Books

A number of books have informed my thinking and are enormously encouraging. I have organized them into the following five categories:

Awakening to Purpose

Inner and Outer Peace

Planet

Structuring the Change We Need

Moving From Poverty to Prosperity

Awakening to Purpose

 

The Courage to Create. Rollo May. “Shall we consciously participate, on however small the scale, in the forming of the new society?” “To live into the future means to leap into the unknown, and this requires a degree of courage for which there is no immediate precedent…courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.” A few quotes from this gem which describes why creative courage is essential in building the new society, how it works, and how it can be developed in each person.

 

Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age. Joanna Macy. This valuable book tells us how social despair – fear that we’re not going to make it as a species – operates and how to convert that into effective action in solidarity with others

 

Giving: How Each of us Can Change the World. Bill Clinton. Stories and heroes that demonstrate the power of citizen activism to be a powerful agent of change in the world.

 

Taking on the System. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. The founder of the most successful blog in political history, Daily Kos, clues us into how to do digital organizing for change.

 

Community: The Structure of Belonging. Peter Block. A handbook on how to create a desirable future through engaging in transformative conversations framed around evocative questions. Included is a most engaging list of eighty-eight individuals and groups who are changing the world for the better.

 

From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older. Salman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller. Shows how much older folks have to contribute to our world community.

 

The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary. Angeles Arrien. A goldmine of tools and practices from the wisdom traditions of ancient peoples.

 

Original Blessing. Matthew Fox. A definitive description of creation-centered spiritual traditions, this life giving book will hearten anyone weary of religious doctrine that no longer fits our age.

 

You Don’t Have to Go Home From Work Exhausted! Ann McGee-Cooper. This enjoyable book, packed with inspiration, offers an abundance of practical ways to increase your energy not only for work but for all of life. And, after all, without energy, we can’t create the Global Renaissance!

 

Creating. Robert Fritz. Invites us to take the creative stance, tells us how to stay the course. Fritz has studied how creative people operate and then made their secrets available to all of us. His thinking has changed my life.

 

The Promise. Oral Lee Brown. The author, a woman of modest means from Oakland, California, has adopted several classes of disadvantaged elementary students and mentored and funded the entire classes through college. You’ll never doubt that one person can make a difference after reading this book.

 

Pocketful of Miracles. Joan Borysenko. This small meditation book by an immunologist offers prayers and core wisdom from the world’s spiritual traditions. If used over time, it brings remarkable growth. With two others, I have used this for the last six years.

 

Working From the Heart: Cultivating the Soul at Work. Jacqueline McMakin and Sonya Dyer. Each person’s work is an essential building block for Global Renaissance. This is a guide to creating meaningful work that contributes something valuable to society.

 

Discovering Your Gifts, Vision, and Call. Jacqueline McMakin and Rhoda Nary. How to discern which piece of the action is meant for me to do.

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Inner and Outer Peace

Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. Thich Nhat Hanh. Reading this book slowly and thoughtfully and doing the simple practices suggested will help you cultivate inner peace and bring peace to others.

 

Steps Toward Inner Peace by Peace Pilgrim. This small pamphlet is packed with the life changing wisdom of Peace Pilgrim who walked more than 25,000 miles across the United States spreading her message of peace. Available on www.peacepilgrim.org. Free copies also available by mail:

Friends of Peace Pilgrim
P. O. Box 2207
Shelton, CT 06484

 

No Future Without Forgiveness. Desmond Tutu. The story of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this book shows how real justice is not punishment but restoration not to how things used to be but to how they really should be.

 

Three Cups of Tea. Greg Mortenson. An engaging tale of one person’s efforts to build schools in the mountainous regions of Pakistan.

 

 

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. Philip Hallie. Tells the story of how the villagers of Le Chambon sheltered Jews during World War II. Later made into a film called Weapons of the Spirit.

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Planet

Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. Lester R. Brown. What individuals and governments should do to restore the earth. Ted Turner gave a copy to every member of Congress.

 

Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America. Thomas Friedman. A Green Revolution is needed, possible, and inspiring.

 

Earth in the Balance. Albert Gore. This classic alerts us to the environmental crisis in personal, powerful and understandable terms.

 

The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. James Gustave Speth. An urgent call to fuse the movements for the environment, social justice, and political reform into a new politics and new social movement powerful enough to drive transformative change.

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Structuring the Change We Need

Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons. Peter Barnes. How to protect our commonly owned natural, cultural and community treasures by giving “the commons” property rights and strong institutional managers. A must-read for anyone worried about the economy.

 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. Jim Collins. How long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. Based on research with companies but relevant to countries, movements, and non-profits.

 

High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them. J. F. Rischard. Imaginative thinking on how to structure global problem solving without too much reliance on national governments.

 

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. David C. Korten. Makes the case that “Earth Community” – a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable way of ordering human society based on democratic principles of partnership – is possible.

 

Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. Paul Hawken. An exploration of the the huge numbers of organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and foster social justice. Hawken explores the movement’s diversity, brilliant ideas and innovative strategies. A most hopeful book.

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Moving From Poverty to Prosperity

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. David Bornstein. The story of William Drayton, the Ashoka Foundation, and many social entreprenurs around the world. Full of practical tools and change strategies.

 

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism. Muhammad Yunus. The micro credit pioneer updates us on its progress and discusses how social business can address poverty, pollution, inadequate health care and lack of education.

 

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. Jeffrey D. Sachs. Nine specific steps to help the one billion poorest individuals start earning by 2025. This investment in global economic growth will add to the security of all nations.

 

Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. Jeffrey D. Sachs. The severe problems facing the earth are manageable. Fixing them will cost only 2.4% of the rich world’s gross national product.

 

The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. William Easterly. A critique of top down “outside” economic development planning and an argument for bottom up growth achieved by nations such as Japan, China and Taiwan that evolved their own cultures, rules and disciplines and built an indigenous foundation for economic growth.

 

Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. Paul Tough. A detailed look on discoveries made by Geoffrey Canada asked the question: What would it take to change the lives of poor children ….in large numbers in a way that could be replicated nationwide?

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