3 top books for more information on outreach

October 29, 2010

Hey, it’s the weekend, so let’s wrap up outreach week with the longest Staying Vegan video EVER! OK, 6 minutes isn’t that long, really, and you’ve got the whole weekend to soak it in, but technically, longest ever. Yay.

I wanted to wrap the week up with some resources for those of you who want to extend your outreach skills but didn’t want to wait until we returned to the topic, so here are three books I found really helpful:

Easy links here:

Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism – hands down my favourite book on getting involved in animal activism, and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m in it 🙂

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive – a great set of ideas in snack-sized portions. If you just want to dip your toe in the waters of sales psychology (which is a key area of study if you want to get to be effective as an activist, if you ask me) this is my top recommendation. It’ll work for social situations like we discussed this week or organized campaigns that you might read about in Mark’s book.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – like I said, a bit more intense than Yes!, but if you want to dive in deep it’s a bit cheaper and more informative to boot.

(Full disclosure: we earn a small commission for any purchases made through those links.)

Question for the comments this weekend: what’s the difference between persuading, influencing, and manipulating, and when it comes to helping animals, do you think it matters?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason October 29, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Also, minor trivia: I obviously shot the video in the kitchen, but edits and uploads and posting were done from a moving train. I love the glorious future we live in!

Catherine Miller November 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I am interested in what others think about the line between influence and manipulation. My NaNoWriMo story is about a character who struggles with finding the right approach to activism.

Amanda November 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I wish someone would write a book about how to get my husband to like vegan foods. He’s a “meat and potatoes” sort of guy and thinks all vegetables taste like dirt. I cooked him bacon and eggs this morning thinking, “why do I always have to cook 2 completely different meals for us?” It gets so aggrovating, and I usually end up saying something mean (albeit true) along the lines of “you’re going to die 25 years before me, so I better start looking for your replacement”.
I just really don’t think I will ever convert him. Maybe I can get a vegan extremeist to throw a bucket of red paint on him every time he eats meat.

Jason November 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Catherine, I think it comes down to intent, really, with manipulation being the evil one of the two, but I’m having a hard time putting it into words beyond that, hence the question 🙂

Good luck with NaNoWriMo! Exciting, and I’m glad to hear you’ve added a vegan theme to the mix!

Jason November 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Amanda, Neal Barnard from PCRM has a funny story about how his mom went vegan, and thanks to the joy of mock meats, his dad’s vegan too, but they’re not sure if he realizes it yet.

I’m not saying you should try to fool your husband outright (the technology isn’t there yet, and he’ll see through it pretty quickly for most products,) but it’s worth trying to introduce a few vegan meals that mirror meat stuff under the banner of “let’s have a meal together” – which could be for togetherness or just say you need to save some time in the kitchen a few nights of the week. Mock meats work well as a compromise (especially stuff like chilli or pasta sauce) or you could go with a veganized traditional dish – I recommend the Vegan Family Cookbook for some ideas there.

Amanda November 3, 2010 at 1:55 am

Thanks Jason, you’ve given me an idea- Since he will refuse anything He knows is vegan, I will try replacing little things here and there for him. Today I made spaghetti, but instead of making a seperate pan of ground beef for him, I just used my Lightlife Smart Ground for the both of us. He didn’t even notice. 🙂

Jason November 3, 2010 at 2:08 am

Helpful tip: don’t yell “sneak attack!” with each bite he takes. People get suspicious when that happens.

Joshua Matthews November 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Giving people vegan versions of foods has made me think about honesty. Whenever I give someone a ‘veganised’ food, I always tell them that’s it’s animal-free. Some people eat it and say whether they liked it or not but some refuse it point blank: “It’ll taste like crap.” or hestitantly try some and they say, “I can tell the difference.”

Would it be unethical to just say nothing unless they ask? After all, it’s not like they never eat plant food or are morally opposed to it.

Amanda November 7, 2010 at 2:55 am

Growing up I always hated brussels sprouts, to the point of kicking and screaming tantrums. My mom began chopping them up and serving them up in tacos and casseroles, and I couldn’t tell. When she told me, I didn’t feel double-crossed, and knew that if she told me beforehand I would have refused to eat it from the get-go. I don’t think it’s being at all wrong to sneak healthy food into conventional food as long as it doesn’t go against the person’s beliefs. For instance, I wouldn’t serve a beef tenderloin to a Hindu person, telling them it’s actually tofurky.

David November 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I want to side with feeding people secret vegan food, but it’s too easy to imagine the flip-side… when I have kids, I don’t want any rogue grandparents sneaking meat into their diet “for their own good.”

There must be some middle ground here though, since most meat-eaters aren’t ingredient-checkers. Maybe you can get away with an approach to feed first, answer questions later.

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