Posted in What We Are Reading
April 1, 2014
At IISC we often talk about three hugely important pieces of context for social change work these days:
- We are in the middle of a paradigm shift, from the Industrial Age into an age that doesn’t have a name yet
- By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas
- In 2042 the U.S. will become a majority people of color nation
In this context, as a nation and a globe we are choosing to face or ignore urgent questions about climate change, racism, wealth distribution, violence (the types we condone, penalize, and ignore), and the quality of life that we are willing or unwilling to insist upon for every human being on this planet. It’s quite overwhelming…
January 22, 2014
“Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.”
- “How Not to Manage an Introvert” (by Nguyen Hung Vu)
For several months I’ve been meaning to read Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking. Having completed it this past weekend, I have both a sense of validation (being one of ever-more introverted tendencies as the years pass) and being able to see with new eyes. IMHO, it is well worth the read, and if the thought of tackling the 300 pages is daunting, you might enjoy a taste via Cain’s TED Talk.
Here I wanted to reflect on some of the insights Cain’s work has to offer collaboration and “net work” for change. Read More
January 6, 2014
The most inspiring book I read in 2013 was Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and A Vision for Change, by Congressman and Civil Rights legend, John Lewis. He built the book around several practices that are essential for social justice work: faith, patience, study, truth, peace, love and reconciliation. Read More
December 18, 2013
Adam Grant is a professor at the Wharton School of Business whose research focuses on “motivation, prosocial giving and helping behaviors, initiative and proactivity.” His work and writing, including his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, seem to have something to offer those interested in and engaged in developing networks for social change, as much of it points to data showing that organizations of all kinds benefit from fostering cultures of giving. Read More
December 11, 2013
I’ve spent time the past week reading through Networks that Work, a handy and concise resource for developing organizational networks, written by Paul Vandeventer, President and CEO of Community Partners, and Myrna Mandell, Ph.D. The book lays out some very helpful pointers for more formally constructed networks. I have highlighted 10 points below that resonate with our experiences at IISC around supporting organizational networks for social change. My comments and extensions are in italics: Read More
October 21, 2013
I just started reading Playing God: Redeeming the gift of power by Andy Crouch, thanks to a book reading group at my church, Grace Chapel. I’m already drawn in by the premise that power is a gift and by his central question: How do we use our power to make people and things around us flourish?
November 28, 2012
If you have not already seen it, our friends at the Leadership Learning Community have published a rich new resource entitled “Leadership and Networks: New Ways of Developing Leadership in a Highly Connected World.” Some of us at IISC contributed to this publication, directly and indirectly, and overall it seems to do a nice job of bringing together otherwise disparate stories about the power of networks in guiding leadership development and movements for change. Here you will find brief overviews of instructive cases such as the Barr Fellows Network, Lawrence CommunityWorks, the RE-AMP Network, and KaBOOM!, along with a list of additional resources and readings. I also appreciate how it explicitly builds the case for considering network approaches, including their ability to: Read More
September 27, 2012
IISC staff is engaged in reading this recently published and important book by john a. powell, currently Director of the Haas Diversity Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. I sometimes have the tendency to skip to the end of non-fiction books, in this case the Afterword, to see where the story ends. Without wanting to be a spoiler, I wanted to share these words from powell, which I find a real motivator to dig deeply into the book and the work it asks of us:
“To reach our common ground, to create a sense of mutuality and common space, we must realize that the embodiedness that spiritual seekers know is also needed in the justice system and in efforts to end suffering in our society. Abstract concepts and cold individualism fall short of justice, fall short of addressing need, and allow the victory of greed. We need to reach out to one another from a perspective that makes group membership less determinative of opportunity and more related to enhancement of self and community. We need to increase our sense of abundance and improve our sense of well-being, as individuals and in relation to one another. Accomplishing this requires an identification of the white worldview along with an incorporation of the many of visions that tell America’s story. And it requires a renewed commitment by all of us to fulfill the promise of a truly democratic society.”
September 6, 2012
|Image from Anders Sandberg|http://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/273180669|
Yesterday I posted a bit of a summary of Carter Phipps’ provocative new book, Evolutionaries, which included the suggested trajectories from a variety of evolutionary thinkers and observers, including greater (and increasing rates of) external and internal complexity, convergence, creativity and change. The implications I left off with included a call for a stronger embrace of our creative self-starting (entrepreneurial) potential and also the necessity of engaging in more intentional and skillful collective (cooperative or collaborative) effort.
To take this another step, there is much in the evolutionary (biological/physical and philosophical/spiritual) literature that validates and extends our thinking about how to work with life and dynamic systems to steward change in broadly desirable, just, and life-affirming directions.
September 5, 2012
“Innovation is as much a function of the right kind of relationships as it is of a particular kind of individual vision.”
I capped off my summer reading with what was for me a fascinating and important book – Evolutionaries by Carter Phipps. Phipps is the editor of EnlighteNext magazine and enthusiastic about the evolutionary worldview and how it is showing up in many different fields, from biology to sociology to philosophy and theology, transforming our very understanding not simply of the cosmos, but of ourselves. Over the past few years, readers of this blog have probably picked up on the interest that my colleague Gibran Rivera and I share with Phipps when it comes to the evolutionary worldview. Evolutionaries does a wonderful service in deepening and broadening as well as bringing much more nuance to this perspective, rendering it more timely, accessible and applicable to the work of social change. Read More
July 13, 2012
IISC is proud to release our first eBook, Musings from the Blogosphere, featuring the writings of our founding Executive Director, Marianne Hughes. Marianne recently left her position as executive director to take some well deserved time off before returning in the fall to continue her client work as a senior consultant. Click here to read a PDF version of this special compilation of posts from our blog, or look for it in the iTunes bookstore to read a free, interactive iBook version.
And, stayed tuned for more free eBooks from IISC in the coming months!
May 31, 2012
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
–William Stafford, from “A Ritual to Read to One Another”
|Photo of Able Martinez by Mike Baird|http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/4369050515|
This is a slightly edited re-post of something I wrote a couple of years ago, and it came back to mind during conversations these past few days with a group of conservation biologists about how to create more of a compelling case for their work, and also to better understand where various stakeholders (allies and adversaries) are coming from with respect to preserving precious natural resources. The point has been made several times and in different ways that narrative speaks louder than numbers, and that in our change work, it helps if we become acquainted with the stories of others, and work ultimately at weaving ourselves into something more collective. Read More