Emergent Strategy

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Book description

In the tradition of Octavia Butler, radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help to shape the futures we want.

Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked Emergent Strategy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Emergent Strategy draws lessons from both the natural world and science fiction (inspired by Octavia Butler’s work) to provide guidance and wisdom for organizing and movement work.

adrienne maree brown offers a smorgasbord of principles, concepts, quotes, and stories to support organizers and leaders to solve complex problems, instigate social change, and create lasting impact. This book is a great source of inspiration for managers and leaders feeling stuck in the face of great uncertainty.

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds is a field guide to some of the more confusing and difficult elements of trying to heal ourselves and the world. It’s beautiful and inviting.

maree brown argues we have to reinvent how we work together and support each other in the process of change making. We can’t rush at unprecedentedly huge problems with the same old behaviours that got us here in the first place. 

Emergent Strategy draws on maree brown’s extensive experience in movement spaces to tease out lessons and practices, like the need to “move at the speed of trust.” Throughout…

A mind-bending exploration of how strategy develops in the context of social change, Emergent Strategy bridges the insights of complex systems science with the spirit and ethical frameworks of radical social movements.

Deeply rooted in the social justice tradition, brown offers an expansive way of thinking about how change happens--in society and in ourselves. 

From Jacob's list on social change strategy.

This book illustrates how to build transformational change and how change is not linear.

In fact, change is the process of trying things, pushing boundaries, and radically dreaming. It provides a framework to help people who are interested in creating a more racially just society and the world.

This book brings together the language and conceptual tools that are important for creating the world that we imagine.

This is an indispensable handbook for guiding change management, something everyone, but especially those doing philanthropic work, should be skilled in. Change is the only constant, and understanding how to guide that process intentionally, whether for yourself, your family, or your community, better equips you to map and influence sustainable actions. I have been deeply influenced by adrienne maree brown’s approach to the intersection of community building and self-care, and from her writing I was introduced to the work of Grace Lee Boggs and Octavia Butler, both feminist visionary guides of transformation and activism.

From Kristen's list on changing the way you change the world.

So this might be my left field recommendation, and it's important; I begin the list with the individual - wellbeing. I end it with this groundbreaking text that helps me to feel connected to something bigger than me in my classroom with Sandra breaking Otis' pen - again...

Education is a social issue

Education is political

Education is powerful - and because of all of that, I need guidance with the daily battles I have (many in my own head) about behaviour, education, and the role I'm here to play within it. Emergent Strategy gives me guidance for this- it…

Reading Emergent Strategy was a transformative experience for me. It changed the way I think about my purpose on this planet, my role as a teacher, what was ailing my students, and what is needed in this historical moment. Some key insights that I’ve implemented in myriad ways, personally and professionally, are “small is all, small is good”, “critical connection is more important than critical mass”, and “what you pay attention to grows.” The book helped me bring the existential insights of social movements to my work with the climate generation as an environmental studies educator. Brown asks the driving…

From Sarah's list on keeping cool on a warming planet.

Change on the personal and societal level is hard, relentless, and can feel demoralizing. Brown’s work is grounded outside of the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and prioritizes self-care, community, joy, and curiosity while taking inspiration from the natural world and its rhythms and long arcs toward revolution. You may not have thought you needed a strategy book rooted in the science fiction writing of Octavia Butler, but fortunately, life can provide positive surprises, not just negative ones. I expect I’ll return to portions of this book again and again when I need to fill my cup.

From Megan's list on when life throws you a curveball.

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