Activist Tips: The Animal Activist’s Handbook
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Short version: buy it and read it – it will make you a better activist.
I watched a video several years ago of Bruce Friedrich speaking about activism. One of his pieces of advice? Cut your hair and start dressing nicely. Another? Read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. There were more jarring and frustrating ideas expressed that initially bothered me. I mean, why would I want to dress like some normal person and read a business book? What good is that going to do? Animal activism is all about protesting and being angry and punk, right?
Well, I came to realize that Bruce and his co-author Matt Ball (from Vegan Outreach) really know what they are talking about when they say these things.
If we really want to be an effective activist, buy this book and read it. Better yet, absorb it. Practice the ideas in it until they are second nature.
I can say from experience that dressing up helps when doing outreach. People are much more likely to listen to someone who is dressed up than they are to listen to someone in jeans and t-shirt. (There are of course exceptions and circumstances where this isn’t the case, but generally, in the general public, this is very often the case). You want to reduce the ways that someone might dismiss you offhand.
They recommend a whole list of books to read, among them 7 Habbits, Getting Things Done, The Tipping Point, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. All of these books are important and valuable – read as many of them as you can.
One last important piece of advice is to be very truthful in what we say and present. Our impulse is exagerate claims to be more convincing. It’s probably best to resist this impulse and speak as truthfully as possible.
For more information about the book and the authors, visit their website. They have a whole page of links with links to a couple of sample sections from the book.
This is really one of the most important books on animal activism published, and should be on the bookshelf of everyone concerened with working for animals.