea that we are so reliant on group action a bit disturbing (can we ever really act independently?) but I see the good that peer pressure can facilitate. The most interesting chapters were about Optor...more
Katie
Mar 29, 2011 Katie marked it as to-read
From the Diane Rehm show:

The term “peer pressure” usually carries negative connotations of teens trying drugs and families going into debt to keep up with the Joneses. But Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tina Rosenberg argues there are also powerful and often overlooked benefits of peer pressure. She’s written books about dealing with moral and political problems in Latin America and post-communist Europe. In the process, she stumbled upon what she calls “the social cure” for seemingly intract...more
Katie Brennan
I picked this up because I was a big fan of Tina's work on Latin America, and because it's not every day that a MacArthur genius presents at a non-profit staff meeting, but I am SO glad to have read this book. The focus is on the "social cure," identity's ability to motivate more effectively than information. Her examples include anti-corporate teen anti-smoking campaigns, rural community health programs in India, calculus study groups for minority students at American universities, micro financ...more
David
A thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring pop-sociology book about how peer pressure can be used to create positive social change,in areas as diverse as AIDS prevention, anti-smoking campaigns, church revivals, and nonviolent overthrows of dictatorships. The author gives lengthy treatment to the OTPOR student revolution in Serbia, which I teach about,and some of her text comes VER BATIM from other resources I've used on that subject, so I certainly hope she's not plagiarizing there. Still, this is on...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I thought the title seemed a bit overreaching when I first read about this book, but I was hopeful. Wouldn’t it be lovely to discover that something as simple as peer pressure could actually transform the world?

Of course, as I had anticipated, the title was too good to be true. Rosenberg offers up story after story of ways that peer pressure is working to improve the world. Reducing rates of smoking. Cutting AIDS levels. Improving calculus scores in African-American men. Improving rates of infan...more
Bill DeGenaro
Rosenberg's thesis revolves around the social and affective dimensions of making the world better. She argues that many recent campaigns for social change have made use of grassroots, person-to-person action instead of tired techniques. Top-down threats, scare tactics, and logocentric arguments don't work, in many cases. One of her key examples is anti-smoking efforts. Intellectually, we know smoking's bad for you, so the effort can't foreground informing people. And heavy-handed threats often b...more
Martha Encherman
JOIN THE CLUB
Tina Rosenberg

This book hits its stride in Chapter 3.

I chose this book (and was facilitator) for my book club based on reading and loving so many of Rosenberg's articles in the New York Times. I was disappointed in the first two chapters as she seemed to go off on too many tangents...this was felt by everyone who continued reading it.

