Book Review - Community - June 2008


Book: Community: The Structure of Belonging
Author: Peter Block
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Length: 240 pages
Price: $26.95
Reviewer: Marcia Daszko

Peter Block and Berrett-Koehler Publishers have produced a critically important book that provides a great venue for opening more conversations about transformation, community, purpose, and authenticity. Most powerful are the questions that Peter poses! Specific answers are not necessary. What is critical is that the questions help people explore the purpose of community, the methods to achieve greater community, the transformative power of the conversations we, as citizens, need to embrace.

With a common purpose (Dr. Deming would smile), people who are committed together can create a new future and be the catalysts for new thinking and actions for healthy, interdependent communities that work, play, learn and live together-rather than those fragmented ones we currently experience. Peter's contribution is delivering a masterful work of exploration, a guiding tool for new thinking, and an opportunity for citizens to commit to creating the kind of communities we want to live in. His overall premise includes shifting our conversations from problems of community to possibilities of community and also transforming the isolation within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole.

Community is full of stories, examples, operational definitions, systemic thinking, methods, strategies, and questions!!! Community invites the readers to bring our individual and collective gifts to the community. Community explores profound concepts with unique perspectives and "the Peter Block conversational style"-and style it is! The six various methods for conversation offer a path to explore creating an interdependent community collectively. Community offers a lengthy list of resources to support the transformational path for great commitment for community.

While Peter Block's book is easy to read and understand on one level, it will not be a book that does not impact how we think and hopefully act differently, as we explore one of Peter's questions, " What is the new conversation that we want to occur?