Dear A.C.E. Colleagues and Friends,
The A.C.E. Book of the Year for 2012 is True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor, noted sociologist. By way of background, I started the A.C.E. Book of the Year in 2011 after being inspired by the same practice on university campuses, designed to help a broad community engage together in substantive reflection on important issues and matters of relevance to those institutions and their communities. In the same way, A.C.E. is broad in diversity of people, views and geographical distribution, but we share a set of core values and a mission of “making the world your community.” Yet it’s one thing to tacitly or passively agree that we have something in common, and another to engage further with one another and grow together through intellectual exploration and practical experience of community. As an organization that purports to empower others and build capacity globally, it is, in my opinion, a good idea to test ourselves and grow internally so we can better fulfill our mission.
To this end, I selected Brain Rules last year as our first book in order to take a look at what the latest science teaches us about how the mind works, the fundamental cornerstone of all things educational. This year, I have been drawn to True Wealth, not because it is my own philosophy or paradigm, but because it challenges the norm, raises many important questions, addresses the shared social angst of our era resulting from the economic and environmental crises of our day, and offers alternative approaches which may resonate with a great many of those working in and volunteering with A.C.E. In particular, Dr. Shor’s contention that fewer work hours and more time with family and community may make society healthier parallels with what in fact most A.C.E. employees and volunteers already do – following a creative mix of work, avocation, family, play, and community activity. Also, being a primarily NW-based organization, Schor’s ecological economics addresses widespread perspectives found in our own societal context.
I look forward to many stimulating conversation with you in the year ahead as you read True Wealth and we engage in reflection together.