Some got frustrated and quit before the more interesting, more concise chapters about using "Untouchables" for healthcare delivery in India, Otpor ove...more
Tom Fontaine
Some great examples of the incredible power of positive peer pressure. Can be used with creative thinking about difficult social & political problems.
Margaret Sankey
I really liked her work about violent political groups in Latin America, so I was intrigued at the optimistic prospect that group dynamics can be harnessed for good--microfinance, direct observation of TB dug compliance, S. Carolina's anti-smoking campaign, S. Africa's anti-AIDS campaign inspired by a Sprite commercial.... unfortunately, she goes about in in that cutesy, Malcolm Gladwell anecdote way, so while I am genuinely interested in these things, my evilness came through and I read every c...more
Pamela Mccoll
Tina Rosenberg's chapter four "Corporate Tools " in Join The Club is a brilliant summary of the tobacco prevention advertising. I have been working on an article on how to talk to kids so they will not start smoking and her understanding of the workings of social change are fascintating.
"This is the story of an extraordinarly powerful kind of social change." Tina Rosenberg has spent her career writing about people facing some of the world's most difficult challenges. Winner of the Pultizer Priz...more
Charlotte Piwowar
I really loved this book--so fascinating. A collection of case studies about how the power of social groups can be used to influence people to do the right thing, I found it super insightful. It also made me pay closer attention to the world around me, and I have indeed been able to find examples of it everywhere. I also feel like it helped to shift my perspectives a little and think more deeply about how I can use the principles in the book to create a more positive and productive environment w...more
Dan
An in-depth look at how peer pressure has been used to solve social ills. Insightful. For example, she hypothesizes that the more dire the situation, the more likely what she calls "the social cure" will work. People generally rally around dramatic causes, not trivial ones. She had several in-depth case studies: church (not interesting to me); complying with medical treatment (see DOTS: Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course); Otpor, an irreverent group of young people whose ridicule paved th...more
Michelle
Very cool book! I was instantly pulled in and read about a third of the book before I knew it. The actions taken by students to enact change on many levels is an inspiring thing to read. And having grown up in the "just say no" years, it was a welcome change to see how kids are changing smoking habits of teenagers today. I encourage anyone who was drawn into the "Tipping Point" craze to pick up this book, it is even more engaging and the transformation leave you wanting to stir up your own campa...more
Aaron
This is Tina Rosenberg, who wrote this incredible books about Eastern Europe. And it's here worst. She tries to write like Malcolm Gladwell. And it only kind of works. Not surprisingly she is at her best when she writes about Serbia -- though I think the veracity of some it may be dubious. So - -the idea that peer pressure can be a positive force is worth highlighting but the examples are too messy and too many chapters are overly didactic
Uwe Hook
It felt like a blog post expanded to a full-length book. The overarching thought was that peer pressure is more important than you think. You get your genes from your parents but the rest of your personality is aligned with your peer group. Got it. Makes sense. The case studies were good, too. I was just longing for ways to implement this to change our behavior and society. Felt flat on that end.
Seth
This book has a lot to say about the harnessing of group power for good causes. As an educator, I read this and begin to think hard about what it takes to tip students toward toward utilizing their energies toward meaningful causes. Rosenberg provides some stunning examples of such scenarios. Definitely worth the read, especially the sections on teen smoking, Serbian youth, and the Willow Creek church.
Arnav Shah
Great book about how we can harness the power of social influence in positive ways. Group behavior is a core yet often unconsidered or misunderstood part of human behavior and Rosenberg does well to show many examples of it at work. There's an surprisingly lengthy bit about the Otpor resistance movement which feels somewhat off topic. Regardless, it's very interesting to read about it.
Cyndie
This book encapsulates an idea that can change our world. How do groups use social capital and peer pressure to make positive changes. Talks about how often the changes we hope for can grow out from the communities that need our help. Going to be using the ideas here to see how we can improve the lives of animals across the world.
Jay
I totally believe now in the power of peer pressure, and that it could be harnessed for real good. The diversity of stories that were presented and how they each built to Tina's point was very well done. The chapters on the fall Slobodan Milosovic should be required reading for everyone interested in mass movements and politics.
Miranda
A truly fascinating book about a concept that is well understood in some areas, yet hardly recognised and not often consciously employed. Rosenberg uses a hugely varied set of examples to illustrate how peer pressure can be a 'social cure' for all sorts of societal ills, and the result is a compelling and informative read.
Kat
Good accessible read with an interesting idea.
Could do with being a bit concise, bit of repetition but the case studies were engaging.
Would have liked to have seen more references from psychology sources as well.
Overall I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in activism to find out how to motivate people.
Ann
I am only part way through this book, but I think it has major implications for our pedagogy. One interpretation the thesis is that social learning is very powerful -- how does this relate to the Un-conference movement? How can this relate to what happens in our classrooms? Lots of food for thought.
Diana
Sweetly tickled my confirmation bias with elaborate examples. However, written for people who skip chapters, and so repetitive to follow all through.
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Tina Rosenberg, the winner of a MacArthur grant, is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a former member of the Times editorial board. Her book The Haunted Land won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
More about Tina Rosenberg...
The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America D for Deception Astiz: La estirpe de Cain T wie Täuschung (Kindle Single)

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