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The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  43 reviews
There is a growing movement of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that real satisfaction and the good life are not provided by organizations, institutions, or systems. No number of great CEO’s, central offices, or long range plans produce what a community can produce. People are discovering a new possibility for their lives. They have a c ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published June 14th 2010 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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Aden Date
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: social-ecology
I had difficulty finishing this book, and stopped reading some time ago - so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt.

I should state by saying that I broadly agree with the thrust of the book: That there has been a breakdown of "community," in our culture and that we would be richer if we worked towards its repair.

Like many pop-sociology books, I felt it fell in to a few common traps:
Jargon. The book very quickly moves in to using it's own brand of rhetoric, familiar to communi
Justin Gravitt
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! This book was amazing. I'll give it 4.5 stars. It dissects our American culture that makes sense and challenges our assumptions. If you've ever wondered just how profoundly this culture is impacting you and those around you then you should give this book a read. I deducted half a star because the writing style was a bit hard for me to read. It just never flowed super well, despite the fact that what I was reading was really interesting and important. ...more
Silas White
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Like Peter Block's Community, this is an important book, and certainly charges out of the gate as an important book, but then relaxes into a carefully crafted, repetitive, humourless tedium. I still feel the Introduction, Chapter 1, and Chapters 6-7 at the end are essential reading. I wish the rest of the book could've effectively and engagingly built on this fundamental view expressed at the beginning and end, rather than merely acted as filler. I don't think it was structured well in that the ...more
Sep 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
With no facts, research, or concrete data to rely upon, this is just some vague yearning for the black-and-white aw shucks era. Would we be better off if, instead of doctors, we got all our medical information from neighbors? Seems unlikely, but the book argues so. It is so in favor of homeschooling (fight Big Teacher) and home carpentry (fight Big Contractor?).
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book. I wanted it to be inspiring and transformative because I so strongly agree with its main thrust and wish for an awakening of community. While it wasn't quite everything I hoped for, it definitely has some good things to offer. It has some good practical ideas for overcoming awkwardness and starting simple conversations that can start to knit your neighborhood together. I think it is also underpinned by some good principles regarding what is valuable in communit ...more
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I appreciated the perspective and the idealism. It reminded me of moments when I was in abundant communities and gave me thoughts on how to return to them. As someone who studies communes, I saw a lot of the 1960s communal ambitions within these pages. That said, living in a conflict-riddled landscape of 2020, I wondered how much it mattered if I'd read this book if my neighbors and friends haven't. Glad I read it, and maybe need to keep referencing aspects of this to give a bit of hope that we ...more
Bryan Atkinson
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Some great ideas about how to develop community along with rants and some overstated opinions that seem weak to me.
Kare Anderson
Jul 08, 2010 rated it liked it

In this weak economy where budgets of local governments and non-profit budgets will continue to get slashed, it is especially heartening to read the mutual-reliance message inherent in this book. Rather than rely solely on outsiders and related funding and services, the authors suggest we band together with locals to come up with our own solutions to problems – and ways to leverage the resources we each have in support of “our” community.

