Walk Out Walk On: Video Book Review

Walk Out Walk On. What a great title for a book.  It could apply to many things.  Yes? In this post it applies to the latest book from Margaret Wheatley, a book she co-authored with Deborah Frieze.  Both women are associated with the Berkana Institute, an organization that believes “whatever is the problem, community is the answer”.  Margaret was co-founder of Berkana.  I’m a big fan of hers.  Deborah is the current Berkana President.

Walk Out and Walk Ons


As old systems fail, a few people walk out. They walk on to experiment with new was of thinking and organizing that enable them to find solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. At first, they feel isolated and alone, limited in what they can achieve. They often don’t realize there are other Walk Outs.  Walk Ons find each other and connect. Together, they learn quickly, take greater risks, and support one another to continue their pioneering work. A new system is born from their efforts.

A learning journey

This book, Walk Out Walk On: A learning journey into communities daring to live the future now, takes us to Walk Outs Walk Ons living and working in communities, in seven very different places; Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Greece, and finally, back to the United States.

In this video, I talk about some of the things that grabbed me about this book; including its exploration of diversity, transitions, and relationships.  (Can’t see the video? Click here.)


One of the things this book does is look at what people are walking out from and walking to:

  • From Scaling Up to Scaling Across. One-size does not fit all.  By scaling across villages and nations, trans-locally, many diverse people discover and learn from each other, and are inspired to try their own…
  • From Power to Play. From leaders working with command and control mentality to leaders who empower people to create on their own… and who as a result feel motivated to work hard, on seemingly overwhelming challenges.
  • From Problem to Place.  Today’s approach to social change posits that large and complex issues must be addressed one by one, with institutions and experts who specialize in that particular problem.  Not so.  Better to have the people intimate with the place, and its creation.  And… “every place is an interdependent web of relationships, which is why you can start anywhere. There is no right place to start. It is only when we’re inside a system that we can begin to know its dynamics. And even then, we can never predict how that system will respond to our efforts.”
  • From Efficiency to Resilience. In an unpredictable and chaotic world, efficiencies are no guarantee of survival.  ” A wide range of small local actions that give people the capacity to continuously adapt to present conditions works better.”
  • From Transacting to Gifting. Moving from over-consumption to a belief that we have what we need; “a place where generosity prevails and money loses its power.”
  • From Intervention to Friendship. Bringing in experts and best practices created elsewhere is disempowering.  Rather, people can learn to trust their capacities and creativity, available through friendship, in order to address their community’s needs.
  • From Hero to Host. There is no hero whose going to ride into your community, and save it, solve those intractable problems.  The solution lies within, with a new operating system of using conversational processes (eg., Art of Hosting) to address complex problems, such as health care, homelessness, poverty, public safety, and more.  Good collaboration, it is!


Have you walked out? What are you walking on to?

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  1. Maggie Chicoine says

    Ben – thank you for your video and the summary. I will be sharing!

  2. That’s super Maggie. Appreciate it. And, nice to hear Margaret Wheatley will be connecting with your group next year, in Thunder Bay.

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