Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change

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Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Jan 4, 2010 - Business & Economics - 172 pages
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A new approach, proven in the field, for making progress on our most important and difficult collective challenges Based on Kahane's first-hand experiences working with teams of business, government and civil society leaders around the world Profound, personal and practical The two main ways that people try to solve their toughest group, community and societal problems are fundamentally flawed. They either push for what they want at all costs-in it's most extreme form this means war-or try to completely avoid conflict, sweeping problems under the rug in the name of a superficial "peace." But there is a better way: combining these two seemingly contradictory approaches. Adam Kahane argues that each is a reflection of two distinct, fundamental drives: power, the single-minded desire to achieve one's solitary purpose; and love, the drive towards unity. They are inextricable parts of human nature, so to achieve lasting change you have to able to work fluidly with both. In fact, each needs the other. As Martin Luther King put it, "Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic." Kahane delves deeply in the dual nature of power and love, exploring their complex and intricate interplay. With disarming honesty he relates how, through trial and error, he learned to balance between them, shifting from one to the other as though learning to walk-at first falling, then stumbling forward, and finally moving purposefully toward true, lasting reconciliation and progress. For the last twenty years Kahane has worked around the world on a variety of challenges: economic development, food security, health care, judicial reform, peace making, climate change. He has worked with diverse teams of leaders-executives and politicians, generals and guerillas, civil servants and trade unionists, community activists and United Nations officials, clergy and artists. He has seen, up close and personal, examples of inspiring progress and terrifying regress. Power and Love reports what he has learned from these hard-won experiences.
 

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Contents

THE TWO SIDES OF POWER
11
Generative power
12
Degenerative power
15
Love is what makes power generative
26
THE TWO SIDES OF LOVE
29
Degenerative love
38
Power is what makes love generative
50
THE DILEMMA OF POWER AND LOVE
53
Mitigating climate change in Canada
113
How to walk
121
TO LEAD MEANS TO STEP FOWARD
127
Becoming aware of both our power and our love
129
Practicing moving fluidly
134
Stepping forward
139
Notes
143
Bibliography
151

FALLING
57
How to fall
71
STUMBLING
75
Building democracy in South Africa
87
How to stumble
100
WALKING
103
Acknowledgments
155
Index
160
About Reos Partners
168
About the Author and the Artist
170
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Adam Kahane is a partner in Reos Partners, an international organization dedicated to supporting and building capacity for innovative collective action in complex social systems.

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