We need community. It is in our DNA. Community shapes our identity and quenches our thirst for belonging. Community has the capacity to improve our physical, mental, and economic health, as well as our overall sense of happiness and fulfillment. It can unite us all in a common bond as we work together for a better world.
But in the chaos of modern life, traditional community ties have become unraveled. Paul Born argues that as a result, many of us have opted for shallow community: keeping mostly to ourselves, only occasionally seeing our friends and relatives. Or, desperate for some sense of common purpose, we choose a community united by fear of those unlike us. Neither of these offers any real psychological or spiritual satisfaction. Instead, we need to deepen our experience of community, actively seeking opportunities to cultivate connections with those we care about and those who care about us and reaching out to those around us whom we haven’t yet met.
In this thoughtful and moving book, Born describes the four pillars of deep community: sharing our stories, taking the time to enjoy one another, taking care of one another, and working together for a better world. To show the role each of these plays and the many forms each can take, he shares his own stories—of growing up among a people exiled by war and of working as a longtime community activist—as well as the stories and insights offered by some of the 500 people he interviewed for the book.
Community immeasurably enriches our lives, but it’s up to us to create it. Will we react to the instability of our times by defining ourselves selfishly or out of fear? Or will we enthusiastically form enduring connections with others and build a life of joy? Paul Born shows that the opportunity is right in front of us if we have the courage and conviction to pursue it.