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The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods Hardcover – June 14, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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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

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (June 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605095842
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605095844
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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