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Sometimes David Wins

Organizing to Overcome “Fated Outcomes”
Frank C. Pierson, Jr.
300 pages

Product Description

Goliaths of the world, beware!

What you peddle as “fated outcomes” are no such thing. You just want us to believe: “You can’t fight big corporations or billionaires or lobbyists or politicians; our victory is inevitable.” But it’s not; and you know it. Along comes a David or a Davida with his/her/their slingshot, and the power equation suddenly changes — not always, but often enough to make a real difference in the lives of ordinary families and their communities.

Sometimes David Wins is a remarkable book of true stories by community organizer Frank Pierson, who spent a career encouraging and training people to organize enough power to take on the Goliaths that sought to do them wrong. Starting with his own family’s checkered history of involvement in the infamous Ludlow Massacre in Colorado in 1914 and continuing through the founding of community organizations in Illinois, New York, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, Pierson weaves his considerable storytelling skills to create a picture of “the world as it could be” if people and their institutions had the ability to bring Goliath down…as a young shepherd in the Bible once did.

About the author

Frank C. Pierson, Jr., formerly an organizer and supervisor with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), helped build and sustain institutionally based community organizations across the country while also serving on the national training team and national staff of the IAF for many of those years. Pierson led a series of leadership training sessions for the International Republican Institute in Budapest in 2001 (with Tom Holler, Scott Jacobson, and Ron St. John) and has published many articles about organizing in local and national media and on the websites he manages, and His experience includes political and community-building work in Oracle, Arizona, where he lives with his wife, Mary Ellen Kazda.

Advance Praise for Sometimes David Wins

Frank Pierson has written a compelling book on organizing, using his own unique voice and complex perspective. Raised in the Philadelphia area, Pierson has worked in big cities and small towns around the country, listening long and respectfully to leaders of all kinds and then carefully coaching them — first to build a non-partisan power organization for themselves and then to use it to take on those “Goliaths” who try to exclude ordinary people and their institutions from winning meaningful recognition, respect, and results in the public arena.

Sometimes David Wins has remarkable range in bringing varied and challenging people and places to life. But Pierson’s book also has great depth about his family connection to the early days of corporate dominance in isolated Arizona mining towns and his own connection to Saul Alinsky, the wellspring of community organizing who first learned from the incomparable labor organizer John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers (UMW) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

If you want to understand how an accomplished organizer wrestles with personal tensions and turns them into fuel that sustains a successful career, this is the book for you. — Mike Gecan, former co-executive director, Industrial Areas Foundation, and author of Going Public and People’s Institutions in Decline

The Goliaths of the world often get first dibs at writing history. In Sometimes David Wins Frank Pierson spotlights the Davids — cheering them on and recognizing them for wielding their slingshots with great precision and effect. Read this book if you’re tired of the constant media stream that only covers government or business or Republicans-v-Democrats. There’s a better way to build our democracy, and this book tells that story. — Adrienne McCauley, co-facilitator of the “Persuasive Writing for Leaders and Organizers” annual workshop and a Metro Industrial Areas Foundation lead organizer


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  1. The Actions described in this book work. II know because Frank taught us in Orace how to be successful in confronting massive development plans for our small town. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on Oct 3rd 2022

    I invite anyone considering whether to buy this book (“Sometimes David Wins”) to recall any past incident in your community when or large corporation was allowed to build a mega-business near your neighborhood, or a political entity pushed a large highway through your town, or a developer built a batch of speculative houses that destroyed your natural views, or a hyper-conservative movement interfered with your schools teaching methods etc.
    LIke most people you may not have done more that complain to your friends. Or perhaps in the spirit of service and good will you attended long boring public meetings usually to face the inevitable win of the organized entities who over-rode the mostly dis-organized ‘locals’.
    But unlike most people, when a mega developer came to my small town to build, with government permission a massive housing project on ex-Ranch property that surrounded our charming historic community, we had the luck of having Kaz and Frank Pierson living among us.
    Today our community is a joy to live in and our people bonded from our work in learning how to care for it together. This book is Frank’s best shot at sharing his vast experience in a way that you and your community can use when you need it. It’s also a great read and a great story.

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