The Father of Community Organization and The Father of Creating Wealth the Rules for Radicals

The Father of Community Organization and The Father of Creating Wealth the Rules for Radicals As the Internet opened the door to the world and its connectivity so has the perspective of creation of new job roles and skill sets that are currently unknown for the 21st century. How do we prepare for the unknown? In a recent book review February 18, 2011 by Dave Kansas in the WSJ entitled, ‘Rules for Radicals’ and the book ‘Eat people’ by Andy Kessler is a clever play on words using Saul Alinsky’s book entitled ‘Rules for Radicals’. See the full book review:

Rules For Radicals_2011_WSJ

Kessler’s book focuses on creating wealth as an entrepreneur and provides 12 rules on how to be the top tier as he describes as a Creator – as they are the top of the food chain. What you don’t want to be is the Servers and the sub-set, such as Sloppers, Super Sloppers, Sponges, Slackers, Thieves and Slimers if you are to be the next biggest creator of wealth. “The Makes versus the Takes (114).” As he describes the positions of the Makers and Takers he refers to “The English classification system and was quite simple, -Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor -Rich Man, Poor Man Beggar Man, Thief -And then the American’s added: Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief (p 112).”

What is Saul Alinsky’s definition of the Realistic Radical versus the Free Radical as explained in Kessler’s definition? Originally Alinsky’s focus was on Realistic Radical versus Rhetorical Radical and being a community organizer for the good of all without being an extremist and to truly understand the meaning of power.

Kessler believes that Alinsky is about redistribution of wealth, not the creation of wealth and Alinsky’s focus, between the classes of people of the Haves and the Have-Nots. Kessler’s Makes and the Takes sound a lot like Alinsky’s Haves and Have-nots. Kessler’s definition in the book Eat People (2011) of a Free Radical, “a free radical is someone who not only creates wealth for themselves, but at the same time, improves the world, makes life better, and increases everyone else’s standard of living (p 24).” Isn’t Kessler’s definition what Alinsky was talking about as a community organizer, in his 11 Rules of Means and Ends and Tactics? (See Rules below) After all, Kessler admits that part of his inspiration for his book Eat People is due to Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals written in 1971.

Kessler does a good job at bringing the content from Alinsky’s into the 21st century. Kessler goes on to say, that the Free Radical additionally pulls off this parlor trick by destroying the status quo or a stealth tax on society, a true Free Radical improves society and is paid handsomely for doing so (p225).”

Great! Our new jobs will be created yes by Kessler’s Creator who can help stem the gap of the Have and Have-Nots and leave our local communities in better shape to reap the benefits. The increase in productivity is the key to the great divide. As Kessler points out, “According to the Economic Policy Institute, Labor productivity is a measure of the amount of goods and services that the average worker produces in an hour of work. The level of productivity is the single most important determinant of a country’s standard of living (p 87)”.

Andy, you could not have said this any better!

We are competing worldwide more and more and we need to ready for this new culture to create new jobs now not later.

In summary, how can we get our organizations today to change their current thinking and focus on how to increase productivity of each worker in their fold? Where and when does this change management in our leadership begin to engage and enrich the lives of those under their management? What learning tools can we use to sustain a true organic system within the organization for continual learning? How do we prepare our leaders to add economic value to the Free Radicals?

Of Means and Ends – 11 Rules “We cannot think first and act afterwards. From the moment of birth we are immersed in action and can only fitfully guide it by taking thought.” – Alfred North Whitehead

That perennial question, “Does the end justify the means?

Is meaningless as it stands; the real and only question regarding the ethics of means and ends is, and always has been, “Does this particular end justify this particular means?”

Rules for Radicals – A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals – Saul D. Alinsky “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.” –Saul Alinsky

1. Rule number one: first, that one’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue. Accompanying this rule is the parallel one that one’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s distance from the scene of conflict.

2. The second rule of the ethics of means and ends is that the judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.

3. The third rule of the ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means.

4. The fourth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.

5. The fifth rule of ethics of means and ends is that concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.

6. The sixth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that the less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.

7. The seventh rule of ethics and means and ends is generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.

8. The eighth rule of the ethics and means is that the morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.

9. The ninth rule of the ethics and means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical. 10. The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.

11. The eleventh rule of the ethics of means and ends is that goals must be phrased in general terms like “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” “of the common Welfare,” “Pursuit of Happiness” or Bread and Peace.” (p. 24-47)

Alinsky, S. (1971). Rules for radicals: a pragmatic primer for realistic radicals. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

The 12 rules in “Eat People” are more like 12 philosophies. Eat People and Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs – By Andy Kessler

Mr. Kessler’s heroes, he says, are the free radicals of the business world, “someone who not only creates wealth . . . but at the very same time, improves the world, makes life better, and increases everyone else’s standard of living.

Rule #1 If it doesn’t Scale, It will Get Stale 

Rule #2: Waste What’s Abundant to Make Up For What’s Scarce” is a bit of a mind-bender at first, given society’s intense focus on preserving, recycling and sustaining.

Rule #3: When in Doubt, Get Horizontal” is also alluring.

Rule #4: Intelligence Moves Out to the Edge of the Network.

Rule #5: Wealth Comes From Productivity”—yes, OK.

Rule # 6: Adapt to Humans; Don’t Make Them Adapt to You

Rule # 7: “Be Soylent—Eat People,” in a reference to “Soylent Green,” the 1973 science-fiction movie about overpopulation.

Rule #8: Markets Make Better Decisions Than Managers” also seems obvious, though markets have come in for some banging in the past couple of years.

Rule #9: Embrace Exceptionalism” is a riff on how culture rewards mediocrity and how Mr. Kessler’s Free Radicals don’t.

Rule #10 Be a Market Entrepreneur and Attack Political Entrepreneurs

Rule #11: Use Zero Marginal Cost to Create a Flood (or Someone Else Will)

Rule #12: Create Your Own Scarcity with a Virtual Pipe Kessler, A. (2011). Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs. New York, NY: Portfolio/Penguin Group.  

Tactics – Saul D. Alinsky “We will either find a way or make one”.

– Hannibal “Tactics means doing what you can with what you have.

Tactics are those consciously deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them. In the world of give and take, tactics is the art of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves. Always remember the first rule of power tactics”:

1. The first rule: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

2. The second rule: Never go outside the experience of your people.

3. The third rule: Wherever possible go outside of the expertise of the enemy.

4. The fourth rule: Make the enemy live up to their own rules.

5. The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is the man’s most potent weapon.

6. The sixth rule: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

7. The seventh rule: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

8. The eighth rule: Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

9. The ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

10. The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

11. The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside; this is based on the principle that every positive has its negative.

12. The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. (You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying, “You’re right-we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.”

13. The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Universal rule: One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and “frozen.” (p. 126-164)

Alinsky, S. (1971). Rules for radicals: a pragmatic primer for realistic radicals. New York, NY: Vintage Books.  

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.