Author Biographies :: Peter Block

Peter Block

In addition to The Abundant Community, co-authored with John McKnight, Peter Block is the author of Flawless Consulting, Community, Stewardship and The Answer to How Is Yes. He serves on the boards of Elementz, a hip hop center for urban youth; Cincinnati Public Radio; and LivePerson. With other volunteers, Peter began A Small Group, whose work is to create a new community narrative and to bring Peter's work on civic engagement into being. Peter's work is in the restoration of communities and creating systems that restore our humanity. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops he has designed to build the skills outlined in his books.

Articles by this Author…

Organizational Culture of Fear: The Shadow Side of US Culture

Posted on October 16, 2017 in Posts

Don't let the title mislead you. Peter's intimate conversation with life, career and business coach CJ Liu is profound, touching and funny. Ostensibly a discussion of Peter's book Flawless Consulting, CJ says at the end, "We didn't talk about the book at all." Instead, the conversation ranged from personal transformation, integrating who you are with what you do and outlets for pain and rage to freedom, authenticity, courage and the power of co-creation--plus yoga, cartoons, parenting and much more.… read more »

Who Has the Skills to Build Community? We All Do

Posted on September 27, 2017 in Posts

Transcription of John and Peter's September 12th conversation with YES! Magazine co-founder Sarah van Gelder on her 12,000-mile cross-country journey learning from people who were re-making America from the ground up and how it led to starting up a new project: PeoplesHub, an online space where communities can learn and share the skills of making powerful change.… read more »

How Community Animators Work Around the World

Posted on July 30, 2017 in Posts

Transcription of John and Peter's July 25th conversation with Cormac Russell on his work with communities, agencies, NGOs and governments using ABCD and other strengths-based approaches in Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia.… read more »

How Community Action Shapes Health

Posted on June 27, 2017 in Posts

Deborah Puntenney has been a colleague of John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann at the Asset-Based Community Development Institute for 25 years. In this transcribed conversation, John and Peter talk with her about how her work focuses on engaging citizens to become effective co-producers of their own health and well-being.… read more »

You Are the Guest

Posted on December 14, 2016 in Posts

John and Peter share some of their latest thinking on building new connections and relationships to strengthen our neighborhoods and communities in a transcription of their December 12, 2016 online / dial-up dialog.… read more »

You Are the Guest: Chat Box Comments

Posted on December 14, 2016 in Posts

Some of the issues raised by listeners, and their responses to John and Peter's dialog on their latest thinking, grabbed from the conversation's chat box on December 12, 2016.… read more »

Communities, Not Countries, Are Best Equipped to Fix the World’s Economic Woes

Posted on December 11, 2016 in Posts

Local communities are constructing an economy and ways of being that promise more stability and local control than looking outward or upward for solutions to our economic anxiety.… read more »

Peter Block Talks Community, the Consumer Culture and the Promise of Learning

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Posts

Peter shares his unique perspective on challenging the status quo in his interview with "About Campus" executive editor Frank Shushok, Jr.… read more »

The Gift of Fallibility

Posted on July 27, 2016 in Posts

Transcribed highlights from John and Peter's wide-ranging conversation on "The Gift of Fallibility" touch on competition in our society, perfectionism and the wish for predictability and control, the unintended consequences of technology, and many other concerns in shifting toward a community way of thinking and acting.… read more »

Neighbors As Citizens Making Democracy Work

Posted on May 9, 2016 in Posts

Transcribed highlights from John and Peter's conversation with Kettering Foundation president and CEO David Mathews on the role of citizens in making democracy work as it should. For more than three decades, David has led the Foundation’s work with communities and institutions from the citizen's perspective: "We trade what we have learned for what they are learning, and both benefit.”… read more »

Abundant Community Edmonton

Posted on March 30, 2016 in Posts

John and Peter join Howard Lawrence and Anne Harvey to talk about the unique framework they developed in Edmonton to create more connected and capable neighborhoods.… read more »

Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann and John McKnight in Conversation

Posted on March 23, 2016 in Posts

Transcript of Peter, Walter and John's wide-ranging conversation on March 8, 2016 inspired by their new book, "An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture," moderated by Peter Pula and Michelle Strutzenberger of Axiom News.… read more »

