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The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
Synopses & Reviews
Sharing Our Gifts
We need our neighbors and community to stay healthy, produce jobs, raise our children, and care for those on the margin. Institutions and professional services have reached their limit of their ability to help us.
The consumer society tells us that we are insufficient and that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside the community. We have become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors. John McKnight and Peter Block show that we have the capacity to find real and sustainable satisfaction right in our neighborhood and community.
This book reports on voluntary, self-organizing structures that focus on gifts and value hospitality, the welcoming of strangers. It shows how to reweave our social fabric, especially in our neighborhoods. In this way we collectively have enough to create a future that works for all.
“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
Book News Annotation:
McKnight, a community researcher and organizer who taught education and social policy at Northwestern U., and Block, an author associated with a training company that offers workshops to build the skills outlined in his books, show readers how to utilize their own communities to raise children, provide safety and security, sustain health, secure income, support local businesses and economy, eat locally, and care for vulnerable people, rather than going outside of it for these and other needs. They describe how people can shift from a culture of consumerism to one that places community at the center, what happens when citizens become consumers, how to reclaim the role of citizen through community, the elements important in creating abundance in all areas, and specific steps to take. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book reminds us that a neighborhood that can raise a child, provide security, sustain our health, secure our income, and care for our vulnerable people is within the power of our community.
There is a growing movement of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that real satisfaction and the good life are not provided by organizations, institutions, or systems. No number of great CEO’s, central offices, or long range plans produce what a community can produce. People are discovering a new possibility for their lives. They have a calling. They are called. And together they call upon themselves.This possibility is idealistic, and yet it is an ideal within our grasp. It is a possibility that is both idealistic and realistic. Our culture leads us to believe that a satisfying life can be purchased. It tells us that in the place where we live, we don't have the resources to create a good life. This book reminds us that a neighborhood that can raise a child, provide security, sustain our health, secure our income, and care for our vulnerable people is within the power of our community. This book gives voice to our ideal of a beloved community. It reminds us of our power to create a hope-filled life. It assures us that when we join together with our neighbors we are the architects of the future where we want to live.
About the Author
For nearly three decades, John McKnight has conducted research on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organizations, neighborhood policy, and institutional racism. He currently directs research projects focused on asset-based neighborhood development and methods of community building by incorporating marginalized people. John serves on the Board of Directors of numerous community organizations including the Gamaliel Foundation and The National Training and Information Center. McKnight is a professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.
Peter Block is an author, consultant. His work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He’s the author of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, The Answer to How is Yes, and Community
Table of Contents
The Elements of Satisfaction
The Universal Properties
PART I: THE SHIFT FROM CITIZEN TO CONSUMER
Chapter One: The Limits of Consumption
Chapter Two: What Did We Lose and Where Did It Go?
Chapter Three: The Effects of Living in a Consumer World
PART II: CHOOSING A SATISFIED LIFE
Chapter Four: The Abundant Community
Chapter Five: Community Abundance in Action
PART III: CREATING ABUNDANCE
Chapter Six: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
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