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Donna Zajonc served three terms in the Oregon State House of Representatives where she experienced the world of  ”us against them”, and saw first hand the difficulties of bipartisanship governing.  During that time she also experienced what can happen if both sides make a priority of respect and willingness to work together for the greater good.

 

As a political leadership coach, and now an author, she asks the reader to take a deep look at their views of the state of democracy in our nation and what role the individual is willing to play.  Zajonc recommends political service in the manner of “Collaboration: Power With rather than Power Over.”

 

She has outlined the “Four Stages of Political Evolution: Anarchy (There is no hope.  Destroy the system), Traditionalism (Winning is our only hope), Resignation (Politics is hopeless.  We must create an oasis in personal life), and Politics of Hope (Where there is integrity, there is hope).”

 

The first half of the book is a lengthy preamble that finally leads the reader into  “Seven Practices for Becoming A Conscious Public Leader.”  If you are considering becoming politically active or running for any public office, this book might help you define your goals and expectations.  I found Zajonc’s views a bit utopian, but see how such political collaborative accountability makes a wonderful goal for our local, state, and national government. (Obviously this reviewer hasn’t reached Stage Four.)

 

~review by Denise Bell

Author: Donna Zajonc

Synergy Books, 2004

pp.205, $16.95

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