Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change

Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change

A brilliant condemnation of political hobbyism—treating politics like entertainment—and a call to arms for well-meaning, well-informed citizens who consume political news, but do not take political action.

Who is to blame for our broken politics? The uncomfortable answer to this question starts with ordinary citizens with good intentions. We vote (sometimes) and occasionally sign a petition or attend a rally. But we mainly “engage” by consuming politics as if it’s a sport or a hobby. We soak in daily political gossip and eat up statistics about who’s up and who’s down. We tweet and post and share. We crave outrage. The hours we spend on politics are used mainly as pastime.

Instead, we should be spending the same number of hours building political organizations, implementing a long-term vision for our city or town, and getting to know our neighbors, whose votes will be needed for solving hard problems. We could be accumulating power so that when there are opportunities to make a difference—to lobby, to advocate, to mobilize—we will be ready. But most of us who are spending time on politics today are focused inward, choosing roles and activities designed for our short-term pleasure. We are repelled by the slow-and-steady activities that characterize service to the common good.

In Politics Is for Power, pioneering and brilliant data analyst Eitan Hersh shows us a way toward more effective political participation. Aided by political theory, history, cutting-edge social science, as well as remarkable stories of ordinary citizens who got off their couches and took political power seriously, this book shows us how to channel our energy away from political hobbyism and toward empowering our values.

Title:Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781982116781
Format Type:

    Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change Reviews

  • Melora

    I got the recommendation for this one from a politics podcast, and, if you spend a lot of time listening to politics podcasts, you are probably the target audience for this book. Because... you might ...

  • Mehrsa

    This is a very important book if not an obvious point. You have to play politics to win. And that doesn't mean playing dirty. It means organizing on the ground--at the school board, local party chapte...

  • Micah

    I inhaled this book in one sitting, literally, while waiting to renew my license at the DMV. Tufts political science professor Eitan Hersh precisely captures the difference between activism and organi...

  • Justus

    Hersh's book starts out on fairly uncontroversial ground before sliding into substantially more controversial arguments and while much of it is vaguely common sense I think the more controversial bits...

  • Susan

    This is a spot-on description of how people, particularly white educated liberals, tend to engage in politics, and how it doesn’t really result in achieving their professed political agenda. The sug...

  • Lada

    The historical background and analysis of present state are riveting. The suggestions for turning party associations to volunteer or community organizations seems far fetched....

  • Chris Rhodenbaugh

    One of the best political books I've read and a text I will be referencing for many years to come. The Trump Administration has pushed my optimism to the brink and this book just gave me a guide to re...

  • Jake

    This book brought a mirror up to me and forced me to acknowledge that I am the person this book is written for and about. Sure, I’ve canvassed plenty of times and I’ve dabbled in some campaigns in...

  • KP

    Overall, I think this book is excellent for kicking folks (like me!) in the trousers and telling them to get off their ass and actually DO politics rather than just TALK about politics. I've been slow...

  • Bill West

    5 stars for cluing me into some ways I'm being a total idiot/phony with respect to civic engagement....