Power and Love

A Theory and Practice of Social Change

A book about the work of Reos Partners, written by Adam Kahane

Why do some groups of people manage to solve complex problems, while others stumble or fall? 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 and his colleagues have worked around the world on many tough and vital challenges: food security, health care, economic development, judicial reform, peace making, climate change. In this extraordinary book he draws on this experience to delve deeply in the dual natures of both power and love, exploring their subtle and intricate interplay. With disarming honesty Adam relates how, through trial and error, he has learned to balance them, and offers practical guidance for how others can learn that balance as well.

Order your copy from Amazon, Berrett-Koehler, or other booksellers.


About the Author

Adam is a leading organizer, designer and facilitator of processes through which business, government, and civil society leaders can work together to address such challenges. He has worked 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. 

He is a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2022 he was named a Schwab Foundation Social Innovation Thought Leader of the Year at the World Economic Forum in Davos.