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You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear Hardcover – May 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (May 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423125
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lappe popularized what she argued was the moral imperative of eating vegetarian in her 1971 classic, Diet for a Small Planet; Perkins co-founded the nonprofit Curious Minds, which helps youth identify and work towards a future vocation. Their idealistic treatise attempts to turn the constricting presence of fear into a "power to create the lives we want and the world we want." According to Perkins and Lappe, fear is spread by politicians and media that encourage people to be frightened of other countries and cultures, and that magnify the danger of crime. The result, they argue, is an emotionally paralyzed population, immobilized against real global dangers. In order to take action against environmental degradation, hunger and species extinction, people must dare to act, they say, and overcome fear by leaping into the unknown with creative solutions. They cite numerous examples of those who have helped trigger change in themselves and the world by taking risks. A woman named Jane Stern, for example, faced down a lifelong phobia about illness by becoming a volunteer medical technician and helping others who were sick and dying. After reading a newspaper story about a murdered homeless Guatemalan boy, a Manhattan chef changed his life, despite initial terror, by going to Guatemala and establishing a program for inner-city children. Lappe shares the way she coped with her fears after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, while Perkins describes how he found the courage to tell his parents that he was gay. This a fine collection of engrossing and inspiring anecdotes rather than a how-to manual, by two people who obviously care about the world and its people.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be as personal as a trip to the dentist or as pervasive as a Department of Homeland Security-issued orange alert. It can be paralyzing and painful, debilitating and embarrassing. It can also be liberating. The authors share personal revelations, from Lappe's breast cancer diagnosis to Perkins' coming out as gay, and apply the lessons they learned about coping with fear to individuals and cultures. Exploring ways in which fear engulfs us, they acknowledge the rationalizations used to avoid actions that have the potential to make people happier, freer, and more productive, and societies more compassionate, valiant, and proactive. Whether it's based in conflict, oppression, intimidation, or isolation, fear must first be understood before it ultimately can be destroyed. In this unique and uplifting examination of an elemental human condition, the authors offer concrete methods for conquering those demons that threaten to rob us of a joyful existence and a peaceful coexistence. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Frances Moore Lappé is a democracy advocate and world food and hunger expert who has authored or co-authored 18 books, including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. Her most recent work, released by Nation Books in September 2011, is EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want, winner of a silver medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Environment/Ecology/Nature category. Jane Goodall called the book "powerful and inspiring. "Ecomind will open your eyes and change your thinking. I want everyone to read it," she said.

She is the cofounder of three organizations, including Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide.

Customer Reviews

We are so proud of Jeff and look forward to his next book.
Carol S. Perkins
The book motivated me, but in a gentle, not-too-pushy kind of way, to face my own fears and to embrace a challenge rather than ignoring it.
Ann Jackson
A society changes when individuals change, this book is a guide to making that individual change.
Trish Boyles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Trish Boyles on June 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is unbelievably timely and written in such a way that its inspiration easily translates into personal understanding and action. We truly are living in a culture of fear, and though the recognition of that is an important first step, "You Have the Power" explains the necessary subsequent steps we need to break out of that culture and live our lives in a powerful, authentic way. The authors' personal stories are deeply honest, allowing the reader to truly connect to the concepts laid out in the book. Like so much of Ms. Lappe's recent work, the underlying sensation that change IS happening further inspires the reader to re-view the way he/she looks at fear. A society changes when individuals change, this book is a guide to making that individual change.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amy Cooke on September 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Frances Moore Lappe and Jeffrey Perkins have written a powerful book for our times that I would encourage everyone to read. They challenge us to break the fear paralysis that holds us back and to take action that comes from our deepest humanity toward our highest goals. I was especially stirred by the reminder that we need not take on huge issues, or even solve specific problems - we must simply heed the inner voice to let our lives speak. Read this book, share it with everyone, take a deep breath, and jump in!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Korn on September 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a counselor on a university campus, I found this work to be relevant in providing a context for some of our students who live a life of stress and anxiety, over and above the normal reactions to the demands of higher education. Lappe and Perkins' work can help individuals realize that their psychological responses to difficulties may be understood more deeply in a community and/or global context. Also, the authors' emphasis on personal actions as an antidote to fear provide solid examples to students who are wondering how to live in this world. Finally, I can imagine the graphic of "Seven Old Thoughts, Seven New Thoughts" hanging prominently as a reminder to all those who enter our center that our beliefs and actions can govern our emotions and abilities.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten Giebutowski on October 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I think this book is for anyone who recognizes fear as a force in their lives that makes them feel helpless or stuck. It's a powerful reminder that we have a choice in how we respond to fear and don't have to let it defeat us--a radical notion, especially in our current political climate.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ann Jackson on September 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book really hit a chord with me. I'd been feeling stressed out and like I had no time for myself, but also like I wasn't sure what I should be doing with my life. One of the things the book talks about is the need to make time to listen to yourself, to "face the void," so to speak. After I read the book, I actually did this, and ended up reaching a small epiphany about what I wanted to do with my life (local government! but that's just me :) ). The book motivated me, but in a gentle, not-too-pushy kind of way, to face my own fears and to embrace a challenge rather than ignoring it. I'd particularly recommend this book to 20-somethings going through quarter-life crises (like me!), or anyone that's trying to figure stuff out or deal with a secret fear, no matter how big or small. Plus, it's really well written, with lots of personal stories (which I prefer to theory-based "lessons") so it's a quick, enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book. :)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Theresa L. on January 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Can't imagine how this book has not made it to the Oprah Show!I found this book by accident much to my good fortune. It is not only inspiring but motivating. It is a real keeper to read and re-read. I feel empowered and emancipated on the micro and macro level. I no longer fear my fear and all its paralyzing forces! This is a must read for people of conviction who feel foolish or insignificant by believing that their positive actions for the common good do not count. I strongly recommend it for those entering the political arena or policy making process from the grass roots. It validates and vindicates! My hat is off to Frances Moore Lappe and Jeff Perkins - thank you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Shetterly Jr. on September 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that everyone who feels intimidated by the enormity and complexity of the world's problems needs to read.Most of us think that the entrenched power of corporations and governments is too overwhelming to be challenged. Lappe and Perkins demonstrate that individuals who persist in following their convictions about justice can turn the power equation upside down. One of their heroes, George Leger, says, "If just one person tries to respond to a heartbreaking situation, that in itself is reason for hope.If I turned my back on the situation, that...would make it seem hopeless."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kanter on September 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Fear serves a purpose and we'd not survive without a healthy dose of appropriate fear. But in order for us to create a more fair, peaceful and healthier planet we need to get beyond much of that fear and become activists. This book reinvigorated my enthusiasm towards being such an activist and towards encouraging others to "jump in" to help save the planet. Just the right book at the right time!!
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