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Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change
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Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  103 ratings  ·  16 reviews
War is no way to resolve our most problematic group, community, and societal issues, but neither is a peace that simply sweeps our problems under the rug.
To create lasting change we have to learn to work fluidly with two distinct, fundamental drives that are in tension: power—the single-minded desire to achieve one’s solitary purpose; and love—the drive towards unity. The
Paperback, 168 pages
Published January 4th 2010 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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Chris Riedy
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.

~ Martin Luther King

Of the many wonderful quotes in Adam Kahane’s book Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change, the one above by Martin Luther King provides the pithiest summary of Kahane's central thesis. His simple argument, elaborated at length in the book, is that we need both power and love to achieve effective social change when faced with tough challenges. When we let either of thes
Ilyhana Kennedy
I give this book four stars for its importance in the development of western thinking around social dynamics, more than its literary value.
It is a work of non-fiction, a historical and searching account of Adam Kahane's work as a high profile facilitator of groups seeking to find solutions to significant problems. Adam Kahane has worked on projects at the very grass roots level of social planning to the level of government policy development, and in highly diverse settings.
This is an important b
Diederick Janse
I like this book's premise: that both power and love are necessary ingredients for successsful social change, particularly in situations characterized by high complexity in terms of cause and effect, relationships, and change dynamics. However, I felt there was too much repetition and too little deepening of this rich topic. It's essentially a story of how Adam Kahane became aware of these dynamics and how he's seen them play out in some of the work that he's been involved in as a facilitator. I ...more
Gregory Peterson

Adam Kahane, Managing Director of Reos Partners, is one of those rare change agents whose remarkable work has touched the lives of people throughout the world.

Kahane tells powerful stories. It’s not because of his delivery (which is understated) but because of his unerring ear for capturing the heart of a situation -- in a quote, a phrase, a memorable anecdote – and using his observations to show us new ways of thinking. He projects a world-weary credibility built through a career of immersion i
2 1/2 stars.

I mean, I don't think what he's saying is a bad idea at all; it's great. But I didn't really find the writing to my liking. It's a lot of 'this person did this, this person said that, a quote from a philosopher, love without power is sentimental and anemic!!!' (I cannot tell you how many times he said this last part--"love without power is sentimental and anemic"--I think it must have been at least a dozen.)

Also, I was hoping for more things that normal people could do. He's like, 'o
Mills College Library
303.484 K121 2010
Great book with lots of examples of power and love side by side. I had always struggled in reconciling the corruption of power with my own desire of connectedness. I also love Adam Kahane's honesty at his supposed failures and the insights this has given him.
I was lucky enough to meet Adam at the recent Creative Innovation conference. He gave me a piece of advice I will always treasure "Know your gift & use it. Connectors are needed in this fragmented world"
Olivier Compagne
Feb 02, 2010 Olivier Compagne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Definitely
Insightful view of attempts at social change using the lens of the power-love polarity. Power here is defined as the "drive toward self-realization", and love as the "drive toward unity".
The author draws on his long time experience of facilitating workshops, and has a thing for learning from his failures. Carries the wisdom of its simple writing.
Sondra Wilson
A fascinating foray into the world of social change negotiations and the role both these ideas play, unfortunately too often in opposition to each other, but as explained by Kahane, to be effective, in balance with each other. Gave me a new paradigm not only for viewing worldly happenings but to analyze my own relationships and life context.
Olivier Compagne
Love it. Insightful use of the power/love polarity in effecting change among people. Power is defined as the "drive toward self-realization", and love as the "drive toward unity" (or differentiation/homogenization).
The author draws on his long experience on social change, and particularly on his failures.
An interesting tool for understanding how to balance relationships in the process of engagement. Useful insights from a experienced hand in capacity building for organizations and NGOs.
Mark Haines
Good concept, definitely observed in my career supporting social and environmental change in BC, but in the end, there wasn't enough substance to make his concepts practicable.
Joe Reed
Another brilliant work that helps us think holistically about community development work. Pastors and Non Profit workers alike should work through this piece closely.
Probably one of the most inspiring and useful books I've ever read, especially paired with his first book, Solving Tough Problems.
Myriam St-Denis Lisée
Dec 22, 2011 Myriam St-Denis Lisée marked it as to-read
Cité par Michel Venne à l'école d'été de l'INM, décidément je crois que ça vaudra la peine!
Bruno Andreoni
Lets talk about development by people that balance love and power to do it.
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