Reviews from the 2nd Edition

An Invaluable Guide to Change Methods

By Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and coauthor of A Simpler Way

An invaluable guide to the most promising change work being done in organizations today. The Change Handbook is a genuine gift to all those seeking to create workplaces that truly welcome people's commitment and creativity.

A Doable Path for Organizational Change

By Peter Block, author of Stewardship and The Empowered Manager

The Change Handbook is about great ideas written from the experience of great people. If organization and community change is what you care about, and hope is what you long for, this book offers a doable path to both.

Change Processes with Proven Results

By Tom White, senior vice president of market operations, GTE Corporation 

Lots of change management books tell you how things work in theory. This one also shows how the culture change process at GTE and other companies work in practice. It's a good resource for any leader looking for both ideas and proven results.

Great Reference to Systems Change

By P. Nagy,  January 10, 2007

The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems by Tom Devane, Steven Cady, and Peggy Holman (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) is the most comprehensive guide available to methods of organization and community change. It's designed for quick and easy access to information about high leverage change from today's foremost practitioners. This new edition is updated to describe more than 43 additional change methods and includes new chapters on selecting a method, mixing and matching methods, and responsibilities of the people involved, conditions for success, and more. This tremendously expanded second edition--400 pages longer, nearly twice the length of the first edition--will undoubtedly become the definitive resource in this rapidly expanding area. 

This book offers practical insights and how to affect systems in positive ways to make them do the things we wish them to do and to mitigate the harm caused by some systems. Anyone who is interested in social change and personal change at any level will find the practical suggestions for intervention in this book to be positively enlightening. 

In 1999, the first edition of The Change Handbook provided a snapshot of a nascent field that broke barriers by engaging "whole systems" of people from organizations and communities in creating their own future. In the last seven years, the field has exploded. In this completely revised and updated second edition, lead authors Peggy Holman, Tom Devane, and Steven Cady profile sixty-one change methods--up from eighteen in the first edition. Nineteen of these methods are explored in depth, with case studies, answers to frequently asked questions, and details on the roles and responsibilities of the people involved, conditions for success, and more. This tremendously expanded second edition--400 pages longer, nearly twice the length of the first edition--will undoubtedly become the definitive resource in this rapidly expanding area. 

Simply put I can not find enough superlatives for the utility of this volume when it comes to explaining the practical steps necessary in systems change. The book is so comprehensive that many of the chapters could actually be books themselves. What is useful here is that one finds the boiled down essential information in one place. By offering potpourri of possible strategies group facilitators and therapists do not become overly committed to only a few strategies, but can find new ways to do old things better and with less effort and ways to evaluate old efforts that may have been well-intentioned but the intervention was misdirected. The book is a wonderful reference to the important evolving field of systems analysis and change. You overlook this volume at your peril. 

For Change Practitioners Doing Whole Systems Change

By Holger Nauheimer, February 22, 2007

We have been waiting for that book for a long time. Peggy Holman's Change Handbook is now available in its second edition. Since its first edition in 1999, it has increased in volume and in significance. Holman and her co-authors describe 61 collaborative methods that can be applied for working with large groups in private corporations, the public sector and for the development of democratic institutions. The book provides more than a thesaurus and an encyclopedia of change - it contains probably more than 90% of the current world knowledge on whole systems change applications. Beside the well-known methods and frameworks such as Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, etc. there are a lot of new methods that I have never heard of. Unfortunately, there is no article on Worldwork and the Process Oriented Psychology Framework. Next Edition, please? 

The Change Handbook is very well organized, methods are categorized and there are good hints for when to apply the different methodologies. It is a must for Change Practitioners. If you are keen on The Standard Reference, you need to buy The Change Handbook. 

Utterly Phenomenal: *The* Book for Living Life to the Fullest

By Robert D. Steele,  January 27, 2007

I could spend the rest of my life trying to learn, use, and share each of the methods in this book, and never finish. When it was first published in 1999, it was before its time. Now, in 2006, this is a book made for our times, when Burning Man is now Green Man, Al Gore is a rock star, and even the greediest Wall Street CEO is starting to realize the party is over and we have to get real, real fast. 

I have been an admirer of Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) and a champion of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), and have gradually learned about other "opens" that are coming to the fore: Open Spectrum, Open Access, Open Culture, Open Innovation, and of course George Soros' Open Society. From this book I now add Open Circle, to complement the Open Space concept I learned recently in Seattle's Town Hall while listening to Paul Hawken talk about the World Index for Social and Environmental Responsibility. 

I have to confess that this book is over-whelming, and I can barely scratch the surface. This is more of a book where you should read one author, one segment, each night, and fall asleep thinking about how to implement that one small section, how to embrace someone else and engage them with that one method. 

Having three teen-agers, all three of whom have completely rejected the prison/child care format and the rote learning objectives of the current school system (even as good as it is in Fairfax County) I will go so far as to say that this book, combined with serious games/games for change, is a complete one-to-one substitute for our current educational process. 

Everything in here is what we *should* have learned in school, what we *should* be practicing in fulfilling our civic duty (what we *actually* do is described in "The Cheating Culture," "Confessional of an Economic Hit-Man," and "Rogue Nation"). 

I am moving quickly and heavily into the intersection of Collective Intelligence (see my reviews of "The Tao of Democracy," "Smart Mobs," "Wisdom of the Crowds," or my longer list; and Natural Capitalism with its "true cost" meme. See my reviews of Paul Hawken et al, "Ecology of Commerce" and "Natural Capitalism," of the varied books by Herman Daly, and soon, my reviews of "The Great Turning," the "Omnivore's Dilemma," and others. For a broader sense of the possibilities, check out "Earth Intelligence Network" online. 

I still have the 1970's operating manual for spaceship earth someplace in my lower library. This book is the manual for spaceship earth for our children and those of us recommitting ourselves to the joy of learning and changing in our later years. It's not over until *we* decide its over. 

See these other books that have also inspired me and given me hope: 

  • The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All 
  • Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People 
  • How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition 
  • A Power Governments Cannot Suppress 
  • Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world 
  • One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization 
  • All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents) 
  • The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen 
  • Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It 
  • The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy 

My lists are also a fast path to collections covering the ten threats, twelve policies, eight challengers, and various other aspects of saving humanity and the Earth from ourselves.

Makes Change Possible

By Markee A. Foster, September 25, 2008

Advice...get this book if you ever think you will need to deal with serious change. Complex or simple in nature. Business or social. Large or small groups. The books includes great case studies, and examples. It's written in a way that allows you to even customize where needed (if needed).  A must have reference for those wanting to deal with change and come out on the other end better.

Over 60 Types of Change Interventions

By Doug DeVore,  September 6, 2007

A good support text for the change agent, consultant or practitioner. Over 60 different types of interventions with clear description for when and how to implement.