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The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace
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The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  960 ratings  ·  50 reviews
'The overall purpose of human communication is - or should be - reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another. . ' Although we have developed the technology to make communication more efficient and to bring people closer together, we have failed to use it to build a true g ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 2nd 1998 by Touchstone (first published 1987)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  960 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Melissa McClintock
I read this in my early twenties after the Road less travelled. It impacted my identity, because I wasn't in the "mainstream" and I was the black sheep of my family and as most 2o somethings checking things out. I thought "aha, I"m not the only one!" It was encouraging.
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Scott Peck is very creative at writing memorable opening sentences in his books. "A Road Less Traveled" begins: "Life is difficult." The Different Drum begins: "Community is rare." He purposely does not define community, but devotes the majority of the book describing its characteristics and how to acquire it. His ideas are idealistic, and leave the reader to conclude that community is not only rare, but, based on his principles, impossible. His ideas of religion are thought-provoking, and he in ...more
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Dr Peck is the man! This one really helps you get perspective on how the sense of community and overall mores have eroded since the age of industrialism and ultimately prosperity
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A different way of relating to the world around us. Another potentially life changing book from this wonderful philosopher psychologist, Scotty teaches us how to create a constructive community and points us to some places where we can go to follow these tenets. What a shame this man is dead - he was truly great. Should be compulsory reading for anyone who feels that our communities are not what they could be.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant on community , white anted by Jesus glasses

Really really good ideas on the importance of community plus solid suggestions how to do same. Skip the religious blather and focus on human beings and thus is a stunningly excellent book
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book changed the way I relate to people, especially in groups.
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What an Idealistic way to look at the world.. I would elect this man to run our country. Educational and philispohical
Mar 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It was raining. I remember standing around smoking with Scottie under a porch at Emory. He was a great chain smoker, tall and thin, lovely sense of humor, and quite warm. Must have been circa 1984-85. I enjoyed his workshop - all on the topic of this book. Funny though, now, many years later, I don't remember much about the book. His first two, Road and People of the Lie (have never tired of telling the story of the boys and the Christmas gun), made a much deeper impression. Come to think of i ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read! Just have a pen/pencil in hand to mark so many important and well-said ideas! I underlined and starred so much of this book. I love how Scott Peck addresses the stages of spiritual growth and how as adults we continue to mature and change. He says, "all change is a kind of death, and all growth requires that we go through depression".
I also loved how Peck talked about the importance of vulnerability necessary in community. He says, "In building community, some brave soul a
Mindy Danylak
excellent book about that oft-overused word, "community". the section on stages of spiritual development should be mandatory reading for anyone who does anything related to faith or spiritual life. the last few chapters felt like a different book though. i know he'd say they're all related but they didn't hang together well for me.
Christie Bogle
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Non-profit employees, teachers
I directly quote from this book in the process of writing my first year of research designing an ESL class in a community center. I refer to it again in my MA "file paper" (the only thing they offered that approached a thesis at the time.)

I found it one of the most useful pieces of writing for defining and giving me a lexicon for community building and classroom communities.
Marta Mellinger
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
model i've used for years and years about life...
Charles Bell
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read.
Nathan Albright
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2019
This book is an example of a work that began very well and ended with somewhat of a thud.  And why was that the case?  Most of this book is spent, rather sensibly, dealing with issues of peacemaking and the building of communities on an interpersonal level, looking at families, congregations, and various other groups.  It is at the end of the book when the author looks at politics on the national and then the international scale where this book fails, and it fails specifically for a few reasons ...more
Lisa Kentgen
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful sections on group process as community. Highly recommend.

He used words that needed explanation, like 'evil'. He had apparently defined in a past book but there is a danger to using in reference to human behavior without being clearer.

I read this book for research on community-building and, for those purposes, this is a must-read classic.
Jonathan Wichmann
Just the best. Peck was on my parents' shelf as a kid. This spoke to me so strongly. I was a community organizer dreaming of utopian solutions.
Brian Wilcox
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb, practical guidance, with excellent case studies, on forming community.
Robert Bob
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kick the can down the road!
My life's journey. .nice.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Different Drum engaged my thoughts consistently and to significant depth. I couldn’t read without evaluating the various communities of which I’ve been a part, whether we were close to his ideals or far from them.

