Creating Community

February 6, 2013 · by Michele Berry · Filed Under Off the Shelf, Previous · Leave a Comment

I pay attention to books that stay with me and influence my behavior for the better.PeterBlock web

Peter Block’s Community: The Structure of Belonging is such a book. In it, Peter proposes that small groups are our only hope for achieving connectedness between people and across barriers.

A major impact of the book is that I joined “A Small Group,” an open organization that convenes in-person, conference call, and online small interactive groups that support the work of building community. This has given me multiple experiences to test Block’s theory for myself.  So far, I agree that small groups, even virtual ones, can have great transformational power.

In the book, Peter shares moving stories about formal and informal leaders to illustrate concrete actions each of us can take to create community. These stories give life to idea of building power through small groups of connected citizens.

A structure Peter relies on and recommends includes a series of specific questions. These are intentionally provocative and personal.  I have added one or more to almost all my interactions, especially in leadership team work. The results are striking, promoting connectedness and supporting relationships.

After a powerful book like this, what will I read next? Perhaps Peter’s new book, “The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods” which he co-authored with organizer and Northwestern Professor John McKnight. And, because I am expecting a child and the next generation of activist leaders has become an even more central theme for me, on my list is A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara. Please add a note below to discuss any of the books, and to suggest others to read. Thanks!


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