Review: The Impossible Will Take a Little While–A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

5 Star, Democracy

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Collection, Needs to Identify Original Pieces,

November 5, 2004
Paul Loeb
Edited 20 Dec 07 to add links to more recent books along these lines.

My title page, where I put my summary notes, is covered with writing. The first and most important point: this is not a “do gooder feel good” book–it is a compelling, absorbing book that lays out some good insights and provides an antidote to paralysis and dispair. It is, in short, a book that inspires many small actions that in the aggregate could lead to revolutionary improvements in democracy and our quality of life.

It took a lot of work to put this book together, including getting all the copyright permissions, and if I had one complaint, it is that I have already read many of these older items (e.g. Mandela, Havel, Martin Luther King) and it was too difficult to find the original pieces commissioned just for this book. Having said that–as a 52 year old that reads a great deal–I would quickly say that if you want to introduce younger people to great thinkers in the democratic tradition, it would be hard to do better than this book as a “reader.”

The book is also complemented by the online aids for further study and for reading group discussion.

I thought of my teen-ager as I read the book, and wrote his name in several places on the margin–this book is relevant to parents dealing with very smart young people who may tend to say “I'm never having children” because the world is going to hell.

At a tactical level, this book complements Bill Moyer's “Doing Democracy,” and is a personal counterpart to Jonathan Schell's work, “The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People.”

I put the book down with one big thought ably communicated by this book: The problem among us is not that we lack power, but that we lack the will and perspective to use the power that we do have in small ways that add up to big power in the aggregate.

See also, with reviews:
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen

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