Signs of the Times

Posted on February 29, 2016 in Posts

An excerpt from "An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture," the latest book by Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann and John McKnight.… read more »

Change the Conversation, Change the Culture

Posted on February 4, 2016 in Posts

Video of Peter talking about the small group methodology of community engagement and his views on the restorative movement, from the International Institute for Restorative Practices 19th World Conference.… read more »

New Scoop Interviews Member Peter Block

Posted on November 6, 2015 in Posts

Calgary news coop co-founder Sarah Arthurs interviews Peter on the role generative journalism plays in community transformation.… read more »

A Place at the Table

Posted on August 27, 2015 in Posts

No lines ... no meal tickets ... no clothes piled on tables to pick through. These are just a couple of the "radical hospitality" ideas John and Peter talk about with Edd Conboy of Philadelphia's Broad Street Ministry in these transcribed highlights of their August 8, 2015 conversation.… read more »

A Place at the Table (audio)

Posted on August 27, 2015 in Stories

No lines ... no meal tickets ... no clothes piled on tables to pick through. John and Peter talk with Edd Conboy, Director of Social Services and the Counseling Center at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, about different ways people and communities can shift from a scarcity, helplessness and hopelessness stance to one of abundance, gifts and empowerment in their work with people on the margins.… read more »

Making Space for Community

Posted on June 16, 2015 in Stories

John, Peter and architect, community planner and author Ross Chapin, the leader in defining and designing pocket neighborhoods, talk about how scale and design impact the quality of our conversations, relationships and our sense of community.… read more »

One-Room School and Reclaiming Economic Sovereignty

Posted on February 9, 2015 in Posts

What does a one-room schoolhouse in Michigan have to do with Greece, Europe, Democracy and the now floundering economic globalization experiment?… read more »

Not the Visitation You Asked For

Posted on December 18, 2014 in Posts

Why the Vatican's investigation of Catholic nuns in the U.S. holds important lessons for us all.… read more »

The Politics of a Dollar

Posted on July 16, 2014 in Posts

The way we spend our dollars, or don't spend them, regardless of how many we have, fundamentally determines the ownership and distribution of wealth. This power is in our hands.… read more »

Deepening Community

Posted on April 7, 2014 in Posts

Peter's foreword to "Deepening Community," the new book by Tamarack Institute co-founder and president Paul Born.… read more »

Freedom at Work

Posted on January 9, 2014 in Posts

"Who will care for the common good" is a question that most businesses aren't ready to deal with. In a wide-ranging interview with Tami Simon of "Insights on the Edge," Peter talks about the signals he sees of a shift in consciousness in the business world ... and much more.… read more »

Measuring and Evaluating Community Initiatives

Posted on April 22, 2013 in Posts

Highlights from Peter's April 16 online/dial-up conversation with Tom Dewar, co-director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change and long-time member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.… read more »

How to Use Local Assets to Make Your Community Effective

Posted on March 6, 2013 in Stories

Highlights from Peter and John's March 5 online/dial-up conversation with Mary Nelson, the founder and longtime Director of Bethel New Life, one of the nation's best neighborhood development organizations.… read more »

Safety and Security: A Neighborhood Necessity

Posted on January 7, 2013 in Posts

An excerpt on safety and security from John and Peter's book. They say that safety and security, health, the well-being of children, the environment and the land, an enterprising economy, food and care for those on the margin are the seven neighborhood necessities that are fulfilled not by acting as consumers but as citizens of an abundant community creating our own future with our neighbors.… read more »

Life-Giving Journalism

Posted on December 17, 2012 in Posts

Peter explores with Peter Pula of Axiom News how Axiom is remaking journalism by looking for stories that have the capacity to give the community life.… read more »

Government Is Not the Problem

Posted on November 6, 2012 in Posts

John and Peter reflect on how all the talk that government is the problem actually deflects our attention from the privatization that now runs our culture.… read more »

The Future Right Now

Posted on May 23, 2012 in Posts

Convening citizens to care for their community goes against a culture that worships individualism, self-interest and competition. Something new is required, and the future of leadership exists where people like Mike Butler are reconstructing the role of traditional systems.… read more »

