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

Overview

Winner of the 2008 JAMES BEARD HUMANITARIAN AWARD, 2008 NAUTILUS SMALL PRESS GOLD AWARD and 2008 NAUTILUS SILVER AWARD in the category of Social Change/Activism

Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad is a little book with a big message. Frances Moore Lappe--author of fifteen books, including three-million-copy bestseller Diet for a Small Planet--distills her world-spanning experience and wisdom in a conversational yet hard-hitting style to create a...

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Overview

Winner of the 2008 JAMES BEARD HUMANITARIAN AWARD, 2008 NAUTILUS SMALL PRESS GOLD AWARD and 2008 NAUTILUS SILVER AWARD in the category of Social Change/Activism

Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad is a little book with a big message. Frances Moore Lappe--author of fifteen books, including three-million-copy bestseller Diet for a Small Planet--distills her world-spanning experience and wisdom in a conversational yet hard-hitting style to create a rare "aha" book. In nine short chapters, Lappe leaves readers feeling liberated and courageous. She flouts conventional right-versus-left divisions and affirms readers' basic sanity--their intuitive knowledge that it is possible to stop grasping at straws and grasp the real roots of today's crises, from hunger and poverty to climate change and terrorism. Because we are creatures of the mind, says Lappe, it is the power of "frame"--our core assumptions about how the world works--that determines outcomes. She pinpoints the dominant failing frame now driving out planet toward disaster. By interweaving fresh insights, startling facts, and stirring vignettes of ordinary people pursuing creative solutions to our most pressing global problems, Lappe uncovers a new, empowering "frame" through which real solutions are emerging worldwide.
She writes: "My book's intent is to enable us to see what is happening all around us but is still invisible to most of us. It is about people in all walks of life who are penetrating the spiral of despair and reversing it with new ideas, ingenious innovation--and courage."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Booklist-
"Displaying her usual laserlike logic, Lappé's crystalline assessments virtually leap off the page. A source of inspiration."

Tikkun Magazine -
Lappe [gives]--plenty of examples of people making change in whatever system they inhabit by bringing stakeholders together irrespective of their initial opinions or class status. The necessary ingredients include a passion to change things, a freedom from too much ideology, a readiness to both enter into conflict and to mediate it through the kind of facilitation that enables people to hear each other's real needs, and the learning of partnership and communication skills--The best part of Lappe's book to me was when she suggested a whole new vocabulary for us to use--It's a fresh look constructed by an original mind, a woman who is grappling with real life problems worldwide and who is pragmatic and out-of-the-box in seeing where entry points for change can be made. If this book isn't inspirational and helpful, then I don't know what is. But it isn't an all-encompassing theory. It isn't a Das Capital to set an agenda for economic research and idealistic policy wonks for a hundred years. That may be just as well, for pragmatic compassion and cooperative innovation with no pre-set limits may be just what we need.

"Getting a Grip is not an ordinary book: it's more like a new pair of glasses, allowing you to see everything around you with greater clarity. Suddenly the world is more comprehensible, more manageable, even more beautiful. You won't want to take them off."

--Barbara Kingsolver

"Lappé has succeeded masterfully, saying what every presidential candidate should, and she is doing so with the boldness that is required."
--John Nichols, The Nation

"There is a small number of people in every generation who are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of greed and power to hold a torch for the rest of us. Frances Moore Lappé is one of those."
--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"An absolute must-read! Very inspiring and empowering. It makes you want to jump out of your seat and do something that will better our world."
--Lina Musayev, Co-founder of United Students for Fair Trade

"I love Getting a Grip. Its great positive energy awakens us to a whole new way to think and to act. Read it now."
--Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, author of Failing the Faithful

Publishers Weekly

This determinedly optimistic manifesto-cum-workbook by the author of Diet for a Small Planetbegins 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)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Prominent author (Diet for a Small Planet), activist, and advocate, Lappé now offers a slim manifesto that promises to show readers how to reframe their understanding of democracy as a way out of what she refers to as a "spiral of powerlessness." Lappé argues that our current definition of democracy, "elections plus a market," creates benefits for corporate interests and the rich but not for the average citizen. She argues for a dynamic, values-driven model of democracy that she calls "Living Democracy." As a manifesto, the work is mostly effective. Lappé rallies her readers, striking a welcome tone of hope and optimism, and many of her reframing techniques are compelling and inspiring. Unfortunately, she peppers the book with facts and statistics that are too decontextualized to work as evidence. She does better when she draws on inspiring anecdotes from people and communities practicing the kind of democratic principles she describes. Lappé is a prominent thinker; most public and academic libraries should consider this title.
—Rachel Bridgewater

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979414244
  • Publisher: Small Planet Media
  • Publication date: 10/8/2007
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 988,035
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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