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Charles Vogl: "The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging" | Talks at Google

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The Art of Community is the first book to distill principles from 3,000 years of spiritual traditions for leaders to create belonging in any organization, field or movement. It is written to support mission driven leadership. Strong communities help people support one another, share their passions, and achieve big goals. And such communities aren't just happy accidents—they can be purposefully cultivated, whether they're in a company, in a faith institution, or among friends and enthusiasts. Drawing on 3,000 years of history and his personal experience, Charles Vogl lays out seven time-tested principles for growing enduring, effective, and connected communities. He provides hands-on tools for creatively adapting these principles to any group—formal or informal, mission driven or social, physical or virtual. This book is a guide for leaders seeking to build a vibrant, living entity that will greatly enrich its members' lives. What others are saying: “The Art of Community is a powerful, practical, and modern articulation of, and advancement on, timeless wisdom. Emerging or veteran leaders who integrate these principles will build communities that are more resilient, passionate, and harmonious in the face of adversity and uncertainty. Flip to any page to find insight and inspiration.” —Alan Price, Founding Director, Global Leadership Initiative, Harvard Business School, and author of Ready To Lead? “A useful field guide to create durable and profound connections . . . An important undertaking, as isolation and loneliness are a root cause of the breakdowns all around us, including extreme violence.” —Peter Block, author of Community and Flawless Consulting “A brilliantly intentional, well-composed plan for engaging and developing communities.This book is both an inspiration and a field guide for those who wish to connect deeply and build the communities our world so desperately needs.” —Thomas A. Kolditz, PhD, Brigadier General, US Army (ret.), and Director, Ann and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders “This book is full of rich wisdom and simple tools to help make community real. Our mission statement includes the word ‘community,' but I never truly understood what it meant until reading this book. Too often we declare a community around affiliation without digging into the shared values and care for one another that make a real community.” —Jason Jay, PhD, Director, Sustainability Initiative, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Beyond the Choir “A deeply thoughtful and compelling book that shares many insights with clarity, accessible examples, and ideas for implementation. I learned a lot.” —Lawrence Levy, former CFO. Pixar Animation Studios; cofounder, Juniper Foundation; and author of To Pixar and Beyond “Charles Vogl's book is a lucid, ferociously intelligent, and readily accessible road map to building a more connected culture. Education about community and character has been subordinated in American education to myopic cognitive and commercial learning. The result everywhere around us is devastating, from unprecedented wealth disparities to rampant tribalism. This work points to a much-needed antidote.” —Marty Krasney, Executive Director, Dalai Lama Fellows
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Text Comments (7)
Matthew Hickey (2 years ago)
I know Charles. I served with him in the Peace Corps in Zamabia in the late 90's, though we did not live in the same province, we spent our training months together and saw one another at various times during our service. Charles is correct in his interpretation that he was not very well liked by his Peace-corps colleagues. However, I believe he is using the "alcohol" story to mask over the true reasons why so many volunteers disliked this guy; namely that he had a very condescending and frankly racist view of the Zambians he was there to help, and was extremely tone-deaf to anyones struggles but his own. Case in point; a friend of mine who also served with Charles relates a story of Charles asking him how he knows whether or not his wife (who is Zambian) is a prostitute. Who, in their right mind, would ask such a thing about a mans wife? Charles did not finish out his service. He quit before his service was finished because it was too hard. His village really disliked him, and his neighboring volunteers though he was a condescending prick. Funny how he continues to try and spin his failure as a Peace-Corps volunteer for his benefit. Those that served with him know better. I have stayed in touch with him until 2012, when Charles posted a comment about this article on social media; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/opinion/asians-too-smart-for-their-own-good.html?src=me&ref=general Charles made a number of comments decrying white privilege, such as this one; "I remember a man on a plane complaining to me that his daughter suffered white discrimination when applying to college. He knew this b/c ONE singe school rejected her of all her applications. I wonder if he knows how many Asian Kids are rejected to keep the white numbers up" or this one: "I'm thinking apathetic uninformed and poorly researched white commentary has a long tradition." I found these comments disturbing, because the NYT article was specifically about US universities trying to balance their racial makeup by not admitting folks of asian descent, even though that group in general produces far more qualified students. In order to do so, the universities admit less-qualified white (or other) students. I pointed out the similarities between this problem and that of students of other races on the wrong side of employment and academic affirmative action programs, and sympathized with how this can feel unfair (even if historically justified) to those on the wrong end of the policy. Charles took the opportunity of my participating in the conversation to make a bunch of very public assumptions about my character and opinions. He continued to insist that the NYT article did not mean what it very obviously did. When I copied text from the article that showed he was in error, instead of apologizing or making anything right, he instead deleted the post, with his later (private messaged) reasoning that it "embarrassed" him. My experience with Charles leads me to believe that he is a small man with a very large ego. A man with a very privileged upbringing (raised by wealth parents in Orange County, Ca), who obtained a "divinity" degree (from Yale!) in order to bolster his public image as a compassionate intellectual, but who's real-world actions and words bely his rottenness. Charles obviously has found a supporting social network within his new persona as a "divinity consultant" or whatever he is calling himself these days. I think this speaks volumes more about the power of religion to blind people to the truth than of any radical change to his worldview or personality. Don't be fooled folks.
KongLuvs (2 years ago)
My wife and I have been having small dinner parties for years, and we quickly realized that we had to limit invitations to other couples because single folks are BAD about flirting with other peoples' wives and husbands. It's still a problem even when limited to couples. We also had to place major restrictions on alcohol for the exact same reason. I sure am curious to know if this was ever a problem for Charles with his gatherings, and if so, how he dealt with it. I honestly can't imagine you can escape it, unless every person at your gatherings are so introverted that they're too shy to misbehave.
Joe Oviedo (2 years ago)
Are those american statics on loneliness for the current generation true? Really? Mmm :/
Hung Pham (4 months ago)
Through the 8 years I lived in the US, I came to conclusion that most Americans are dead inside. Only, they themselves don't think that way. Too much that cause unhealthy conditions, mental and whatnot. Just one example is how politics is so interwoven into American "life." Politics is inherently a divisive force and not good for community. Why so obsessed with it? And cell phones and social networks and too much free, unproductive time are recipe for addictive behaviors. Sure, it won't kill you as quickly as some drugs will, but it won't help. In those 8 years I also felt closer to and became more appreciative of my Vietnamese heritage, shared cultures, values. I belonged to a great community (or several communities within that) and I didn't know it.
Detective (2 years ago)
+Joe Oviedo I think it's partially a US issue more so than others - the "American Dream" has become a materialistic pursuit rather than a pursuit of freedom.  We are meant to be independent from government, dependent on friends and family, but many have taken "independence" to mean "selfishness".  I also think the younger generations are more prone to this behavior than older ones. 
Joe Oviedo (2 years ago)
But is it an american thing? a global thing? More people everyday have access to those technologies. I'm from Mexico, an actually it brings me closer to friends and family.. (skype, facetime, whatsapp) or is it a personality thing? Have I been more blessed with social skills? Or young people isolate themselves more than the previous generation? I'm 35
Detective (2 years ago)
I would believe it. Many have traded deep and intimate relationships with text messages and online facebook-style interactions...

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