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We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy Perfect Paperback – May 23, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


We work with self-guiding teams. In the past, I observed these teams talking endlessly without coming to a decision. The former managers still had to cut through a lot of resistance. With the sociocratic method, the teams make decisions well. --N. den Boer, Director, Refinery Safety Department, Shell Oil

I have looked into many possible models for self-guiding organizations but have found nothing that so mobilizes the commitment and creativity of people. Sociocracy tops all others. --Dr. A.J. Joldersma, Economic Director of Kramp Minded, The Netherlands

It s phenomenal how sociocracy accesses and makes available all the intelligence in the group. --Connie Lindholm, Executive Director, Wisconsin Green Building Alliance

From the Publisher

This is the first book on sociocracy by native English speaking authors and the first to place sociocracy in the context of the historical development of governance and management theory. While it presents the theoretical foundations and history of sociocratic principles and methods, it also contains extensive "how to" information.


Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Sociocracy.info Press; 1st edition (May 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979282705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979282706
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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At this point this book has to be the best title in English on this important topic. Previously John Buck had tried to translate Endenburg's original book into English, but that did not prove a workable solution, both because of the structure of the book and the challenges of the translation.

The current book is tantamount to a retelling of the Endenburg story in English, and is much more readable. Personally I do believe that the word sociocracy is a liability, in part because people react negatively to the association with socialism, never mind that it is not warranted at all, but more importantly because it simply is not a clear name. I much prefer the names of dynamic governance which some people have used, or consent management which I have favored.

Be that as it may, this material is important, and as a management system, this model will only grow in importance. It is very profound indeed, both theoretically and practically, as you will only learn by practicing it. I don't mean doing a workshop. By actually implementing it in a group and going through at least a year of evolution. For all the challenges will come up, and it is only through surmounting those challenges that you learn the model works. The simple truth is that people use organizations to hide, and in a consent organization there is no place to hide. The learning process is that transparency is not a threat, but it is the solution, namely it marshalls the collective ability to adapt to change in an unprecedented way, and organizational stasis is largely avoided. Thus once an organization truly learns to work with this model, watch out. The sky is the limit!
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This book can be read in two ways: as an introduction to a more truly democratic way of organizing and governing organizations, or as a way to rethink how groups anywhere can improve dialogue and decision making to arrive at wiser outcomes. The way people talk together and the way they are organized are inextricably linked in organizations, and this book makes this linkage very clear.

We the People caused me to rethink how I view the roles of committees and teams from the perspective of how they could operate everyday as circles for dialogue and decision-making. The practices offered are simple and structural and easily fit within the way people work together day-day. The practices do not require people to change their behaviors, but only to follow a few process and organizational guidelines which can naturally help them work together more effectively. There are clear directions and good examples throughout. The section on the nature of consensus and consent as alternate approaches to decision-making is particularly helpful.

As I read the book I was reminded again and again of certain "democratically" run organizations, like town government and a church congregation, where these practices could be very helpful as an alternative to the practices (and side effects) of parliamentary procedure. I recommend this book to anyone interested in helping committees, teams and organizations run wiser, less polarizing meetings and organizations...or to those interested in rethinking the nature of democratic self-government.
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This book is about a method of working together with other people to accomplish something. Our current governance models are based on domination and competition. They don't work very well and people don't feel good in them. Never fear! A better way has been developed!

An engineer, Gerard Endenburg, examined the power structure at his electronics firm from a technical point of view and thought it was a pretty bad system. He not only wanted to create a system that functioned better, but one that treated all it's participants like humans and not robots - based in cooperation, like living organisms are.

Endenburg had bought and rescued the failing company. Ten years later, in 1968, using technical theory and trial-and-error he started developing his system. He refined it for years and then started a center that shows others how to use it. Forty years later there are over 200 businesses and groups experienced with it. It has proven to be very successful and resilient.

I call this model DG, Dynamic Governance like the other reviewer. It rewires power and, in that way is a threat to the powers that be. It disperses concentrated power. It's a peaceful revolution, though. Slow change, from the inside. It would be great if it was faster though (Get the book, and tell other people about it!)

As for it's decision-making method, called "consent", I realized that to make a decision any other way would be giving up power. Having this power requires responsibility. I've interviewed a lot of people who work in DG enterprises. For many of them it takes about a year of using the method to really understand what it's about and become more proactive and involved in the enterprise. Getting involved feels good because the enterprise is better than it was and getting better.
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More eduction about governance than I've ever, I mean ever, received. Plus it teaches Sociocracy conceptually and practically, with instructions and guides to the process. After learning in a weekend workshop, and in the google group for Sociocracy, this book - nay The Book really ties it all together. I appreciate learning each piece of the history of Sociocracy, from being a basic philosophy to a clearly well thought out system for group decision making. To anyone interested in Sociocracy - buy this book now!
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