82 books like Consensus Organizing

By Michael P. Eichler,

Here are 82 books that Consensus Organizing fans have personally recommended if you like Consensus Organizing. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Johannes Lenhard Author Of Making Better Lives: Hope, Freedom and Home-Making among People Sleeping Rough in Paris

From my list on understanding poverty today, from the bottom up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist and studied homelessness in Paris and London for the last decade. I was drawn into the world of people on the streets when I moved to London and started observing their parallel world. I spent almost a year with people on the street in London and two years in Paris. I volunteered in day centers, safe injection facilities, and soup kitchens and slept in a homeless shelter. Since I finished my first book on my observations in Paris, I have advised both policymakers on homelessness and written countless journalistic articles. My goal is always to provide a clearer picture of homelessness through the eyes of the people themselves. 

Johannes' book list on understanding poverty today, from the bottom up

Johannes Lenhard Why did Johannes love this book?

I met Matthew Desmond before he became one of the youngest Professors with his own center at Princeton University. He was visiting London, had just published his first book, and was still finishing the research for this book.

Desmond did an enormous amount of field research; he spent months living in a trailer park, on top of thousands of hours in archives and courtrooms where eviction cases are decided. The result is the best book I have ever read about poverty.

What happens when ‘normal people’ get evicted? Desmond’s story is rich and personal, and that is what we need: we need to understand the lives of poor people better in order to finally decide that we must change the systems that put them there. 

By Matthew Desmond,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Evicted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*WINNER OF THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION*
'Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and unforgettable ... If you want a good understanding of how the issues that cause poverty are intertwined, you should read this book' Bill Gates, Best Books of 2017

Arleen spends nearly all her money on rent but is kicked out with her kids in Milwaukee's coldest winter for years. Doreen's home is so filthy her family call it 'the rat hole'. Lamar, a wheelchair-bound ex-soldier, tries to work his way out of debt for his boys. Scott, a nurse turned addict, lives in a gutted-out trailer. This is…


Book cover of Solitary

Abigail Leslie Andrews Author Of Banished Men: How Migrants Endure the Violence of Deportation

From my list on the criminalization of immigrant men.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a scholar of gender and state violence, and I live and work at the US-Mexico border. For the past several years, I’ve worked collaboratively with large teams of Latinx-identified students to study the impacts of US immigration policies on migrants from Mexico and Central America. We realized that even though about half of immigrants are women, around 95% of deportees are men. So, we started to think about how US policies criminalize immigrant men. I became especially interested in how immigration enforcement (at the border and beyond) intersects with mass incarceration. In the list, I pick up books that trace the multinational reach of the carceral apparatus that comes to treat migrants as criminals.

Abigail's book list on the criminalization of immigrant men

Abigail Leslie Andrews Why did Abigail love this book?

This is Albert Woodfox’s shocking and amazing life history of spending most of his life in Angola, the most brutal prison in Louisiana.

It’s an exposé of prison brutality and dehumanization. But it’s also a stunning account of his own courage and spirit. On top, the writing is sparse, stark, and beautiful. 

By Albert Woodfox,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Solitary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Praise for Solitary:

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN GENERAL NONFICTION
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN NONFICTION
Named One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2019
Winner of the Stowe Prize
Named the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookBrowse, and Literary Hub
Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Debut of 2019
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

“An uncommonly powerful memoir about four decades in confinement . . . A profound book about…


Book cover of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America

Pat Libby Author Of The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 Steps to Passing a Law that Matters to You

From my list on inspiring you to make a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve dedicated my life to repairing the world. This work has taken on many forms – helping low-income people grow community gardens for food and beauty, providing fuel subsidies that helped people combat frigid New England winters, and working on building affordable housing and economic development programs in rural and urban communities. Ultimately, these experiences brought me to create graduate programs where students could learn how to lead healthy nonprofit organizations. Part of their education involved learning how to pass laws based on my own successful experience. I realized then that I had a passion for providing everyday citizens with simple tools they too could use to make a difference.    

