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Community: The Structure of Belonging (Bk Business)
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Community: The Structure of Belonging (Bk Business)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  497 ratings  ·  80 reviews
"Most of our communities are fragmented and at odds within themselves. Businesses, social services, education, and health care each live within their own worlds. The same is true of individual citizens, who long for connection but end up marginalized, their gifts overlooked, their potential contributions lost. What keeps this from changing is that we are trapped in an old ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Two years ago I read this book for the first time and I keep returning to it. The questions it addresses are important: How does positive change take place in a complex social system? How is a collective created and transformed?

It is our custom to look at the life of organizations through the prism of problems and frictions. Our gaze is diagnostic, wants to understand what goes wrong in order to provide a remedy. And these remedies are often formulaic and lifeless and fail to live up to their p
Kristine Morris
I have read (and used) Peter Block’s book Flawless Consulting over the years and the epiphany it gave me when I first read it and one I like to think I strive towards is the concept of being authentic. Authenticity, vulnerability and compassion are big topics these days. Go to You Tube and search for Bréné Brown and Karen Armstrong. Block shifts the conversation that is normally aimed at the individual to that of the community.

In the last chapter, Block writes that he has lived on the margin mu
I read this nonfiction book as part of Pikes Peak Library District's All Pikes Peak Reads program, and thought it would be interesting to me as a former leader of a small nonprofit community organization.

The book did have some good ideas about a different approach to creating better communities. Leaders need to change their roles, we need to stop looking at our communities as just problems to be solved, responsibility, accountability, and commitment have new nuances, and this book proposes a ge
I had to read this book for class, and thus had something to which I needed to connect its contents: libraries. I think you do need an anchor for yourself while reading this book. A lot of the language is sort of out there. Somebody called it academic. I sort of feel like it's sort of new ageish, or progressive psychologistish. You know what I mean.

But there are some good things in here. You have to be patient, and stick with it, but there are lots of good ideas about getting unstuck. Or reason
Whoof. This is a sociology text for jargon-slinging academics and professional community builders. Ironically, in a book where the asking or giving of advice is cautioned against, and speaking from a place of professionalism down to the consumerist audience is sneered at, we have a book that does exactly that. No practical ideas are offered (aside from a few bizarre tips on what sort of chair to use in community meetings), and there is only context that the author works from: a group of concerne ...more
This is an excellent theoretical overview of how a neighborhood group or an organization can build true community among the people in their group. His theory revolves around 6 conversations that need to happen and he is careful to stress the importance of language. There are so many gems I have taken from this book for leadership, community organizing, leadership training and teaching.

If there is one criticism I have is that he writes somewhat as a professional consultant, and my experience wit
Charles Cohen
This is my new Bible - just like the original, it's a little hard to accomplish it all, it's a little corny, and it's written by a vengeful, jealous deity who demands total submission. Well, not that last part. But the rest is spot on.

Focusing the community's attention on possibility, on abundance, and on everyone's respective gifts creates a culture of meaning, and of interrelatedness that is essential for growth and health. This is an essential read for anyone involved in building or strengthe
I find this to be a really difficult book to review. There's no question that I found this book to be powerful, provocative and inspiring. The author has an unshakeable faith in the power of communities of ordinary people to affect change. I read the book with a highlighter in hand, so I could underline passages like,

A community gathering doesn't spend time talking about people who are not in the room.


When people speak in a large group they need to be acknowledged for the courage it took to
This book is like a gateway into thinking about community organizing. The strongest takeaway for me was the idea that the role of a leader is to act as a convener. This is instead of the iron-fisted "strong" leader who makes "hard" decisions. I've since noticed around me all sort of apathy that results from "strong" leaders. But leaders unwilling to genuinely include and listen to the community and guide them to creating their own action plans are not good either. To convene you must be near fla ...more
Paul Goble
This book strikes me as covertly religious: addressing religious topics such as human suffering, transformation, personal fulfillment, and relational imperatives, all from a perspective which is superficially compatible with but fundamentally contrary to my own Christianity.

The book is based on the philosophical underpinnings of Werner Erhard, the founder of Est, the Forum, and Landmark Education. In the book, Block promotes the idea that human action can fulfill longings and eliminate sufferin
Block does a decent job of opening a way for communities of all stripes to discover a different path than that proposed through the 'common wisdom' of market economics and the logic of modern management that privileges efficiency, effectiveness, and predictability as the hallmarks of a properly organized community. His use of the principles and practices of restorative justice is key in setting this work as a constructive project that aims to introduce would be community organizers and establish ...more
I think that there is a lot of genuine, practical wisdom delivered by the author, but for reasons that I'm struggling with, it did not translate well into audiobook format. Or, that is what I'm telling myself.

