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The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods [Kindle Edition]

John McKnight , Peter Block
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

We need our neighbors and community to stay healthy, produce jobs, raise our children, and care for those on the margin. Institutions and professional services have reached their limit of their ability to help us.

The consumer society tells us that we are insufficient and that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside the community. We have become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors. John McKnight and Peter Block show that we have the capacity to find real and sustainable satisfaction right in our neighborhood and community.

This book reports on voluntary, self-organizing structures that focus on gifts and value hospitality, the welcoming of strangers. It shows how to reweave our social fabric, especially in our neighborhoods. In this way we collectively have enough to create a future that works for all.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

For nearly three decades, John McKnight has conducted research on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organizations, neighborhood policy, and institutional racism. He currently directs research projects focused on asset-based neighborhood development and methods of community building by incorporating marginalized people. John serves on the Board of Directors of numerous community organizations including the Gamaliel Foundation and The National Training and Information Center. McKnight is a professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.

Peter Block is an author, consultant. His work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He’s the author of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, The Answer to How is Yes, and Community

Product Details

  • File Size: 413 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1605095842
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (June 14, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003MW0H74
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,812 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revoluntionary Thinking About Community June 29, 2010
When diving into the whole arena of civic/community engagement, most people are almost instantaneously bombarded with advice and information on how to link together organizations, where to get funding, and how to build the community with resources that come from outside. We are told that there are systems and processes that hold the key to a better life. John McKnight and Peter Block steer the reader in a different direction in "The Abundant Community". Rather than looking externally McKnight and Block encourage the reader to look within the community to find an abundance of resources.

McKnight and Block start the book with an examination of how we have succumbed to consumerism in a manner so pervasive that we have eroded the very foundation of community. This examination shows how we have traded the inevitable imperfections in services or fallibility in humans for highly efficient systems which revolve around flawless management, fiscal performance, and scalability. "The Abundant Community" proposes a better, more connected way of living.

Rather than learning to blame problems on a lack of governance or those around us, McKnight and Block teach us to turn to our own resources and the resources already present in our community (the people) in order to build community competence. "The Abundant Community" is revolutionary in its message. By mobilizing community members to be more connected and more welcoming the community the can become the solution to its own problems. Instead of making the community and our lives more efficient, the authors focus on how we can create a life that is more compassionate. Within their vision, the gifts that exist among residents become a pooled resource and create a community of abundance.

To quote the welcome to "The Abundant Community", "This book is an invitation into a new possibility for each of us to live a more satisfying life".
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideas and Actions for the Real Challenges that Face Us August 30, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
John McKnight and Peter Block have written a visionary manual for the world we are entering, the world we must create if we are to survive the crisises that threaten to overwhelm us. The economic changes caused by the end of the petroleum era are immense and immediate for an economy like ours. The humanitarian, ecological, and financial costs associated with climate change -- the increase in the severity of storms like in Pakistan -- the widespread change in rain and moisture patterns in the food baskets of the planet -- these too threaten to overwhelm government. Although its rhetoric is off point, the Tea Party Movement in the US is, in part, a response to this disintegration of global industrial systems.

The Abundant Community offers answers to these challenges and more by redirecting our attention to the resources of our immediate community, neighborhood, family. Their message is commonsense and hopeful. This book is a transformation experience, one that can help launch a new movement -- one McKnight and Block call Asset Based Community Development or ABCD, for short.

Don't worry about the academic terminology. Buy this book. And share it with all you think are looking for a path forward. It has the answers.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This book has a laid back title, but within its covers there is a lot going on, a powerful, full frontal assault on the consumer system, consumer mind and the economic system that supports them.

The book offers concrete, detailed ideas on how to return to community, how to do it competently, with heart, compassion, kindness and as unique individuals.

There's a growing conversation on relocalization, on transition towns, on moving past capitalism and the constant growth economy. This book provides a very important dimension to the solution-- a dimension truly at the heart of the answer.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate & Efficient Communities July 8, 2010
In this weak economy where budgets of local governments and non-profit budgets will continue to get slashed, it is especially heartening to read the mutual-reliance message inherent in this book.

Rather than rely solely on outsiders and related funding and services, the authors suggest we band together with other locals to come up with our own solutions to problems - and ways to leverage the resources we each have in support of "our" community.

While the authors advocate "no more relying on institutions or systems to provide us with the good life" the ideas that are good enough to be adopted do tend to get honed into systems and sometimes even institutions. That's part of the ebb and flow of community design.

I see variations on this message from web sites like [...] and from the creative people cited in Richard Florida's books (see below).

Another reviewer notes that the authors advocate our striving toward greater compassion for each other rather than greater systems of efficiency. I believe however that, like natural systems and user-friendly design, finding ways to be more efficient are often acts of caring for one's community.

Not only do I feel compassion but usually genuine liking for those in my community who suggest a way to make our community better run and/or close-knit. That's compassion in action.

As a long admirer of Block's ideas who believes that the economy will be bumpy at best for the next five or so years I am heartened by the several specific ways that bottom-up community-building is happening - and that the models for such local efforts spreading so leaders in different communities can learn from each other's local experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank YOu.
Published 4 days ago by Chicago Joe
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is one of the best I've read this year
This book is one of the best I've read this year. It is both deconstructive and constructive. It reveals the degree to which consumerism has damaged our families and communities... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Allen Engler
5.0 out of 5 stars Reorganizing Your Neighborhood
My phone just rang, it was a telemarketer trying to get me to sell me a time share condominium in some place that I have no interest in going. Read more
Published 2 months ago by John Matlock
5.0 out of 5 stars a number of great ideas.
It would be a good idea to see McKnight giving a talk, before you dive into this. However, the book reads pretty well. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Steve Langdon
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Cut It for Me
I have generally been a fan of Block (and McKnight/Kretzman). But I find Block a bit condescending on this subject, and think there are better books out there.
Published 5 months ago by B. Hepp
3.0 out of 5 stars A compelling argument that lacks concrete solutions.
An evocative read for those looking to question the impact of consumerism on our communities and some strategies to build resilient and flourishing communities. Read more
Published 5 months ago by joe Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great condition!
Published 6 months ago by K. Thomas
2.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing. Few specific ideas about how "the ...
A little disappointing. Few specific ideas about how "the Abundant Community" is to be created.
Published 7 months ago by Duns Scotus
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a useful an. Beautiful book
This is a useful an. Beautiful book .

Shows clearly why the concept of co
mummify is so important ,
Stablished the principles on which we build competent... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Open minded
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent, and a new twist to the author's previous outstanding books about Community.
Published 8 months ago by Howard Cort
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