Pat's book list on inspiring you to make a difference

Pat Libby Why did Pat love this book?

Reading a book about people taking prescribed drugs end up being swallowed whole by addiction is heartbreaking. Realizing how easily kids can fall into that trap is terrifying. Knowing that much of that agony is fueled by aggressive profit-seeking is infuriating. Amidst the pain of this well-told story are heroes fighting to stop the onslaught. It reminds us that on the knife’s edge of life, it’s way too easy to fall to either side.   

By Beth Macy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dopesick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Journalist Beth Macy's definitive account of America's opioid epidemic "masterfully interlaces stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference" (New York Times) -- from the boardroom to the courtroom and into the living rooms of Americans.
In this extraordinary work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of a national drama that has unfolded over two decades. From the labs and marketing departments of big pharma to local doctor's offices; wealthy suburbs to distressed small communities in Central Appalachia; from distant cities to once-idyllic farm towns; the spread of opioid addiction follows a tortuous…


Book cover of Our Time Is Now

Pat Libby Author Of The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 Steps to Passing a Law that Matters to You

From my list on inspiring you to make a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve dedicated my life to repairing the world. This work has taken on many forms – helping low-income people grow community gardens for food and beauty, providing fuel subsidies that helped people combat frigid New England winters, and working on building affordable housing and economic development programs in rural and urban communities. Ultimately, these experiences brought me to create graduate programs where students could learn how to lead healthy nonprofit organizations. Part of their education involved learning how to pass laws based on my own successful experience. I realized then that I had a passion for providing everyday citizens with simple tools they too could use to make a difference.    

Pat's book list on inspiring you to make a difference

Pat Libby Why did Pat love this book?

Stacey Abrams writes in a style that is so personal and compelling, you feel as if she is nestled in a nearby chair talking directly to you. If you live in a part of the country where voting is easy as pie, this book will give you a front-row seat into some of the incredible hurdles that untold numbers of Americans endure to exercise that right. But Abrams doesn’t just focus on the “woe is me” unfairness of it all. She provides insights on why we should and how we can fix this broken system. The book makes you want to leap off your seat and do something. Don’t let the fact that Abrams lost her most recent election deter you from reaping these valuable lessons.    

By Stacey Abrams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Time Is Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author of Lead From The Outside and political leader Stacey Abrams, a blueprint to end voter suppression, empower our citizens, and take back our country.

"With each page, she inspires and empowers us to create systems that reflect a world in which all voices are heard and all people believe and feel that they matter." —Kerry Washington

A recognized expert on fair voting and civic engagement, Abrams chronicles a chilling account of how the right to vote and the principle of democracy have been and continue to be under attack. Abrams would have been the…


Book cover of Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals

Srdja Popovic Author Of Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World

From my list on teaching you how to change society for better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm super passionate about educating people on how to empower themselves and change the world. I do a lot of different things for a living. And my organization CANVAS works with the groups who are involved in the pro-democracy struggles and “art of the revolution.” Starting as a student activist in my homeland, ruled by ruthless dictator Slobodan Milosevic, I was blessed to meet and work with some of the most courageous people. Throughout the last 25 years, I've tried to capture, share, and transfer successful tools common people may use in order to address injustice, inequality, or small tangible problems through mobilizing their peers – and thus make their communities or the world a better place.

Srdja's book list on teaching you how to change society for better

Srdja Popovic Why did Srdja love this book?

Rocking the activist world for more than 30 years, Saul Alinsky's inspiring book takes you through the main concept of understanding what drives social change. Why anger is important to move people, but destructive force per se? Why do we also need hope to drive positive change? And how the pathway to revolution is paved by small tangible victories, Alinsky has it all!

By Saul D. Alinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rules for Radicals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“This country's leading hell-raiser" (The Nation) shares his impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.”

