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Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad Paperback – October 8, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This determinedly optimistic manifesto-cum-workbook by the author of Diet for a Small Planet begins with the question, Why are we as societies creating a world that we as individuals abhor? Lappé posits that U.S. culture is grounded in a worldview of scarcity, creating a society of competitive materialists who practice a Thin Democracy of electoral politics in a one rule market economy that returns wealth to wealth and leads to an ever-increasing concentration of power. Yet she believes there is no reason we can't create a values-guided, empowering democracy based on the premise of plenty, where individuals and communities take charge of public life and engage in active listening, conflict mediation, dialogue and judgment. Full of charts comparing Thin Democracy constructs with Living Democracy alternatives, and ending with a study guide for community Group Talk, the book includes numerous examples of people practicing Living Democracy, from Nobel Prize–winner Muhammad Yunus, instigator of the international microcredit movement, to School Mediation Associates, which teaches conflict resolution and peer mediations skills. Unfortunately, Lappé's coverage of many of these inspiring stories is unintelligibly thin, too often referring readers to her Web site for backup. (Oct. 31)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The indefatigable Lappe turns her finely tuned sense of outrage and her deeply honed sense of conviction to the unending and seemingly unmanageable problems confronting the world and focuses her clarion vision on solutions that may begin with just one person but that can end with an entire culture becoming more informed, more caring, more responsible. If we, as individuals, do not willingly choose to live defeated by poverty, debilitated by disease, demoralized by racism, she posits, then why should these abhorrent conditions not only exist but proliferate, especially in a democratic society? Displaying her usual laserlike logic, Lappe distills her arguments to their most basic level, a tactic that allows her crystalline assessments to virtually leap off the page. Parsing the notion of democracy, Lappe examines its successes and failures, offering creative and innovative methods for turning egregious areas of weakness into exhilarating beacons of strength. Progressing from confronting fear to seizing power, Lappe's treatise on humanity's potential for growth is a comforting source of inspiration. Haggas, Carol

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Small Planet Media (October 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979414245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979414244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you've been feeling weighed down, perplexed, and ready to throw up your hands in disgust with the pervasive mess that seems to be predominating our society, this book will be breath of fresh air! Ms. Lappe has honed right in on the fundamental problems that are feuling the mess... I swear, you will find yourself nodding and whispering an emphatic "Yes!" at many points during the first few chapters.

But beyond defining the underlying perception of powerlessness that have lead us to a "thin democracy" (based on a gross imbalance of wealth and power, creating a dogma of fear and neediness that turns the masses into disgruntled "shoppers", ever-more driven to "buy" security, safety, and happiness), Ms. Lappe also goes on to point out concrete models of true democracy at work today, and suggest simple ways in which "average citizens" can begin to re-establish a sense of empowerment in own lives, as well as those of their families, communities, and the country. The opportunities exist all around us, we just need to act on them. As she points out through numerous examples, by redirecting our thought processes, raising our voices, and redefining our goals and needs, we can use our God given intelligence, intuition, and compassion to develop equitible policies and build sustainable neighborhoods and communities that serve everyones needs.

For a relatively short book, it is amazing how packed full of relevant information it is... I came away from this book feeling armed with knowledge and a good measure of hope that we, the public, can reverse the the downward spiral our country has been in, and get things back on the right track. Thank you, Ms. Lappe!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frances Moore Lappe's latest book, Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, takes a close look at how we've created our culture and how we can step back to reshape it. How do we create a more authentic and alive world that takes care of it's inhabitants?

Frances is an eco/political Rock Star, world changer, world traveler, long-time celebrated author of dozens of books (literally), and sprightly hot mama! The book is already getting glowing reviews as being revolutionary and insightful from places like O Magazine. It's message is timely, innovative and radical. Every morsel of this delectable credo-meets-blueprint is fluid and human yet scrupulously well thought out and honest. After all these years, Frances has finally written a book that condenses the most weighty and sensible points from her previous works, reshaping them into one cohesive lens for viewing our current situation.

Her message is hopeful but realistic. Not many books on democracy have such a high level of authenticity. Her ability to bypass the normal, worn-out political arguments is refreshing and out of the box. The time has come for the American people, and the citizens of the world, to take our lives and our governments into our own hands to create the world we want, in which we can all thrive together. A better world is possible, and Frances Moore Lappé is one of a handful of authors whose vision points the way.
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Format: Paperback
"Getting a Grip" is another example of Francis Moore Lappe's steadfast attention on the strength of every day people and local communities, strengths that our mainstream media all too quickly ignores. Lappe has a knack for drawing out bright examples of hope, courage and positive action in a day when the United States' broken national political system shuns real citizen participation and global econonmic structures devalue the human being.

This book will remind you that your neighbors are good, strong, smart people, with whom you can work to build community and a stronger democracy. Read it for hope, revitalization and to remember your own power.
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Format: Paperback
Lappe is brilliant! She has a knack of knowing what we as a nation need and her timing is perfect. The book challenges us to use the gift of democracy to continually create the world we desire. Chock full of wisdom, some of my favorite reflections are: using conflict creatively is the key to creating society, we create the scarcity we fear, and power is negative if we believe that we have none. The book truly is an inspiration of our time and a call to action.
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Format: Paperback
Francis Moore Lappe asks, "Why can't we stop wringing our hands over
poverty, hunger, species decimation, genocide, and death from curable
disease we know is all needless?" She reached into our lives and changed
our understanding of the causes of hunger some thirty years ago when she
wrote the groundbreaking book "Diet for a Small Planet." Now, after
years of research and writing, she has again responded to the questions
raised by her curiosity and has shared her analysis in "Getting a Grip:
clarity, creativity and courage in a world gone mad" It is easy to
identify with her intense desire for change, as she states,
"I'm ready. I'm past ready."

The book is hard to put down as Ms. Lappe shows us how to move from
powerlessness to empowerment. I was drawn by the intensity and clarity
of thought on the first few pages and, later, by the creativity,
insight, and determination of a woman who is committed to sharing her
perception of the work ahead so that we may join in getting a grip on
what seems "a world gone mad."
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