Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad

Frances Moore Lappe, Author . Small Planet $14.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-9794142-4-4

This determinedly optimistic manifesto-cum-workbook by the author of Diet for a Small Planet begins with the question, “Why are we as societies creating a world that we as individuals abhor?” Lappé posits that U.S. culture is grounded in a worldview of scarcity, creating a society of “competitive materialists” who practice a “Thin Democracy” of electoral politics in a “one rule” market economy that returns wealth to wealth and leads to an ever-increasing concentration of power.” Yet she believes there is “no reason we can't” create a values-guided, empowering democracy based on the premise of “plenty,” where individuals and communities take charge of public life and engage in active listening, conflict mediation, dialogue and judgment. Full of charts comparing “Thin Democracy” constructs with “Living Democracy” alternatives, and ending with a study guide for community “Group Talk,” the book includes numerous examples of people practicing “Living Democracy,” from Nobel Prize–winner Muhammad Yunus, instigator of the international microcredit movement, to School Mediation Associates, which teaches conflict resolution and peer mediations skills. Unfortunately, Lappé's coverage of many of these inspiring stories is unintelligibly thin, too often referring readers to her Web site for backup. (Oct. 31)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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