While the authors advocate “no more relying on institution
Paul Signorelli
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
To propose the existence of abundance at a time when so many people are discouraged and overwhelmed might appear to be a hard sell. But that's exactly what John McKnight and Peter Block effectively do and nurture through their wonderful book "The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods" and the Abundant Community website ( they maintain to support and spread their work--and ours. A heartfelt and encouraging paean to the power of coll ...more
Rob Kall
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read and loved this book, then interviewed the authors together, on my radio show. Here's what I said, introducing the book.
I got a look at this book, and the subtitle is Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. And, it sat on my desk a little bit, and I just looked at it, and I wasn't real excited about it right away, but then I opened it up and I started looking at it, and all of a sudden I got really excit
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This book laments the decline of community, particularly locational community. The authors define what, exactly, has been lost, and give suggestions for recreating community. They seemed almost too optimistic about neighbors' willingness to be involved in others' lives, but perhaps I am too pessimistic. ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Challenges conventional 21st-century understanding of American individualism. Asks us how we can increase neighborhood hospitality. Read this for class last year and wanted to re-visit.
Bruce Stopher
Nov 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I only made it 42% of the way through this book and couldn't continue. The first third of the book is more about what's wrong with consumerism than what's right with community. Grand claims are made about how community will provide individuals with ultimate satisfaction and meaning without any objective data provided. The author often admitted that he was giving "extreme" examples against consumerism with few and relatively weak examples to support his postmodern tribalism (and yes, he does quit ...more
John Lucy
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Solid read. If you want to build up your community, your neighborhood, or just want to know what's wrong with the world today, this might be a good place to start. Both investigate the origins of issues in our world (boiled down to no longer living well in small communities) and offering advice and practical solutions. ...more
Justin Taylor
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great read especially for those involved in community development. Loved the critique of modern social structures. Thought the books downfall is that it could have been said in far fewer words.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful message -- great book with great information on how to create abundant communities. I see a lot of this going on already, here and there, but McKnight and Block lay out a wonderful roadmap for communities who desire change beyond their current state.
Brent Harris
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is required reading for people hoping to find their way back to communities that are sustainable and resilient! Especially those change-maker types who all too often just need a place of stability and connection to ground them and help them focus their God-given capacities optimally.
Albert Hong
Solid main idea - everything we need, we can find in the community. Now let's see how that works in practice... ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book on re-directing human beings back to community. Not so much of a how-to book but it helps stimulate our thoughts on community living and co-existing.
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Read for class. Quick read, some good, helpful points, but a bit idealistic.
Terry Earley
Dec 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: library-request
Mentioned in David Brooks' "Second Mountain" in relation to "Weavers" building communities.

Recommended eBook 12-27-2019
Tanvee Agrawal
Stopped reading it. This book is good, well researched but I am not the correct audience for it. I have been married for less than two years, have no kids and live a simple life in a second country.
I am still figuring out things and I am not running to finish errands nor chasing time to fix in some more work. I believe in the power of people and like to know about all the happenings around me. Though it's difficult to find interactive and social neighbors, I am trying to follow my neighborhood
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: community-work
This is a very practical book that looks at how to build community in families, neighborhoods and other groups. They set up a contrast between a society of consumers vs. a society of citizens. The greatest threat to community is the consumer mindset that is built on a system designed to create dissatisfaction so one will look to things to bring joy, happiness, belonging and meaning. By contrast citizens are people who are actively engaged in creating the kinds of comm unites that honor people's ...more
Jan 23, 2014 added it
This book was a little idyllic for my taste, but I still got a lot out of it. Mainly, it did a good job of cementing what an assets-based perspective could look like. The positivity and admonishment of a deficit model was worthwhile.
Some of what was communicated in the book made me a bit uncomfortable. Depending on how broad the view of "community" is, the book seemed to allow for structural injustices to be ignored in favour of a localised approach that would somehow be to pure for such injusti
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really liked this. We focus so often on what is wrong or complaining - here are not only good ideas, but a background for what makes community - and makes it well.

Rather than thinking about what I need - look to what the community needs to thrive - and your life as a part of that community will be better.

Should be required reading for school boards and local elected officals
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-booklist
This was an excellent study on communities. It gave an in-depth look at the issues affecting communities - some of which I would never have guessed - but as I started reading about them, I realized that yes, of course they would negatively impact our communities and neighborhoods. Loved this book. I think I may need to purchase it and add it to my 2015 Booklist...
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A how-to book on making our community lives healthier, safer, and happier. It shows us how to build more self-reliant communities and communities less reliant on big government and big corporation to solve our problems. First, it talks about the wrong in relying on big government and big corporation. Then it shows us how to build strong communities, giving us examples and resource links.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few too many buzzwords/phrases, but still, it reinforced something I've been thinking more about lately: we (most of us) have unwittingly traded a lot of the good things that come only through communities and neighborhoods for the speed, convenience, and short-term money savings of being "global" consumers. ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
While it reads a little like a text book (lots of information included in the short 160 pages) this book asked great questions and offered simple, yet powerful ideas. Inspired me to seek out my own neighbors in an effort to support my neighborhood in becoming self sustaining. Interesting indeed!
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the best books i've ever read; very clear, simple and very challenging to our conventional wisdom. "Grief specialists" as a professionalization of a community function, sucking up community resources. Interesting, wise.

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“Here is the rub: Systems that are constructed for order cannot provide satisfaction in domains that require a unique and personal human solution. They are unable to provide the satisfaction that they promise because of their very nature. This is not a critique of any individual’s leadership or method of operation. It is that systems have a limit; by their nature, they cannot provide prosperity or peace of mind or a life of satisfaction.” 3 likes
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