One of several annoyances that I encountered - having to do with style rather than actual content was that as the author referenced back-up and support for a given position, he felt compelled to name those sources in the body of the content, rather than perhaps referencing the work separate
This book was very recently recommended by a colleague and perfectly timed for work I'm doing related to my dissertation project which, if described in the broadest terms, is about community-driven social norms change. Of late, I have been exploring notions of citizenship and mechanisms for collective agency, and Peter Block's writings are a thoughtful addition to this conversation. Most compelling is his definition of what a citizen is, he states: "...a citizen is one who is willing to be accou ...more
Jun 25, 2009 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people soaked up already too much landmark
Recommended to Elizabeth by: client
c2008 from the library ......finish this someday
mostly landmark speak
possibly useful with Landmark influenced people to broaden their horizen

Introduction: The Fragmented Community and Its Transformation Part One: The Fabric of Community
Insights into transformation
Shifting the Context for Community
The Stuck Community
The Restorative Community
Takign Back Our Projections
What It Means to a Citizen
The Transforming Community

Part Two: The Alchemy of Belonging
Leadership Is Convening
Alissa Nelson
Four stars for content, three stars for style. This was not the easiest to start, but once I got through the first chapter or two I thought this was a pretty great and actionable primer on how to build restorative community around change. Lots of discussion on how to elevate marginalized voices, working from a place of strength rather than needs, and also really practical tips on how to set up a meeting space to facilitate conversation. I'm really looking forward to using some of this in my work ...more
Well, I spend a great deal of my work Facilitating groups of people through various types of journeys. Mostly business - Strategic Planning, Organizational Design and Development. This book was a refreshing look at the human side of facilitating significant community change. Coming from Peter Block, whom I regard as an expert in consulting and working with organizations, this was inspiring. I found much in this book I will use in my work and continue to explore creating communities of belonging. ...more
Silas White
A lot of useful messages in this book, but I found the language Block purposefully uses to be too subdued and neutral. Ironically, he advocates that language itself is integral to change but I find his own interpretation of this to render language lifeless. He does manage to successfully stay away from business lingo, hyperbole, humour, academic language, storytelling (the only examples he provides are really dry) and the result is, unsurprisingly, flat. The best parts are when he (accidentally? ...more
Michael Pierce
"Restorative community is created when we allow ourselves to use the language of healing and relatedness and belonging without embarrassment." First off, I believe everything that Peter Block says, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that though it took a long time for me to read this, finally over the last few days I just jumped in and devoured it. Lots of ideas for inviting diverse folks to the table to change lives. Block has the courage to shoot down current trendy thoughts on leadership and ...more
Marianne Broadgate
This was a tough read in places but well worth it. Peter Block presents some powerful ideas which I think are key to our society in the future, to reverse the damaging trends that are currently dividing our society and reducing our communities. I am going to recommend this book to everyone in our Transition network.
Donnell Bailey
As I get ready for another year of being involved in Student Government, through Block's emphasis on structure and how structure is as important as to what is happening in the room, this book has been very insightful and indeed helpful. Block is so brilliant because he demonstrates a common sense that acknowledges the gifts of people rather than the deficiencies that people have. To another point that Block makes, it is so important and critical to get people to realize that they possess a certa ...more
Did not finish. I was expecting popular press sociology, but this felt more like New Age, and so vague it didn't seem to say anything. Maybe it would get better if I made it past chapter 5, but life is short.
Landmark Education distinctions applied to building a community of belonging and compassion. Excellent! I will read it more than once - and I plan to practice the ideas and put them to use.
Paul Signorelli
Peter Block shows, in his work and his presentations, that it doesn’t take much effort to initiate the process of building and strengthening communities—just a few people willing to gather and cross barriers they don’t normally cross so that ideas flow freely and exchanges strengthen relationships. It's all about engagement—that moment when people are drawn together by a common interest or goal and, in the process, begin to build the sort of communities which result in long-lasting and productiv ...more
Keith Edwards
Terrific. A wonderful book with big philosophical ideas and concrete direct strategies about ways to build communities from staff meetings to campus communities to entire cities. The framing is transformational in that is urges us to engage community building in entirely different ways. A wonderful book for anyone looking to take the development of their team or large community. I'll be using this to rethinking how I facilitate staff meetings, retreats, and gatherings large and small, formal and ...more
I really like a lot of the ideas and messages in this book. I found it difficult to follow in some areas, although I attribute some of that to be my lack of context and understanding of the language used by people in his profession.

Personally, the most important information I took away from the book was how back-asswards we are in creating groups to solve problems and looking to leadership to fix our problems. It really resonated with me the concept of individuals coming together to form small
Grant Humphreys
Block does a great job to challenge our most basic assumptions about what makes for a successful community or a productive community development effort. He calls for an inclusive, empowering, bottom-up approach that makes heros out of the common man and forces the experts and professionals to listen for a change. Block's writing style is conversational and narrative, which might frustrate those looking for empirical evidence rather than subjective observations, but the process of community forma ...more
Probably a 3.5 Not my typical read - the ideas in this book are the foundation for a new class I'm teaching. But I liked some of the concepts and focus it presented.
Izetta Autumn
Overall, I found this book helpful, though at times it was a little too theory focused for me. I went into my reading, hoping to walk away with clear strategies - instead I have quotes and ideas, but also feel somewhat disappointed that at a certain point, its all too lofty to a.) really feel connected and b.) offered few real suggestions. The book was also in need of a good trimming - it didn't need to be as long as it was.

The appendix, as it happens, turned out to have some helpful resources.
Mark Hazell
One of the best books I've found on building and sustaining community -- a must read
This really had an impact on how we do our work at Nuvana
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“Invitation is not only a step in bringing people together, it is also a fundamental way of being in a community. It manifests the willingness to live in a collaborative way. This means that a future can be created without having to force or sell it or barter for it. When we believe that barter or subtle coercion is necessary, we are operating out of a context of scarcity and self-interest, the core currencies of the economist.” 1 likes
“Community-as-problems-to-be-solved has some benefits. It values the ability to implement, is big on doing, has a certain honesty about it, and worships tangible results as the ultimate blessing. You might say that this is what has gotten us this far. It is not that this (or any other) context is wrong; it just does not have the power to bring something new into the world.” 0 likes
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