First published in 1971 and written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American…


Book cover of Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy

Anthony J. Nownes Author Of Interest Groups in American Politics: Pressure and Power

From my list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was attracted to the study of interest groups for two main reasons. First, not too many scholars study interest groups and lobbying. This means I might have something to contribute. Second, interest groups are fascinating. Almost every interest you can think of has an interest group trying to affect (or retard) change. Every year, for example, I get to regale my students with stories about little-known interest groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the Pink Pistols (a pro-gun LGBTQ group), the California Prune Board, and Declassify UAP (an anti-UFO secrecy group). Talking and learning about interest groups is fun. 

Anthony's book list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States

Anthony J. Nownes Why did Anthony love this book?

There has been more “grassroots” advocacy in the last 25 years than during any 25-year period in U.S. history. The Black Lives Matter, pro-Trump, anti-Trump, New Christian Right, and Tea Party movements are some of the biggest mass movements in our history.

When most people hear the word “grassroots,” they think of ordinary citizens mobilizing, marching, or protesting on important issues. But in this book, sociologist Edward Walker shows us that behind many instances of seemingly “grassroots” advocacy are legions of political consultants who sell their ability to mobilize ordinary citizens to their wealthy clients, including giant corporations and business-oriented interest groups.

This book is epiphanic. Most of us realize on some level that political consulting is a big business. But most of us—and I mean regular people and people like me who study politics for a living—assume that political consultants advise political parties and candidates for office on the…

By Edward T. Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grassroots for Hire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although 'grassroots' conjures up images of independent citizen organizing, much mass participation today is sponsored by elite consultants working for corporations and powerful interest groups. This book pulls back the curtain to reveal a lucrative industry of consulting firms that incentivize public activism as a marketable service. Edward Walker illustrates how, spurred by the post-sixties advocacy explosion and rising business political engagement, elite consultants have deployed new technologies to commercialize mass participation. Using evidence from interviews, surveys and public records, Grassroots for Hire paints a detailed portrait of these consultants and their clients. Today, Fortune 500 firms hire them to…


Book cover of Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements

James M. Jasper Author Of The Emotions of Protest

From my list on what drives protestors.

Why am I passionate about this?

James M. Jasper has written a number of books and articles on politics and social movements since the 1980s, trying to get inside them to see what participants feel and think. In recent years he has examined the many emotions, good and bad, involved in political engagement. He summarizes what he has learned in this short book, The Emotions of Protest, taking the reader step by step through the emotions that generate actions, to those that link us to groups, down to the emotional and moral impacts of social movements. The book is hopeful and inspiring but at the same time also clear-eyed about the limitations of protest politics.

James' book list on what drives protestors

James M. Jasper Why did James love this book?

Internal dynamics, especially decisionmaking, often become more important to protest groups than the impact they are having on the outside world. Through vivid cases in twentieth-century America, Polletta relates the internal and the external, showing that groups decide what to do and who they are -- strategy and identity -- at the same time. She is especially good on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee of the early 1960s.

By Francesca Polletta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freedom Is an Endless Meeting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Freedom Is an Endless Meeting offers vivid portraits of American experiments in participatory democracy throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on meticulous research and more than one hundred interviews with activists, Francesca Polletta challenges the conventional wisdom that participatory democracy is worthy in purpose but unworkable in practice. Instead, she shows that social movements have often used bottom-up decision making as a powerful tool for political change.

Polletta traces the history of democracy in early labor struggles and pre-World War II pacifism, in the civil rights, new left, and women's liberation movements of the sixties and seventies, and in today's faith-based…


Book cover of Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro: Trafficking, Social Networks, and Public Security

Robert Gay Author Of Bruno: Conversations with a Brazilian Drug Dealer

From my list on the drugs and violence in Brazil.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was twelve, my family moved to Brazil for a year because of my father’s work. I’ve been fascinated by the country and it has been always been the focal point of my research. Initially, my focus was how neighborhood associations in Rio’s favelas took advantage of new political opportunities during the transition to democracy in the mid-1980s. By the mid-1990s, however, the neighborhoods had all been occupied by heavily armed and occasionally violent drug gangs. Since then, I've tried to figure out the dynamics of this process, from the involved actors’ points of view. Including the voices of participants in drug gang life and those, like Bruno, who bring drugs to market.

