Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Release Spotlight: Getting a Grip

Getting a Grip, by Frances Moore Lappé

Bestselling author Frances Moore Lappé has created another inspiring book that shows how powerful each of us really can be. Getting a Grip defines the biggest issue impairing societal advancement, explains its root, and motivates us to make a difference.

According to Lappé, Thin Democracy has set in, allowing citizens to believe that others—corporations and politicians, or “they”—have all the power and our actions don’t matter. In her words, Thin Democracy is the “unworkable mental map that cannot come to grips with local-to-global crises.” But Lappé is not content simply to define the problem. She’s out to make a difference, and she starts by explaining that the root of Thin Democracy is simple: culture. Our cultural beliefs lead us to internalize that there is a “lack of goods and goodness.” Lappé illustrates this in her Spiral of Powerlessness that leads to the “they” mentality.

Lappé’s first step in breaking this Spiral of Powerlessness is to create a new vision: Living Democracy. She shows how rhetoric can affect societal belief and redefines common words: free market becomes fair market, taxes become membership dues or the price of civilization, and power becomes the capacity to act. Suddenly, these concepts become empowering instead of limiting. And with this new vision, we can see the good that is already coping with local-to-global crises: a solar park in Spain that generates a surplus of electricity and the Education for Sustainable Living Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which grew from eight to three hundred students in just four years.

With all these world-changing stories at hand, we can still feel powerless, though, unable to give up our jobs to live for advocacy. So Lappé gives us entry points to Living Democracy, small actions we can take that make a difference and inspire others to do the same. They include empowering kids with the knowledge that what they do matters and “power shopping” to empower companies supporting sustainable living and fair market. That’s not such a far stretch. This builds a Spiral of Empowerment that gives each of us the capacity to act. Finally, Lappé provides a discussion and action guide to help us Get a Grip together.

Printed in the United States with soy ink on acid-free recycled paper, this book and its author live their mission: to inspire readers to incorporate Living Democracy into our daily lives.

Review by Ali McCart, Indigo Editing, LLC

Getting a Grip
Publisher: Small Planet Media
Release date: October 2007
ISBN: 978-0-9794142-4-4
Paperback, $14.95

Watch for Frances Moore Lapp
é in Portland in October! She will be speaking on October 26th and 27th at Portland State University's Alumni Weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Frances Moore Lappe11:31 AM

    Ali, you capture so thoughtfully the heart of what I’m trying to say. We’re hoping that through such personal reactions to Getting a Grip more and more people engage in this exhilarating, personal challenge of moving from despair to hope in action. At the end of my book is a short guide — mainly questions — for either personal reflection or for a group of folks to use to get a grip on the root causes of our crises so that they don’t have to feel they are grasping for straws.
    Onward! Frances Moore Lappé

    Find out more about Getting a Grip.