Self-organizing for stronger neighbourhoods and the world: Video book reviews

It’s almost Christmas.  Looking for a book to gift someone with? Maybe a little something on self-organization? Great! I’ve got a couple of suggestions.  I introduce them in this video (click here if you can’t see it), and have a bit more to say as well…

The Abundant Community

Authored by John McKnight and Peter Block, this book (The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighbourhoods) offers up that our neighbourhoods are the primary source of our health, in all forms, economic, environmental, and social.  Through the giving of gifts we each possess, our abundance, coming together, associating around common interests, connecting, self-organizing, and making even the outsider feel welcome, we can build local places where the citizen is empowered, and the influence of institutions is diminished. Basically, the premise is we have what we need, in our own local places, and it is enough to live a satisfied life, in relation with others.

I really liked the way this book was written.  It takes the residue of experience of these experts in the field of community development, and presents their ideas and how-to’s, in clear and highly accessible ways.  Their passion shines through.


Authored by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, this book (Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World) is a follow-up book to Wikinomics (by the same authors).  Building on their 5 principles of wikinomics; collaboration, openness, sharing, integrity, and interdependence, the authors show how social networking is becoming social production, where self-organizing groups of peers can design and produce everything from software to motorcycles.  Drawing on their global business networks, the authors provide scores of cool examples (and some future olive branches); e.g., microfactories, virtual collaboratories, alternate reality games driving positive real-world changes in behaviour, personal/household carbon allowances, patient-centric health care, youth-driven media, citizen as regulator, and much more.

Although the focus is on business, a current that runs through this book is the world will be a better place if it is more egalitarian, and people are connected and working together in ways that benefit all citizens, and the environment, in addition to the economy.


These books offer different perspectives on living in community, and social innovation.  One is locally-focused, the other has global focus.  Each set of authors have different sensibilities on the future.  Yet, in the end, both are optimistic.  Both have found their place.  Good readings.

What book is on your must have collaboration/community reading list?

[If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to my blog. Thanks, Ben.]


  1. Peter Block says

    Dear Ben,
    Thank you so much for your support of our book. John and I are committed to create a network of people who want to bring function and aliveness back into neighborhoods and reduce our dependency on consumerism and its effect.

    Your support really helps. Please take a look at our website and add to it —

    Peter Block

  2. Thank you Peter. I’ve gotten much inspiration from your work and books over the last few years. Your book with John really hit the mark for me. I will look at your website, and see how I can contribute.

  3. Ben,
    Once again, I appreciate the write-up. I truly think that collaborative projects will start becoming more and more popular as people realize the power of collective knowledge and expertise available.

    Macrowikinomics is definitely on my reading list for 2011.

    Keep up the good work!

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