Less Leadership and More in the Name of Sophia

Posted on May 17, 2012 in Posts

Suppose that instead of focusing on the functions and actions of leaders, we reconstruct our basic notion of leadership? Suppose we drew more on Sophia, the Old Testament model of wisdom and gifts of the feminine? The emerging form of leadership for the common good may be to have as little leadership as possible and to be more interested in the actions and role of ordinary people.… read more »

Community Abundance Is Its Gifts

Posted on April 26, 2012 in Posts

In sharing our gifts in associational life, we have the power to produce the future we envision. We are not consumers. We are not clients. We are citizens with the power to make powerful communities.… read more »

The Club Is Not the Club

Posted on April 19, 2012 in Posts

There's more to your local book club, dog club or poker club than books, dogs or cards. Peter reminds us of the power such associations can bring into neighborhood life. All we have to do is ask.… read more »

The Point Is the Place

Posted on March 23, 2012 in Posts

The more we know and care about the place where we are, the more likely we are to do the functions that neighborhoods are meant to do.… read more »

Fallibility: The Value of Imperfection

Posted on January 31, 2012 in Posts

The capacities of an abundant community are the core elements that need to be visible and manifest to create functional families and neighborhoods. One of the capacities of an abundant community is the ability to accept people’s fallibility.… read more »

More Health, Less Management, Please

Posted on December 2, 2011 in Posts

Industry solutions to a health care system that already suffers from over–management suggest we provide even more management. True health care reform will occur when we acknowledge that 85% of our health is in the hands of the individual and the community.… read more »

Comment: How Wall Street Occupied America by Bill Moyers

Posted on November 11, 2011 in Posts

The Gilded Age is back with a vengeance, Bill Moyers says in a post drawn from his November 21 article for The Nation.… read more »

The Fall of JoePa and a Return to Common Sense

Posted on November 11, 2011 in Posts

There are three ways for us to respond to the Joe Paterno story: blame the individual, blame the institution, or seek community. The costs of the competitive culture we have created are not only that we have let the winners get away with too much for too long; we also have marginalized the commons and devalued the benefits of cooperation in providing for our community's health, education, and well-being.… read more »

The Economy Is in Our Hands, We Just Don’t Know It

Posted on November 2, 2011 in Posts

Six things we can do to reclaim the economy and put it into our own hands.… read more »

Is There Too Much Parenting?

Posted on September 8, 2011 in Posts

Is "positive parenting" all that useful, or could it be more beneficial to back off our efforts to be such active managers of our children's future?… read more »

What in the Name of Reform

Posted on August 8, 2011 in Posts

Most of our current efforts at reform are at best efforts to make things a little better. Serious reform -- in education, health care, government or the economy -- requires shifts in the way neighbors and families relate to and engage with one another… read more »

Six Conversations That Matter: A Quick Review

Posted on July 5, 2011 in Posts

Six conversations designed to open the community to an alternative future… read more »

Like-mindedness, Technology and the Risk to Community

Posted on June 30, 2011 in Posts

Our technological quest for the like-minded and familiar keeps us from experiencing real community and caring for the common good.… read more »

Enterprising Economy

Posted on June 23, 2011 in Posts

A connected and competent community has a vision, culture and commitment that can uniquely assure our sense of well-being and happiness. This source of satisfaction is complete in and of itself — it is not dependent on systems or our next purchase.… read more »

5 Questions to Awaken Your Functional Family

Posted on June 9, 2011 in Posts

Taken to heart, these five questions build community, develop neighborhood competence and give us tools that cannot be purchased from professional service providers.… read more »

The Good Life? It’s Close to Home

Posted on June 8, 2011 in Posts

Rebuilding families and neighborhoods around the gifts each of us offers… read more »

Peter Block Review: Agenda for a New Economy

Posted on June 3, 2011 in Posts

David Korten's "Agenda for a New Economy" is a powerful antidote to the conventional wisdom that has us convinced that what ails us is good for us.… read more »

The Economics of Neighborliness

Posted on May 25, 2011 in Posts

"There is no wealth but life," said Victorian philosopher and artist John Ruskin, foreshadowing the growing movement to have economics concerned with abundance and serving the interests of local communities.… read more »

