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Summary

The founder of the international Transition Towns movement asks why true creative, positive thinking is in decline, asserts that it's more important now than ever, and suggests ways our communities can revive and reclaim it.

In these times of deep division and deeper despair, if there is a consensus about anything in the world, it is that the future is going to be awful. There is an epidemic of loneliness, an epidemic of anxiety, a mental health crisis of vast proportions, especially among young people. There’s a rise in extremist movements and governments. Catastrophic climate change. Biodiversity loss. Food insecurity. The fracturing of ecosystems and communities beyond, it seems, repair. The future - to say nothing of the present - looks grim. 

But as Transition movement cofounder Rob Hopkins tells us, there is plenty of evidence that things can change, and cultures can change, rapidly, dramatically, and unexpectedly - for the better. He has seen it happen around the world and in his own town of Totnes, England, where the community is becoming its own housing developer, energy company, enterprise incubator, and local food network - with cascading benefits to the community that extend far beyond the projects themselves. 

We do have the capability to effect dramatic change, Hopkins argues, but we’re failing because we’ve largely allowed our most critical tool to languish: human imagination. As defined by social reformer John Dewey, imagination is the ability to look at things as if they could be otherwise. The ability, that is, to ask What if? And if there was ever a time when we needed that ability, it is now.

From What Is to What If is a call to action to reclaim and unleash our collective imagination, told through the stories of individuals and communities around the world who are doing it now, as we speak, and witnessing often rapid and dramatic change for the better.

©2019 Rob Hopkins (P)2019 Chelsea Green Publishing

Critic reviews

“Rob Hopkins has long been a leader in imagining how we could remake our societies for the benefit of nature and humankind. His new book is a powerful call to imagine a better world. It should be widely read and appreciated.” (Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; lead negotiator, Paris Climate Agreement)

What listeners say about From What Is to What If

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What if everyone read this book...?

One of the most inspiring and important books I’ve read in a long time. A book I want to leave on park benches and buses, to give to every local school, politician, business and organisation. The hopeful, positive story we all really, really need right now. I am filled with possibilities, and endless what if questions. Thank you, Rob Hopkins for lighting my spark again.

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Everyone should read this book! WHAT IF they did?

Rob Hopkins lands us right in tgereality of our social dilemma. Yet an abundant buoyancy of hope is provided by his careful researched examples and stories of positive projects from around the world. I feel inspired and fired, and ready to dream.

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Thought provoking.

An inspiring picture of how our future could be improved if we applied some imagination.

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Should be read by all.

Buy this, you won’t regret it. If nothing else, it will reassure you that it’s not all bad out there. My hope has certainly been preened. Rob Hopkins has caught the stirrings of a brighter world and, in this book, he gives us a great deal to play with.

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An awe-inspiring book

This book is truly inspiring and uplifting, listening to this makes me questioning the impossible and the Why? is replace with What if? It transformed my way of thinking and seeing things. Every thing is possible with imagination and an open mind that accepts. Constantly working towards that vision. A beautifully narrated and well written book that can change you for the better. Highly recommend this book to everyone.

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Wow - inspiring!

Wow - inspiring! One to listen to again and again. So nice to hear some positive ideas for the future rather than distopia.

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Touching vision

amazing summary what we humans can do when we unleash creativity and imagine a better place.

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Great read to practice imagination

Examples of imaginative practices from different perspectives around the globe. He kind of let the power of imagination be evoked giving its value the importance it deserves

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Deeply inspiring hopefully and actionable

The most deeply inspiring hopefully and actionable book I have ever read - a vision for a better future by creating our many visions for it and fostering our imaginations

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realistically optimistic

this book gives an inspiring view on the future, a must read for all.

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  • Elan Sun Star
  • 17-03-20

Incredible insights and review! Brilliant!!

I delighted when I began listening to this book. Even though I keep up with some of the quoted sources and resources MikeEven though I keep up with some of the quoted sources and resources like sir Kenneth Robinson I was very delighted when I realized the book was long enough to be more enriched than I had even imagined The insights and examples in this audiobook are invaluable for reinventing and envisioning and then creating (co creating) a new more sustainable society and civilization... The distionctions listed between creativity and innovation and the need for both was made clear in many colorful ways. Please write and narrate more of these..I follow hundred and hundreds of new audiobooks every few months and this is at the top. it gave me some new directions that inspired and reignited my own passion to really sue these tools and examples to reform the bonds of community and sustainable yet practical community .. Bravo!!