If change is the mantra of our moment in history, Social Change 2.0 may be poised to become its bible. Drawing on his three decades in the trenches of large-scale societal transformation, David Gershon described by the United Nations as a graceful revolutionary, offers an original and comprehensive roadmap to bring about fundamental change in our world.
So many of the assumptions we have been operating with as a human community have proven faulty that we must now literally re-envision them. And with the accelerating unraveling of our planet's life support system and the deterioration of so many of our social systems, we are being called upon to create rapid transformative change. But the current social change tools at our disposal of governmental command and control, financial incentives, and citizen protest - Social Change 1.0 - were designed for slow-moving, incremental change.
Not only must we reinvent our world, but also the process by which we achieve this reinvention. If the current social change tools are not sufficient, what else do we have? According to systems theory, when the current solutions prove inadequate for the magnitude of change required, a system goes into stress and begins to break down. What is required to help the system evolve is a second order change solution or a solution capable of transforming and reorganizing it to a higher level of performance. Social Change 2.0 represents such a solution for our social systems.
It has a simple and some might say radical premise: that the natural starting point for changing our world for the better is us. That taking personal responsibility to make the needed changes within ourselves and our communities is the foundation for changing our institutions, not the other way around. That people are willing to make these changes if empowered by a personal vision and the means to bring it to fruition. That these changes can be accelerated and reinforced with the right laws and financial incentives, but the process begins with us.
To bring about this type of change we need leadership schooled in the competencies of transformative social change. With our planet on the line and with such a propitious opening available for transformation available as the world strives to reinvent itself, change leaders need to playing at their best. Social Change 2.0 provides a blueprint to help them do just that.
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David Gershon, founder and president of the Empowerment Institute, is one of the world s foremost authorities on empowerment, and applies this expertise to issues requiring large-scale societal and organizational transformation. His clients include cities, government agencies, large organizations, and social entrepreneurs. He has addressed a wide diversity of empowerment issues ranging from environmentally sustainable lifestyles, livable neighborhoods, and disaster-resilient communities to organizational talent development and cultural transformation. Over the past thirty years the empowerment programs he has designed have won many awards, and a major academic research study described them as unsurpassed in changing behavior.
David used his empowerment proficiency to conceive and organize, in partnership with the U.N. Children s Fund and ABC Television, one of the planet s first major global consciousness-raising initiatives, the First Earth Run. At the height of the Cold War, using the mythic power of relaying a torch of peace around the world, this simple and profound act of global unity engaged the participation of twenty-five million people in sixty-two countries, the world s political leadership and, through the media, an estimated 20 percent of the population on the planet. Millions of dollars were raised to enable UNICEF to provide care to the neediest children of the world.
Gershon is the author of ten books, including Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds, winner of the 2007 Most Likely to Save the Planet Independent Publisher Book Award; and, with his wife, Gail Straub, the best-selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life As You Want It. Considered a master social architect and trainer, he co-directs the Empowerment Institute Certification Program a school for transformative social change. He has lectured at Harvard, MIT, and Duke Universities and served as an advisor to the Clinton White House and the United Nations on empowerment and sustainability issues.Review:
Social Change 2.0 exhilarates. David Gershon has not just laid out a compelling and coherent blueprint for social change, but the vividly written stories he shares make us realize that what we thought was impossible can actually be achieved. Having been a political leader in Portland for twenty years, where I worked closely with David, I saw firsthand the power of his work to change the lives of thousands of people. He may well be the number one expert on social change in our country. --Mike Lindberg, former Commissioner of Public Utilities and city council member, City of Portland, Oregon
David Gershon, a daring social architect, is what an engineer is to a bridge builder. In Social Change 2.0, David puts forth with clarity, brilliance, innovation, and passion a blueprint for sustainable societal transformation. It is a practical, inspirational, and ethical guide to initiate, maintain, and/or reignite the soul of any social movement. This book is an outstanding addition to the world. --Brian K. Gibbs, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Diversity and Cultural Competence, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
This book is a practical and inspiring roadmap to the future we all know is possible. I know of no one more experienced to create such a roadmap than David Gershon, who has spent the past three decades empowering individuals and communities, as well as business and government leaders. I have looked forward to this book for some time to gain a deeper understanding of how David has initiated so much positive change and created so many innovative strategies to help people achieve their visions for a better world. --Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and Building a Win-Win World
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