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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revoluntionary Thinking About Community
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...
Published on June 29, 2010 by Joshua P. OConner

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate & Efficient Communities
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...
Published on July 8, 2010 by Kare Anderson


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revoluntionary Thinking About Community, June 29, 2010
This review is from: The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (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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18 of 18 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
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This review is from: The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars important, visionary onslaught against toxic consumerism, August 25, 2010
This review is from: The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate & Efficient Communities, July 8, 2010
This review is from: The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (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.

The more specific they are the more "spreadable" they become - and often they reflect more efficient ways to be mutually supportive. Some examples are as seemingly mundane as Freecycle - which is elegantly moderated in my Marin County by "Nicole," co-work space that are springing up and the Village movement started in Beacon Hill to enable more people to age in place among tight-knit neighbors.

When people do discover concrete ways they can be mutually-supportive they tend to adopt them, then modify them and to tell others. Word naturally spreads. From my work in forging partnerships to generate more value and visibility for individuals or organizations I've found that identifying the sweet spot of mutual interest between individuals and/or organizations is a crucial first step to exploring how to accomplish greater things together than one can alone. When people collaborate around an explicit shared purpose they tend to bring out the better sides in each other so they inevitably get closer.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the co-authors use their influence to advocate the creation of an online community where we could exchange ideas about what's working to create "abundant communities?
Here's some books that I've found helpful around the notion of helping each other and learn from each other. "The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash ProsperityTurning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the FutureConsequential Strangers: Turning Everyday Encounters Into Life-Changing Moments
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant to All, March 16, 2013
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I thought the book provided a create perspective on consumerism and the importance of community. I think whether you're in business, social work, or psychology this book is a great read. I've been recommending the book to friends and family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, March 8, 2013
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C. Dunlap (chicago, il usa) - See all my reviews
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I read this book for a graduate course in building community and it was excellent. I would recommend it for those interested in building bridges.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves a spot in any college-level social issues or business library, August 13, 2010
This review is from: The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (Hardcover)
THE ABUNDANT COMMUNITY: AWAKENING THE POWER OF FAMILIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS analyzes the impact of consumerism on families and communities, suggesting that purchase and outsourcing choices are gearing us outside communities for services and turning us into consumers and clients rather than neighbors sharing resources. This book makes a case for returning to community-based interactions and deserves a spot in any college-level social issues or business library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great critique on American culture, June 26, 2013
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Lots of great information on creating a more community oriented culture. Can be depressing to reflect on what our culture in America has become, but it's worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas for developing community, February 2, 2013
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This book discusses the negative effects we are experiencing due to the fact that we are a consumer society. Buying things does not make us happier. The authors get into what we need to do to create a more satisfied life and it is often in our own neighborhood and community. Even though they discussed "community" on a broad level, many of the suggestions and stories can be applied in my neighborhood community. I especially like the idea of people sharing their skills and interests (gifts) with their neighbors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Abundant Community - U Can Be An Effective Change Within Your Community, December 14, 2012
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This book was introduced to me through at our community networking meeting. A book club was formed. The information in the book is thought provoking and required more than passive reading. If you want to be part of the solution and not the problem it is a must read.
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