Robert's book list on the drugs and violence in Brazil

Robert Gay Why did Robert love this book?

Arias’ book is the product of nine years of intensive ethnographic research in three favelas (shanty towns) of Rio de Janeiro. This enables him to assess how local community leaders deal with the parallel power of drug gangs that become entrenched in their neighborhoods. Unable to rely on the police, who are violent and corrupt, community leaders are forced to find ways to coexist with actors who represent a substantial financial and military threat to their authority. In terms of methodology, this is a really impressive piece of research!

By Enrique Desmond Arias,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Taking an ethnographic approach to understanding urban violence, Enrique Desmond Arias examines the ongoing problems of crime and police corruption that have led to widespread misery and human rights violations in many of Latin America's new democracies. Employing participant observation and interview research in three favelas (shantytowns) in ""Rio de Janeiro"" over a nine-year period, Arias closely considers the social interactions and criminal networks that are at the heart of the challenges to democratic governance in urban Brazil. Much of the violence is the result of highly organized, politically connected drug dealers feeding off of the global cocaine market. Rising…


Book cover of Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America

Annette Bay Pimentel Author Of All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

From my list on children’s books for young activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up watching my older sister march through the world, pointing out to adults what was wrong with society and how they should change it. She included me in her activism sometimes, like the time she and I leafletted the neighbors, reminding them that they should vote in the next election. I want kids who aren’t lucky enough to grow up with an activist sibling to know that their voices matter. I write books about kids, like Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, who change the world.

Annette's book list on children’s books for young activists

Annette Bay Pimentel Why did Annette love this book?

The United States of America has a proud but checkered tradition of freedom. This book gives kids nuance about the past while celebrating expanding access to freedom. The text rhymes and is satisfyingly rhythmic. A refrain carries us through the sweep of history: “We heard ever louder/ Equality’s call:/ A right isn’t right/ Till it’s granted to all.” The illustrations show the slow accumulation of more and more people gaining access to civil rights, culminating in an image of people of all genders, colors, and abilities celebrating their right to vote. The trim size of this book about equal rights is, like my book, a perfect square: 4 perfectly equal sides physically reminding the reader who holds it of the theme of the book.

By Deborah Diesen, Magdalena Mora (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Equality's Call as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Learn all about the history of voting rights in the United States—from our nation’s founding to the present day—in this powerful picture book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Pout-Pout Fish.

A right isn’t right
till it’s granted to all…

The founders of the United States declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men of means were allowed to vote. This unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure…


Book cover of Leading Through Collaboration: Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Author Of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

From my list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations.

Why are we passionate about this?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.

James' book list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Why did James love this book?

A very personal look at strategies, mindsets and tools to create collaborative leaders and more collaborative organizations. John Glaser balances both theory and practical advice gained from his extensive experience as both an outside consultant and an internal leader, as school superintendent of one of California’s most prominent and successful school districts, Napa Valley Unified School District. John Glaser knows what he’s writing about.

By John P. Glaser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leading Through Collaboration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`Written by a very successful leader, problem solver and negotiator, the book combines a strong rationale for its practices, well delineated practical strategies, and vignettes from John Glaser's extensive background that provides the reader with a clear understanding of how to become a truly collaborative leader' - Pat Wolfe, Education Consultant Mind Matters, Inc

'What a marvelous blend of theory and practice! Glaser's writing is so engaging, so personal, and so informative that you will want to read every word. This book should be a requirement for every person who is serious about learning how to lead.' - Leonard O.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about New York City, presidential biography, and New York State.

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