New Book: The Power of Collaborative Solutions

Posted by on March 29, 2010

[posted from Comm-Org]


I am so pleased to announce that The Power of Collaborative Solutions, my new book, is off the presses and available for you, and your communities, to enjoy. I’m delighted that John Wiley/Jossey-Bass has undertaken its publication. After more than four years of writing and editing, I am thrilled to be able to hold an actual copy in my hands. I wrote the book for all of us who are trying to make our communities—and our world—into better places.

The Power of Collaborative Solutions, the culmination of my thirty years of community involvement, can help you rediscover democracy where you live and work. Inside you will find six key principles for success in building health communities, along with easy-to-use, effective tools and inspiring stories of ways that people working together have turned their communities around, solving problems that seemed impossible to fix. This book, like the work it encourages, is based on a broad and deep vision of community. It shows how to bring unlikely partners into working agreement and how to get things done in spite of politics or cultural differences.

The book is written for grassroots leaders, community residents, professionals in the helping system, community problem-solvers, and anyone who designs systems for communities, as well as teachers and students. If you have a vision for how the world might work better, this book is for you.

In addition to the practical aspects of what I’ve written, you’ll find within the book an acknowledgment that there is a strong spiritual component to the work of community collaboration. I learned this on my journey–that spirituality, no matter how we individually define that, helps us create our visions and then make them real. Seeking collaborative solutions calls on us to engage communities with acceptance and appreciation, to work with various groups with deep compassion, and ultimately to understand our fundamental interdependence. When we pursue our spiritual purpose in this work, we come to understand that indeed people are more alike than we are different, and that we can do together things we cannot do apart.

If you’d like to take a look at a sample of the book, you can visit my website to check out the table of contents and an excerpt from Chapter 2, “Building Healthy Communities Through Collaborative Solutions: An Overview of the Six Principles” ( One of the exciting aspects of Jossey-Bass’s presentation of the book is that the community-building tools are available both in the print edition and on the web, so that readers can have working copies to use in their communities.

For ordering information, as well as the previews, visit

Jossey Bass/John Wiley will send an approval copy of the book if you would like to consider adopting it for use as a class text. To request an evaluation copy, please go to:


Here is what some others are saying about the book:

“Wow! . . . I literally couldn’t stop reading . . . not something one normally says about a book by a professional in any field!

“This is a truly transformative book and a ‘must read’ for anyone concerned with overcoming the limits of the possible through collaborative action. Tom Wolff crafts a path to change that is at once visionary and achievable. Interweaving poignant stories and hard facts, he reminds us of what’s at stake—and shows us the dramatic difference we can make by committing to bold new visions of collaboration and community.”
-Meredith Minkler, Professor of Health and Social Behavior, University of California, Berkeley

“If you want to bring about sustained positive change in your community, read this book. The stories will inspire you, and the lessons will shine a light on your leadership path.”
– Tyler Norris, Founding President, Community Initiatives

“So where do we start? Tom Wolff has a number of suggestions. He’d have us curb our inclination to blame the victim. . . . He’d have us focus on people’s (and communities’) strengths. . . . Start collaborating – widely, systematically. And moderate our proclivity to excessive professionalism that forgets the imperatives of common sense. In each area, he lays out a variety of intriguing—and promising—new approaches and solutions. . . .”
– From nationally syndicated columnist Neal Peirce’s foreword to The Power of Collaborative Solutions

“Why collaborate? Because that’s how to make change, now and in the future. Here you’ll find not just theory, but also the hard-won, down-to-earth detail on how to make collaboration work where you live
and act. If you are a practitioner or academic looking to energize and strengthen your collaborative skills, Tom Wolff’s The Power of Collaborative Solutions will pay dividends many times over.”
– Bill Berkowitz, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Lowell

“Tom’s passion for social justice is equaled only by his courage and commitment to progressive causes. Tom has a tremendous fount of knowledge and he knows just what to do with it and how to help others
use it.”
– Linda Bowen, Institute for Community Peace

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