Faster Than a Speeding Byte

Posted on May 20, 2011 in Posts

The movie "The Social Network" strikes a chord in all of us who long to feel less powerless and more connected to human communities in the Digital Age… read more »

The Bin Laden Effect: In Praise of Our Government

Posted on May 2, 2011 in Posts

The death of Osama bin Laden inspires a moment of gratitude for those who serve the public.… read more »

Our Abundant Communities

Posted on April 25, 2011 in Posts

John, Peter and Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann explore themes of power and patriarchy; human fallibility and gifts; and accumulation and abundance in building and sustaining community in these uncut videos from their two days at Trinity University, San Antonio, for the 2011 Willson Lectures.… read more »

A Future for Journalism: The Story of What’s Working

Posted on April 11, 2011 in Posts

An encouraging sign that a "new" journalism can speak to the possibilities held by our urban centers.… read more »

The Latest Executive Tool: The Weed Whacking Golf Driver

Posted on March 28, 2011 in Posts

The private sector is good at certain things, and we need those systems for that. Let us just not be lulled into believing that democracy and care for the commons, including our neighbors and neighborhood, are safe in those same hands.… read more »

Biding My Time

Posted on March 14, 2011 in Posts

No time. This common argument against neighborhood building should not be taken at face value.… read more »

The Nervous American Empire or Raise Your Hands Over Your Head and Don’t Move

Posted on February 10, 2011 in Posts

America is more vulnerable since 9/11, and not for the reasons you might think.… read more »

A Real Community Learning Center

Posted on January 25, 2011 in Posts

With a little local help, schools could be the place for building neighborhood relationships and be center for children and neighbors to become more useful to each other.… read more »

Seeing Ahead

Posted on January 4, 2011 in Posts

Social invention pioneer Al Etmanski asked me this question recently: What would you like to see made visible in 2011?… read more »

Home Economics Redux

Posted on November 15, 2010 in Posts

We now use the term “dysfunctional family” for a reason. In the evolution of the consumer society, the family has lost much of its use or function.… read more »

The Wrong Conversation about Health Care

Posted on October 13, 2010 in Posts

The current health care debate is a conversation that is not going to make us any healthier. It is the wrong conversation.… read more »

If You're Not Fast You're Food

Posted on September 20, 2010 in Posts

Modernist beliefs have reached their limits. What we are seeking and discovering is a new identity for ourselves, one that replaces the assumptions of modernism with a worldview that values cooperation, abundance and measures of well being that have nothing to do with material wealth.… read more »

The Future of Community

Posted on August 30, 2010 in Posts

What is the relationship between electronic technology and community? Does the technology build community and relationships or become a substitute for them?… read more »

Kibble and Grist

Posted on August 14, 2010 in Posts

Thoughts from and to the community-minded… read more »

Art in Community

Posted on July 26, 2010 in Posts

The most businesslike, intellectual or problem solving gathering needs an open mind, an open heart and a trusting network of relationships to achieve its purpose. Participating in art does this. It engages us in our humanity and is essential to creating any alternative future we have in mind.… read more »

New Measures of Better Off

Posted on July 12, 2010 in Posts

Our children will be better off than we are, but not because they will make more money.… read more »

La Casa Chica

Posted on July 8, 2010 in Stories

Meet a person who is uncovering a local world of hidden treasures.… read more »

News to Us

Posted on July 1, 2010 in Posts

What’s news? Peter invites us to reconstruct our thinking about what is newsworthy. News that is worthy builds community.… read more »

The Power of Positive Deviance: Jerry Sternin, Monique Sternin, Richard Pascale

Posted on July 1, 2010 in Posts

The Power of Positive Deviance describes a way of thinking and acting that has relevance for anyone who cares about their community and its gifts and capacities.… read more »

Win, Lose or Draw

Posted on June 24, 2010 in Posts

A life of satisfaction starts with understanding how our love of competition feeds our dissatisfaction. We have romanticized competition as the natural state. We treat cooperation as the exception. Cooperation is not a denial of the toughness of the real world, it just reframes our effort. All we need to do is lose interest in competition and declare that cooperation is the natural state.… read more »

Al Etmanski

Posted on June 21, 2010 in Stories

Al Etmanski is one of North America's best social inventors.… read more »