Some days a little encouragement that you might be doing something that matters…well, matters. What a pleasure, then to discover that Brian Dowling of Pathways to New Community Paradigms had written such an insightful review of The Local Economy Revolution. You can read the entire review here — and Brian’s deep dive, systemic analyses are worth acquainting yourself with, if you haven’t done so before. But here’s a taste of what Brian had to say:
Della takes the ideas contained in the book beyond its covers in particularly meaningful ways. What I mean by this is that she connects with a recent history that we all share, she understands the effect it has on communities and the people living in them, not only on institutions and related professionals. She does so in a personal, accessible fashion that can connect with everyday “citizens aiming to make their communities more robust” at the same time “condensing complex ideas while not oversimplifying”, as was observed recently by Wayne Senville, editor of PlannersWeb. …
It is one thing to show that you understand the problems facing people, it is another to show that you understand the people themselves. It is one thing to demonstrate you understand how to achieve economic success, it is another to demonstrate that you know the effect of failure. Della has lived up close, personally and professionally through the changes we created for ourselves over the last few decades which have brought us to our current fork in the road and has learned those lessons deeply enough that she can speak truth to the imposed challenges that must be faced.
Della’s writing style strikes me as being conversational in tone making her critiques more like advice from a neighbor. She demonstrates that she understands what individuals from different sectors of economic development, politicians, public sector management, professionals, specialists, advocates and constituents are going through trying to cope with the complex, often termed wicked issues, we are all facing regardless of what side of the table we are sitting on. She doesn’t take a pundit’s perspective on issues making a laundry list of mistakes made by others but instead considers them as missteps made in common and that must be addressed collectively. I never got a hint of blaming anyone more than anyone else, more of we all need to get up and across the same chasm….
Most such attempts in creating a new future start on the far side of the chasm providing some vision of a shiny city on a hill, too often with no real means of crossing the span and, more often than not, no real grounded connection with this side of the chasm. This is where Della excels by taking what could be multiple complex concepts and making them not only more comprehensive, understandable and approachable but also initially, potentially addressable. It will get more complex and difficult but Della provides a good foothold to begin the ascent.
What I was trying to achieve with this book was a lot of things, but some of the words that I would have used were personal, compassionate, encouraging, and, although I probably wouldn’t have been clever enough to put it this way, a “foothold to begin the ascent.” I’m grateful to know that I might have met that goal.