Today’s Resource Recommendation is The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer.
If I wanted to start a religion (or a cult), I can think of no better place to begin than this book.
Since I don’t want to do those things, why would I be recommending this book?
Yes, the book talks openly and brashly about what all mass movements (Christianity, Islam, the KKK, and fascism all included) have in common, and while I am not interested in starting a movement of that size or scope, the observations made by the author are interesting, thought-provoking and wise.
The book was written in 1951, and the author was about the same age as I am now as I read it in 2012. A few of the examples are dated, and if you aren’t sharp on your history, some might be lost on you. The points and insights are as fresh today as they have ever been.
If you want to engage a group towards a goal, and want to know all of the components of making that happen, this book will give you ideas.
If you want to understand how to maintain energy in your organization, community or even social network, there are action steps here.
The book isn’t a how to book however – there are no chapter summaries, action plans or even diagrams or graphics.
The lessons here are for you to uncover and polish for yourself, and if you take the time to do that you will gain ideas that will make a difference for you as both a human being and a leader. The book’s subtitle promises “thoughts,” and if you read the author’s thoughts, I am confident you will generate many useful thoughts for yourself too.