Book Review: Change Activist Make Big Things Happen Fast


A Carmel McConnell book published by Perseus Publishing, 2001, 209 pages. Nonfiction: Business and personal growth.The book premise is that operating a profitable business and maintaining your personal principles are not mutually exclusive endeavors.

Upon opening this book my initial reaction was, “Hey, the publishers made a mistake.” The inside jacket of the book is printed like a stenographers pad. You know, top to bottom. Then, the very next page shifts back to the standard orientation. Then, believe it or don’t, the next two pages shift to the previous orientation. Finally, now that you are nice and sea-sick it flips back to standard orientation.

I don’t know about you, but this gimmicky really puts me off. I believe if you have something of value to say it will stand on it’s own, without tricks.

That being said, McConnell seems to be a stand up person. McConnell’s resume’ list 8 years as a social activist. An anti-war activist. An anti-racism activist. Then a business coach (?).

McConnell then provides an eleven item checklist that is the backbone for the whole book in a nutshell.

  1. Know who you are and what matters to you.
  2. Get clear on what you want to happen.
  3. Picture success in your mind’s eye.
  4. Be passionate!
  5. Ask: is it important and worthwhile?
  6. Work out allies and get a coalition together.
  7. Don’t forget your loved ones and a good night out!
  8. Give the media a good story.
  9. Ask for help from important people.
  10. Be very persistent when people say maybe.
  11. Advertising
  12. Expect to go off course on a regular basis before you get there!

It’s all very good stuff. It was good stuff in 1936 when Dale Carnegie outlined most of it.

It is worthy of note that McConnell donates about 1 pound (abut $2.00 American) of the proceeds of each book she sells to a breakfast program dedicated to providing juice and bagels to needy children in 5 Hackney primary schools.

Ultimately, the book put me off a bit. I guess there are a lot of veiled shots at what McConnell feels is an puffed up network of American authors of self-help books that sinks her stated altruistic motives for me.

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at (

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