The next three books from the past give insights into grassroot organisation, and understanding how crowds and groups work.
- Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky: This book from the 1970s is a primer on how to organize at the grassroots level. Even though the book was written in the US, many of the ideas are what we can apply in the Indian context. From the book’s opening paragraph: “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”
- The Crowd by Gustave le bon: Published nearly a hundred years ago, the lessons from the book still ring true. From its description: “One of the greatest and most influential books of social psychology ever written, brilliantly instructive on the general characteristics and mental unity of a crowd, its sentiments and morality, ideas, reasoning power, imagination, opinions and much more. A must-read volume not only for students of history, sociology, law and psychology, but for every politician, statesman, investor, and marketing manager.”
- The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups by Mancur Olson: This books discusses the theory of groups (which will be central to what we will discuss later). From the book’s description: “This book develops an original theory of group and organizational behavior that cuts across disciplinary lines and illustrates the theory with empirical and historical studies of particular organizations. Applying economic analysis to the subjects of the political scientist, sociologist, and economist, Mr. Olson examines the extent to which the individuals that share a common interest find it in their individual interest to bear the costs of the organizational effort.”
Continued next week.