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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  55 reviews
"I believe we can change the world if we start talking to one another again." With this simple declaration, Margaret Wheatley proposes that people band together with their colleagues and friends to create the solutions for real social change, both locally and globally, that are so badly needed. Such change will not come from governments or corporations, she argues, but fro ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published January 11th 2002 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published January 1st 2002)
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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
Karen Jordan
Jun 07, 2014 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
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Our adult class at church studied this book that encourages active listening.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must read! I'm so glad I reread this assume book. It's very timely and could have been written today. I'm planning on continuing to use in my work and in helping to make our world a better place a better place.


Peter Van
Here we go, my first book finished this year. A great book about conversations, reaching out and building relationships as a way to overcome fear, become fearless.
Not a very practical book, but enough food for thought to be interesting till the end. Beautiful words.
Jacob Avery
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Lovely book advocating good deep conversations. And suggesting broad topics that can be used as conversation starters. I liked the concept/idea. Just that I don't think I would be able to use them in large groups or with many people.
Maulida Ayudhanti
The style of the book is motivational, very optimistic, and more inspiring than practical.
I like that she presents her insight pretty cohesively. The poems surely complete the aesthetic experience.

I think anyone can benefit from reading this book.
Val Brown
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very quick read - I finished the meat of it in a few hours. It's part motivational part reminder about what is possible. It will be particularly helpful for me because it really gets to the "why" of my preferred way of building community. As always I'm looking forward to hosting many conversations.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Time to begin talking again

A book whose time has come. A must read if we dream of bringing about true change and having courageous conversations...
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring. It’s practical and down to earth. So humanistic. So many good quotes. This book has filled my soul. Now, to take action and start worthy conversations.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
I want my lessons to be more specific.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, I love Margaret J Wheatley's books
Sheila Cameron
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this on a day when I needed it most. Simple conversations. Let's have more of them.
Mar 24, 2015 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 choice
Rev. Linda
Aug 29, 2013 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
Billicarole Evans
Apr 30, 2013 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
Jul 31, 2010 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 star
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.
Mar 21, 2009 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.
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.
Jan 12, 2008 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.
Nov 10, 2007 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.
Mar 21, 2012 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.
Apr 19, 2012 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.
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.
May 12, 2013 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.
Brit Hanson
Apr 29, 2010 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.
Molly Giddens
Jul 05, 2009 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.
Feb 12, 2015 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.
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