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Community: The Structure of Belonging Paperback – September 1, 2009
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“This book challenges the conventional wisdom about what you and I can do as citizens to shape our future. It offers concrete examples of what citizens can do and have done by drawing on resources in their families and communities.”
—David Mathews, President, Kettering Foundation
“This book is the basis for health and happiness in any society. A must-read.”
—Quentin Young, Chairman, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, and former President, American Public Health Association
“‘What we need is here.’ That line from a Wendell Berry poem sums up the theme that runs through this vital and timely book. This book is a treasure. And it can help us recover the treasures hidden in plain sight within and among us, renewing ourselves and our democracy as we go.”
—Parker J. Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal and author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach
“Don’t wait for a politician, scientist, infomercial, or lottery ticket to come to the rescue. Read this powerful book and help yourself, your neighbors, and your planet to satisfying and sustainable solutions found only in community.”
—Jim Diers, former Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and author of Neighbor Power
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Praise for Peter Block's
Community: The Structure of Belonging
"From the person who gave us the best book written on business stewardship comes the best book on how to transform the places where we live, work, and play into authentic, effective communities. Some of Peter Block's conclusions may surprise you, but this compelling book is a must for all who love the places we call home enough to rethink our approach to building and maintaining community."
--Dennis Bakke, CEO, Imagine Schools, Cofounder and CEO Emeritus, AES Corporation, and author of Joy at Work
"Every earnest public servant, every volunteer, every disillusioned citizen, every civic leader, and every community activist or businessperson who truly want to make their communities better should read this book. It can serve as a guide or manual, but Community at its heart is a book of questions, and Peter gently and persistently reminds us that we are the answers."
--James Keene, President, Alliance for Innovation and Western Director, International City/County Management Association
"In this wonderfully practical book, Peter Block defines the nature of a community with manageable dimensions, creative directions, and hopeful possibilities. His methods lead us to a restoration of the joy of a genuine common life."
--John McKnight, Professor of Education and Social Policy, and Codirector, Asset-Based Community Development Institute, Northwestern University
"Peter Block clearly identifies the essential ingredients, qualities, questions, atmosphere. and actions needed to create and build vital communities filled with possibility, generosity, accountability, and deep engagement. Outstanding in its relevance, practicality, and clarity."
--Angeles Arrien, PhD, cultural anthropologist and author of The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom
"This book is more than practical advice on execution of theory; it is a spiritual primer for the building up of community and transforming hope that we so desperately need in today's world. Peter has touched us once again in that place we call `soul'".
--Clint Kemp, Founding Pastor, New Providence Community Church
"Peter's work has become the cornerstone of how our police department has developed over the years. What we have pleasantly discovered is that the more our capacity grows to work in partnership with each other, the more our capacity to serve our community is enhanced."
--Michael Butler, Chief of Police, Longmont, Colorado
"After being engaged for many years with transformations in the U.S., Latin America, and Africa, it is exciting to find a practical and deep methodology that integrates great ideas and points at new applications. Peter's book is critical for anyone concerned about reenergizing the quality of life in our workplaces and in our communities."
--Steve Zaffron, CEO, the Vanto Group, a Landmark Education Company
Top customer reviews
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It gives us a common language for talking about what makes community transformation different from human service/government planning and programs.
It integrates many important strands of transformation thinking, making transformation feel more accessible.
It helps us see what transformation looks like and connects that vision to concrete practice.
Community: The Structure of Belonging is divided into two sections. The first is titled The Fabric of Community and is for me what makes this book so important. In this section Peter provides the "why" and the "what" of community transformation. (Those of us who normally skip straight to the "how" should read Peter's previous book, The Answer to How is Yes.) In this section, we learn to not continue repeating the program, system, service problem solving that keeps us from really restoring community. We learn what transformation is, what it means to be a citizen. If we really get the message of this section, we start to BE community transformer, not just DO community building.
The second section is The Alchemy of Belonging. This is the tool kit for doing community transformation. Convening, invitation, small groups, forming the questions, holding the conversations of possibility, ownership, dissent commitment and gifts are covered here. This section expands the information that has been available on Peter's website that was developed and used in Cincinnati by A Small Group (as in Margaret Mead's axiom, "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. In fact it is the only thing that ever has.")
In the back are two extra gifts: Book at a Glance, a 10-page sentence outline of the entire book, and Role Models and Resources, which expands the concept of an annotated bibliography and offers countless opportunities for further reading and learning.
The gift of this book is a strong set of principles and usable instructions for restoring community. The challenge is to our willingness to stop what we are doing and learn what will lead us to the communities we desire.
While those reading this review don't know me, my recommendation: buy the book, devour it, AND use the principles in it.