How to Change the World (The School of Life) Paperback – 10 May 2012
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What difference can you make in the world?
About the Author
John-Paul Flintoff is an author, writer and broadcaster. He trained as an investigative reporter, worked for several years at the Financial Times, and has written for many other newspapers and magazines around the world. His work has won several awards, and has led directly to changes in UK government policy. For more, see www.flintoff.org
The School of Life is a London-based enterprise that is dedicated to the most useful ideas relevant to the dilemmas of everyday life. We consider questions like: How can we fulfil our potential? Can work be inspiring? Why does community matter? Can relationships last a lifetime? We don’t have all the answers, but we will direct you towards a variety of useful ideas – from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts – that are guaranteed to stimulate, provoke, nourish and console.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, with a title like How to Change the World, you could be forgiven for rolling your eyes. Roll not. This is a more practical and modest treatise than you might expect. It begins by blowing away the notion that changing the world is about big important matters, dismissing the popular conception that "history is about the action of dominant individuals." Far from it. History is composed, as Tolstoy said, by "an infinitely large number of infinitesimally small actions." We all influence the world around us every day, in dozens of little ways, whether we like it or not.
The key is to be more deliberate about how we influence things, to aim higher, to be more intentional. That means overcoming inertia, summoning our courage, and taking a first step. If you know exactly what you want to do, you might want to strategise a little. If you don't have a particular goal in mind, you can still get on with changing the world in little ways, right where you are.
There's lots of good advice here about how to make change happen, how to convince people and get them board with your cause. There are personal stories and historical asides that show just how much change can come from relatively small actions. Rosa Parks, Flintoff reminds us, played a major role in ending racial segregation in America by sitting on a bus.Read more ›
If, like me, you tend to get bogged down in the enormity of the problems that we face then this is useful way to start making small but meaningful changes in your life. I like this little book because it gave me a nudge to get off my derriere and actually do something positive.
JP Flintoff's writing is good humoured and readable and yet it draws on a vast range of sources from deep ecology, philosophy, religion, social theory and psychology. You can't help but feel inspired to start a Guerrilla Gardening movement or yarn bomb your town centre. Things you can do range from making an inspirational banner, sharing out your surplus veg or helping an elderly neighbour to starting a non-violent protest or setting up your own social enterprise. There are even some written exercises you can do to help to focus your thoughts.
The over-arching message of this book is that we can only stand to benefit from taking positive action. We can make our own lives better and more satisfying if we take action to change things that we think need changing.
Definitely worth a read and also worth dipping back into from time to time to remind yourself that the work of changing the world never ends.
To do this (and so, change the world) Flintoff draws from many sources, including religious, (mainly Buddhist), historical, literary, sociological, environmental, artistic......the result being that he has gathered some of the most inspiring quotes together in these pages, and one cannot fail but to want to a)grow too many veggies, and then knock at neighbours' doors to offer them round; b)start a non-violent protest and c)use more humanistic language (all ideas, amongst many, offered by the author himself).
Personally, I love the idea of changing things......too often we resign ourselves to accepting the way things are, we get overwhelmed, we lose hope, get ill, don't like ourselves, or rant against "them" out there. This book explains there is no "them", not really. Flintoff gives examples of individuals who have contributed to great change and elucidates on how. He shares practical advice, including the odd self-help assignment (don't limit yourself to one role!), to facilitate action. Luckily, it's a little book, in bite-sized chapters, and can be read over the course of a day........so there's plenty of time to get on with all those initial steps we need to take.
An insightful and encouraging read to set us on the road to creating a great future.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is possible to change the world starting with ourselves!
Good insights about how we can make positive changes.
Very usefull last chaper (homework).
This book brought me back down to earth.
I think Jim Carrey's words will explain better,
"... Read more
Many people run a mile at the very thought of 'self-help' books especially titles like this.
'How to change the world' AS IF? Read more
An insightful albeit brief exploration of how individuals can take action to make a meaningful contribution to the world, well worth a read.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Some great ideas in this beautiful little book! Well worth the read and perfect for travellingPublished 15 months ago by sorcha carlin