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Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  386 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
""I believe we can change the world if we start talking to one another again."" With this simple declaration, Margaret Wheatley proposes that citizens band together with their colleagues and friends to create the solutions for social change, both locally and globally, that are so badly needed. Such change will not come from governments or corporations but from the ageless ...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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Karen Jordan
Jun 07, 2014 Karen Jordan rated it it was amazing
This book was the closest thing to a spiritual renewal I have experienced in a long while. Wheatley argues convincingly that we need to restore the practice of conversation. That our state of exhaustion, frustration, and anxiety are built upon a foundation of quick, dispassionate, joyless exchanges. I would encourage anyone who is feeling a bit disheartened about our world and consider Wheatley's position that human connectedness is the place from which we can find solutions, hope, and faith in ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Frank rated it liked it
Margaret Wheatley believes that we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. I agree with her and liked this book. She advocates real conversation. As she writes:

"Not mediation, negotiation, problem solving, debate, or public meetings. Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well."

Or as she puts it plainly, "We can turn away, or we can turn toward. Those are the only two choices we have."

Along the way she h
Caleb Winebrenner
Among books on community engagement, Margaret Wheatley’s Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future is incredibly unique. It is not a book on facilitation, or pedagogy, or community building -- and yet dives to the heart of all three: dialogue with others. With all of the incredible tools and methods at our fingertips for engaging communities, working with young people, and creating spaces for learning, Wheatley asks us to go back to the basics, and have a convers ...more
Aug 29, 2013 L rated it really liked it
During our Connections Week at TCC, a speaker mentioned this book by Margaret Wheatley. I remembered reading her first edition in 2002, and this one was a nice refresher of her wonderful writing style. This second edition added two new conversations: What is my role in creating change? and Can I be fearless? One of my favorite sections was a poem that Wheatley included by Ina Hughes titled "A Prayer for Children", in particular the last two verses:

"And we pray for those Whose nightmares come in
I really appreciate Meg Wheatley's writings. I didn't realize when I'd first heard of her that she was such a fan of Paolo Freire. I am too!

I found this book to be a great resource to take into some devotional time by myself. I plan to keep it close by for easy reference and self-directed reflection activities.
Dayna Hauschild
Mar 27, 2016 Dayna Hauschild rated it it was amazing
Wheatley is prophetic in her words and wisdom. So much inspiration and insight in this book. Conversation is key and her ability to link that with becoming whole is deeply profound and moving.
Linda Koski
May 11, 2016 Linda Koski rated it really liked it
"The one thing we have in common is our differences." What a perfect place to start connecting, reconnecting, sharing our stories, our humanity and mutual desires for love, peace and hope.
Feb 12, 2015 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is difficult not to enjoy anything by Margaret Wheatley. This book contains helpful ways to generate conversations that may lead to positive communal action.
Jul 04, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it
As a conversation designer of sorts, I appreciate Margaret's thoughtful perspective on using conversations to provoke reflection, community and collaboration.
Billicarole Evans
Apr 30, 2013 Billicarole Evans rated it really liked it
This book is about is about communicating with one another. Wheatley writes how talking, face to face, is the easiest way of communication. This book is a great conversation starter. It inspires you to want to talk more, to make a difference. She explains how most of this world problems can be solved, by simply talking.
I liked this book, because it inspired me to want to talk more when working out problems. After reading her book, it changed the way that I start conversations, and the content w
Scott Hughes
Dec 17, 2015 Scott Hughes rated it really liked it
Lots of good insights. I like that it can be used as a journal. I read it fairly quickly but it certainly is the worthy of a more in depth read.
Sep 14, 2014 Denise rated it really liked it
This book gave me a lot to think about. Part listening skills and part self observation based on 10 questions I learned a few things about myself.
Melanie Guste, RSCJ
Very good book although it repeats much of the same material for which Wheatley is famous.
Dave Moyer
Oct 18, 2015 Dave Moyer rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking and heartfelt
Jul 31, 2010 Cathy rated it it was amazing
This is a book that everyone should read. Meg Wheatley writes about human behavior and communication. This book, originally written in 2002 and augmented in 2008, speaks to the need for us to slow down, spend time in conversation and dialogue, and thereby build community.

Like Margaret Mead, she argues that great change happens when two or more people engage in meaningful conversations.

The book is short and full of inspirational ideas, poetry and 10 conversation starters.

Very highly recommended.
This book shares some of the author's ideas about community and conversation, and promotes the concept that by changing how we think and engage with others we can change the world for good. While I did enjoy the book--particularly the collected stories, quotes, and poems on the subject--there was really nothing here that I haven't read elsewhere. If you don't mind a little repetitive writing it does provide the reader an opportunity to consider their own mode of thinking and communication.
Marie Mcmanus
Short, quick read. Thought provoking
Mar 21, 2009 Jo rated it really liked it
It's a good read to really spark up some conversations with others as well as yourself. I especially recommend sitting with the question of Am I Willing to Reclaim the Time to Think and What it means to be fully human.

At parts, I found myself getting a little bored because it can be repetitive.
May 24, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It has very astute observations about issues that teachers currently face in public schools. It doesn't offer solutions because that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to empower teachers to solve their own problems through reflection, conversation and action.
Feb 15, 2014 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Margaret Wheatley highlights the power of simple conversation. She does this through combining social justice influences through Paolo Friere and Buddhist mindfulness practices to create a wonderful text that implores us to seek our full humanity by engaging with one another.
Jessie Lindsey
Nov 02, 2014 Jessie Lindsey rated it liked it
Beautiful thoughts, just not a page-turner of a read.
Nov 10, 2007 Paul rated it it was amazing
An excellent and practical book for reflecting on how to make change in communities.

Margaret Wheatley is one of the foremost thinkers about "emergent culture." She is on the board of the Berkana Institute ( which works worldwide for positive change.
Brit Hanson
Jul 04, 2010 Brit Hanson rated it really liked it
This book has been a fabulous resource in my community organizing work. Meg Wheatley is a treasure; she invites the read to step back from the complication that is problem-solving and consider an alternate route. Great book -- the title is spot on.
Full of great thoughts about how talking to each other can change the world. Unfortunately, it's not a very compelling read. It loses momentum frequently. Thus, though it is an enjoyable book for the most part, it has been returned to the shelf for now.
Jan 12, 2008 RandomAnthony rated it liked it
Somewhat interesting organizational studies text...not a ton of meat to it, you can read it in an hour, but still more useful than most of the bulls--t I read when getting my leadership degree. A very personal, meditative take on human interaction.
Molly Giddens
Jul 14, 2009 Molly Giddens rated it it was amazing
Looking to use this with my cfg...

The majority is really great! There are parts that didn't move me, but maybe will at some other part in my life. I really look forward to using this with groups at school.
May 21, 2012 Elsa rated it liked it
Shelves: ministry
The premise of this book is lovely -- but the actual conversations leave something to be desired. I wonder if it's simply that we don't know how to have the kind of conversations that Wheatley is suggesting.
Liz Brennan
Anything by Margaret Wheatley is at the same time soothing, calming, and thought-provoking. From the book,"We can turn away, or we can turn toward. Those are the only two choices we have."
Kristin Cox
Feb 22, 2008 Kristin Cox rated it it was amazing
Meg Wheatley translates philosophical concepts into action items to create community and meaning. Gives a starting point to build that "third place" interaction that weaves us together.
Marcia Arganbright
Jul 10, 2013 Marcia Arganbright rated it it was amazing
This book was transformational for me. Creating and relying on community is all we need to be successful in life. There are beautiful pages, quotations, and inspiring essays.
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