After extensive empirical studies, Peck is able to break down community building into four general steps:

1) pseudo-community, in which people think being nice and avoiding conflict is what determines community

2) chaos, during which people express various dissatisfactions and confl
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
The Different Drum is about building authentic community. M. Scott Peck describes what community has meant for him in his life and why it can be transformational in our lives as well. He then discusses his journey in discovering community and learning how to create it, explains how we can create authentic community, and shows how the weaknesses of human nature and lack of true community in the world have led to some of the world’s most pressing problems (and, hopefully, how a push for authentic ...more
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Someone once told me that M. Scott Peck's books are interesting but kinda woo. I think that's due to the combination of unabashed idealism, casual references to exorcism, and a narrative style that veers away from self-help and towards religious philosophy (which, although rooted in Christianity, sounds a little like Zen Buddhism). As he'll tell you himself, the dude likes big, beautiful ideas.

That kind of idealism can sometimes come off as being detached and insufferable, but...this book is oka
Mar 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I won't be writing a review for this book beyond what follows.

M Scott Peck presents an interesting if seemingly ideal perspective on the power of community. Dawing first from his experience with working in groups to develop a sense of community, he then explores ways of doing so. In the third part he applies his suggestions to both religious organizations and political ones. I found my skepticism rising powerfully when reading the chapter on political application and because this is pretty much
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality
As others have commented this book is very idealistic. To be honest the things Peck talks about for building community I learned in marriage counseling. His only context is the American culture and his data that he gets about community building are only from short-term groups. He never mentions family as a community and he seems to get a fix out of forming short-term community groups. I remember he used the word 'bored' and 'boring' a lot when the groups weren't moving through the stages he desc ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Peck's book spoke fairly close to my own beliefs on community and how the principles of community should be applied to the world at large. The language was a tad hard for me to follow emotionally as it leans heavily on the sensibility of eighties-era psychology, and I think that he goes a bit off the mark when talking about victims of trauma needing to simply 'let go' (regardless of the lasting, often lifetime effects of PTSD and trauma that sometimes must be dealt with in a more holistic way). ...more
This book came highly recommended by my brother. I checked it out at the library, but never got around to reading. Then, while I was visiting a favorite rock shop in Eugene, OR during Christmas break, I found a used copy for four dollars. I've been reading it slowly . . . I've yet to see if it will have the same effect on me that it had on him.


I've read bits and pieces on and off, but I never quite got into it. Maybe it's not the right time for this book. I'll let it wait until another day.
Mike Graham
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Changed my way of looking at the formation of community and why so many groups never succeed. Pseudo-community through chaos to true community. Most groups (families, churches, businesses, organiazations, etc.) find chaos so horrific that they will do anything to relieve the pain, and usually fall back to pseudo community. Usually it takes a leader (who can come from anywhere) who is willing to sacrifice his or her own agenda to listen to "other" to ignite the move to true community.
Amos Smith
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am surprised that Peck's other books have so many reviews and this one has so few in comparison. This is another excellent book by Peck. There are some authors that resonate so deeply with me that I try to read most of their work. Peck is one of those authors. In this book he offers some extraordinary insights about community.
-Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)
Jaime Wright
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Peck's arguments in the first two sections of the book make it impossible for the reader to ignore the call to action in the third section. He compels his reader to believe that world-wide community and peace is possible.
Nov 01, 2010 rated it liked it
The first time I read it I really enjoyed the book. Since then I have tried to re-read it several times and have not made it past page 100. The only real difference I can find is my state of mind.
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: decisionmaking
This book is a good one, not Road Less Traveled, but it is essential in its own way of making one see the importance and what it takes to truly be in cooperation with others. It really gives community a whole new sense of the word.
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Dr. Peck was born on May 22, 1936 in New York City, the younger of two sons to David Warner Peck, a prominent lawyer and jurist, and his wife Elizabeth Saville. He married Lily Ho in 1959, and they had three children.

Dr. Peck received his B.A. degree magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1958, and his M.D. degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1963. From 1963 unti
“The overall purpose of human communication is - or should be - reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.” 66 likes
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