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

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  59 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, 432 pages
Published March 28th 2011 by W. W. Norton Company (first published March 7th 2011)
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3.49  · 
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 ·  304 ratings  ·  59 reviews


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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
Julie
Eh. Waaaay too wordy to capture my attention. After almost 100 pages of giving it a try, I didn't have any will to finish 300 more.
Andy
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Angela
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
I've always been fascinated with the concept of peer pressure. I have a tendency to think of myself as someone who doesn't allow themselves to be pressured by the group. My need to fit in hasn't been allowed to keep me from doing what my conscience says is the right thing to do even if there is a price to pay. Peer pressure is often thought of as taking the easy road. Roads that stray from the rest of the group have always been considered the hard road. What makes this book such a fascinating re ...more
George Slade
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
In short, this is a book about using peer pressure for good, instead of in the way it's typically viewed.

The basic theory of the book is that positive social change or social engineering can be accomplished by using the tendency for humans to want to fit in and be part of the crowd, whether it's for good or bad.

There are several very detailed examples of this principle discussed. One compelling story was about how Florida organized the Truth movement to combat the tobacco industry. It goes over
...more
barry
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
The first couple parts about the AIDS education in South Africa and the anti-smoking campaigns in the US were pretty interesting. But I lost interest after that.

TL;DR: Everyone wants to be "cool", especially teenagers. If you want them to do something, you have to advertise it in a way that seems cool. Whatever that is at the moment. Free t-shirts and bracelets and stuff also help.
Michelle Stoykova
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most inspiring and action-provoking book! If you are looking for fuel to drive your engine for the bettering of humanity - this is it!
Blaine
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Join the Club was a good book with tons of great information that was hard to stay attentive to.
Dianne
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Well written but the topic wasn't my jam.
Fred Gorrell
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Hunter James
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
"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
Catherine
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Icon Books
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
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
Chrishna
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 Brennan
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
David
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Bill DeGenaro
Jan 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Erin Payseur Oeth
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I heard a clip on NPR by this book's author Tina Rosenburg, and I was facinated with the case studies she discussed about successfully using peer pressure as a catalyst for social change. I ordered the book and set it aside in my pile of other books to read. I picked it up last week, though, and it immediately grabbed my attention. She shares important information and marketing insight on how to reach and maintain active involvement in important issues like anti-smoking campaigns, politics, and ...more
Pamela Mccoll
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Seth
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Uwe Hook
Sep 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Anastasia
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A lot of noteworthy ideas, examples and information. A worthy read, even though it's a bit long and repetitive, so I recommend getting the audio version.

Join the Club is a mixture of Tribes by Seth Godin + belonging that Brené Brown talks about + some informative real life examples from all over the world about how peer pressure can make the world a better place.

A must read for anyone interested in social change, movements, revolutions and marketing.
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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.