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Personal Village, How to Have People in Your Life by Choice, Not Chance Paperback – September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Hara Publising Group; 1st edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887542086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887542081
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marv Thomas's roots run deep in the strong farm family values of hard work and mutual support that were the backbone of his upbringing in the Pacific Northwest. Originally trained as an auto mechanic he started his early career building racing cars, became a skilled metal worker and eventually worked as a carpenter. At college he received a degree in Engineering after which he worked in the aerospace industry as a part of the team that sent the men to the moon. In 1966 Thomas earned a degree in Social Work and began practicing as a psychotherapist, group leader, organizational consultant, educator and personal growth trainer. In his nearly four decades in practice, Thomas noticed that many of the people who came to him probably would not need therapy if they had been connected with a strong personal circle of supportive people. It was this revelation that led him to focus his attention on the challenges of helping people create personal communities as a means of leading a more productive and fulfilling life. In addition to his commitment to psychological research and practice, Thomas has studied history, sociology, religion, philosophy, social psychology, and urban design. By l980 he had coalesced all these interests into the development of a practical working model for community. Since that time he has been at the forefront of community and communal studies, writing about, lecturing and presenting workshops on the enhancement of what he calls the Personal Village. Marv is well known as a teacher, lecturer, psychotherapist and group dynamics trainer. He can be serious, funny, engaging and is ever committed to leading his students to a deep understanding of how to be fully alive. Marv lives in Seattle with his wife of 43 years and has two grown sons.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
The book is well organized, the ideas worthwhile.
john12812003@yahoo.com
Our hearts want to find a place where we are loved, needed and appreciated.
Rebecca of Amazon
This is the kind of book I want to share with everyone I know.
Karen Story

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
"To achieve intimacy with another, we have to begin by listening." ~Marvin Thomas

Marvin Thomas has written a fascinating book on friendship in the modern world. He is a Seattle author who earned his Master's in Social Work at the University of Washington. Through his life he has experienced the beauty of friendship and observed patterns that feed our genetically encoded desires to find relationships. He has also seen the damage of isolation and explains how we can use the "Principal of Seven" to fill our world with friends.

While we continue to be enamored with technology, we have become more and more isolated and yet the desire for friendship is still a force that drives us to seek companionship in our environments. While Marvin Thomas agrees that computers amplify the mind, he believes we cannot thrive when isolated. He also explains:

The basic universal needs
The essential ingredients of a healthy community
Why relationships need to be tended to on a regular basis
How you can find friends with similar interests
What to ask someone new when you first meet
How to keep a friendship for life

Most of us seem to keep connected with friends and family through e-mails. Marvin explores this idea and explains how e-mail can be like a journal that talks back to you. While e-mail may encourage deeper contemplation because you have time to consider what you want to say, Marvin Thomas encourages real-life relationships where you can nourish your soul through face-to-face intimate relationships.

Throughout "Personal Village" I had quite a few good laughs and many moments of enlightenment. The reading resources and movie suggestions looked tantalizing. Each chapter ends with a summary and a resource section.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By john12812003@yahoo.com on December 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Personal Village is a terrific guide for anyone who has relocated, divorced, changed jobs, left a community of any kind and is now trying to reestablish themselves. I retired a few years ago and have found the ideas here to be what I was looking for.
Personal Village is a marvelous resource for anyone looking for help in gathering friends. The book is well organized, the ideas worthwhile. Chapter layout is clear, good summary and the list of materials is helpful.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Just An Ordinary Gal on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most books about networking, dating, and making friends start at the point of contact: They assume that the user knows where to go to make friends. Thomas starts with the basics, from roaming your neighborhood to meet folks to the handy rule of thumb that it takes 7 visits to a new group for others to feel that you're one of the crowd.

I teach interpersonal communication, and this book has the best pointers I've yet read on how and how much to personally disclose to a new acquaintance, as one tests the waters and works toward building stronger ties and friendship.

Thomas avoids jargon and writes fluently in a down-to-earth, easy to read style. The book is well-organized. The chapter summaries and resources are a plus. Marvin Thomas has performed a much-needed service in offering this book to as a how-to manual for meeting and making friends in our fragmented society.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Personal Village: How To Have People In Your Life By Choice, Not Chance by expert relationship therapist Marvin Thomas is a do-it-yourself style "self-help" guide to resisting the dehumanizing and impersonal forces of the 21st century while establishing closer bonds with the people around us. Personal Village is especially recommended for offering a wealth of accessible, practical advice concerning avoiding destructive individuals; reinforcing and celebrating lasting friendships; and keeping our circle of friends diversified so that when change and loss occur we are not left alone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Boyd on June 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is so amazing. I have never written a review of a book. However, this is one that anyone that might be in the midst of "reinventing" their life as I am should read. I will soon be relocating to a new state and city and at the age of 59 that can be a little overwhelming. I am really looking forward to this new start and more than ever since reading this book and using the workbook. I have plans to start a study group after I am settled.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Karen Story on January 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book I want to share with everyone I know. A "where have you been all my life?" book. It speaks to my heart in countless ways.

Two weeks ago I was struggling with the winter blues/cabin fever. It was bitter cold out, and I felt housebound and lonely. I told my partner "I have to get out." He's said "Let's go walk around Green Lake." We bundled up and drove all the way from Kirkland and began to walk. Within 5 minutes we ran into some dear friends, who had also been feeling housebound (she said she'd woken up crying that morning, and her husband had said "Let's walk around Green Lake!"). Three miles flew by, and before we knew it we were hugging goodbye. I drove home feeling a warm sense of contentment.

When we got home, I opened up Personal Village to my bookmark and began to read. It was the chapter that discusses limbic resonance. It was as if it had been written just for me on that day, as it spoke to exactly how I was feeling: I had needed a people fix!

I have spent my whole life looking for, and being a part of, communities, and feeling frustrated when I'm not involved in any that are currently working well for me. This book is inspiring me to put more effort into finding what I want. I have often wished I lived in Paris during the salons. This book is inspiring me to create one!

I am extremely involved in my neighborhood, and I love what Marv says about why there is value in picking up trash and caring about the people and place where we live.

His lists of books, films, and other resources are fantastic.

If you have longed for a greater sense of community in your life, or if you have felt that something is missing, read this book.
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