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Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change Paperback – January 4, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Power and Love

"Adam's Solving Tough Problems helped me understand that all of our pressing problems--be they strategic issues inside a company or societal challenges like conflict, poverty, or climate change--require that those with a stake and the power to act come together in open dialogue to create a joint diagnosis and a deep commitment to moving forward together. In Power and Love, Adam goes further and deeper, into the kind of leadership that it takes to do this."
--Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Microsoft India

"It isn't either-or; it's both-and. In this deceptively brief and clearly written book, Adam Kahane takes us through his own learning process to a way of acting in and on the world that is both effective and caring. Intelligent, insightful, satisfying--and inspiring."
--Mary Catherine Bateson, author of Composing a Life and Willing to Learn

"Kahane is a master practitioner and thinker who knows the highs and lows of solving some of the toughest problems of social discord. Power and Love is both instructive and inspiring."
--Patrick Dodson, winner of the Sydney Peace Prize and Founding Chairman, Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation

"This book is a must-read for business leaders who are coming to recognize that to continue to thrive, business must join forces with interest groups, communities, and government to address the wicked sustainability challenges of our time. Kahane shows us how."
--Diane Osgood, Vice President, Business for Social Responsibility

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; First Edition edition (January 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605093041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605093048
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have one foot in the "love" communities (art of hosting, theory U, facilitators network etc), where I have noticed very good intentions and good processes, but quite few results. My other foot is in the power community (as a government official in a political department) where I witness many results but also questionable intentions and agendas.

I liked the first half of the book the most, where I was provided with some interesting viewpoints and a language to understand and differ from generative/degenerative power and same for love. The second half of the book is more confusing and less clear.

I am inspired by the concept of combining love and power in order to manage things in the most constructive ways and I believe most leaders and innovators can be in inspired by reading the book. However, I would personally like some more insights on how to choose love in the middle of a political system. I find it challenging and difficult to keep track of love when acting in a political system. I would enjoy reading more about that.

Overall I recommend the book to anybody seeking to understand how to manage and enable sustainable change.
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Format: Paperback
Having read and been inspired by Adam Kahane's previous book, Solving Tough Problems, I was eager to read Power and Love. What I found was a personal story, told in a highly readable way, in which I found lessons and insights which could be applied to both my work and my personal life.

The key message is that both Power (the drive for self-realisation) and Love (the need for unity) are necessary, and that there is an inherent dilemma between the two. Just like your two legs, they should be used in dynamic balance to be able to walk smoothly.

I really enjoyed the Falling, Stumbling and Walking chapters where Kahane highlights his theories through examples from both his work and personal life. I also appreciated that he was not shy in sharing his blind spots and mistakes so the reader can also learn from them.

I think Power and Love is a book that can be read several times with different mindsets - e.g. a quick entertaining read, a more reflective experience and also great for a book club / discussion group.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change" uses Adam Kahane's tremendous experience of designing dialogue processes and mediations in South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, Israel and on several environmental issues as examples of the generative and degenerative uses of power and love. The book is both theoretical and at the same time extremely practical for anyone working in the fields of group facilitation, large-scale systems change, or mediation. The lengthy examples of his work with diverse stakeholders around contentious issues are riveting and instructive. He is quite transparent about his successes and failures, and also very self-disclosing about his own process in the journey of learning how to walk with both power and love. Because of this journey the book has a lot of power and a lot of heart. I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback
I first heard Adam Kahane speak about, `Power and Love' over a year ago before he had written this his second book on the subject. The impact of what he said was so great that I immediately wrote about it and sent the article to two different journals connected with people trying to create community. To my amazement I was inundated with phone calls, emails and letters. People from all over the world responded with the same sentence:
Thank you for writing about this, I now understand what was always going wrong in our different attempts to work together.
Many of these people then went on to read Adam's first book on the subject. I would now like warmly to encourage you to read this his second. It is helpful in that it builds on the themes of the first book which are now enlarged upon and deepened through the author being able to reflect on what he himself has learned in his earlier attempts to become literate in both love and power.
The issue of being able to be both an individual and to work with other people in such a way that a task is done without sacrificing selfhood is a pressing one. When a group of people are both self-realized and willing to put who they are at the service of something that they all recognize as important they experience not only the joy of community; they are also effective way beyond their ordinary expectations. Furthermore what they do together is rich and original, what the designer William McDonough calls, `piquant'. Goethe said that we develop our character in the full flow of life and we develop our gifts alone. This is interesting in connection with the theme of this book because in many professions and in many social situations the issue of character is subsumed by the agenda of the social group or organization.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Adam Kahane describes how he came to understand the relationship between power and love in his work as an international consultant on crucial issues facing humankind. His conclusion is compelling: that in order to address our biggest (as well as the smaller) societal problems, it is imperative that we do this work from a place of love, kindness, compassion, and connection--and that we also do it from a place of personal empowerment. This book gave me an understanding of why and how our work to end nuclear test explosions in the Nevada desert was successful. As leader of the coalition that helped bring an end to testing, I experienced both aspects at a deeply personal level. This story, told in "Love Changes Things Even in the World of Politics," substantiates Kahane's work. Caroline Cottom, PhD
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