Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change. Adam Kahane. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change Book Cover Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change
Adam Kahane
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
January 4, 2010

The two methods most frequently employed to solve our toughest social problems – either relying on violence and aggression or submitting to endless negotiation and compromise – are fundamentally flawed. This is because the seemingly contradictory drives behind these approaches – power, the desire to achieve one’s purpose, and love, the urge to unite with others – are actually complementary. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.” But how do you combine them?

For the last twenty years Adam Kahane of Reos Partners and the University of Oxford has worked around the world on many tough and vital challenges: food security, health care, economic development, judicial reform, peacemaking, climate change. In this extraordinary book he draws on this experience to delve deeply into the dual natures of both power and love, exploring their subtle and intricate interplay. With disarming honesty Kahane relates how, through trial and error, he has learned to balance them and offers practical guidance for how others can learn that balances well.

Adam Kahane is a partner in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, office of Reos Partners. He is also an associate fellow of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School.

Adam is a leading organizer, designer, and facilitator of processes through which business, government, and civil society leaders work together to address their toughest, most complex challenges. He has worked in this way in more than fifty countries, in every part of the world, with executives and politicians, generals and guerrillas, civil servants and trade unionists, community activists and United Nations officials, clergy and artists.

During the early 1990s, Adam was head of Social, Political, Economic and Technological Scenarios for Royal Dutch Shell in London. Previously he held strategy and research positions with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (San Francisco), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), the Institute for Energy Economics, (Tokyo), and the Universities of British Columbia, California, Toronto, and the Western Cape.

In 1991 and 1992, Adam facilitated the Mont Fleur Scenario Project, in which a diverse group of South African leaders worked together to contribute to their country’s transition to democracy. Since then he is led many such seminal cross-sectoral dialogue-and-action processes, around the world. He was featured in Fast Company‘s first annual “Who’s Fast,” and he is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Business Leaders’ Dialogue, the Commission on Globalization, Global Business Network, the Global Leadership Network, the Society for Organizational Learning, and the World Academy of Art and Science.

Adam has a B.Sc. in Physics (First Class Honors) from McGill University (Montréal), an M.A. in Energy and Resource Economics from the University of California (Berkeley), and an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science from Bastyr University (Seattle). He has also studied negotiation at Harvard Law School and cello performance at Institut Marguerite-Bourgeoys.

Adam and his wife Dorothy lived with her family in Cape Town and Montréal.