Friday, February 24, 2023

Book Review: The Practice of Belonging

The Practice of Belonging: Six Lessons from Vibrant Communities to Combat Loneliness, Foster Diversity, and Cultivate Caring Relationships
Paperback - April 4, 2023
by Lisa Kentgen PhD

Community values and practices are always a hot topic but with the pandemic, more people than ever are talking about how we connect, where our communities work and where they don't. Finding solutions for issues is a challenge, and so I was curious to read this book.

Lisa Kentgen is a psychologist with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology who works in academia and in clinical settings. It's a wonderful combination because this book marries solid research to practical application and provides lovely insight.

This is one of the best books I've read recently. The chapter on how caring transforms on a personal and community basis alone is worth a seminar.

I loved the personal anecdotes and the reflections on dealing with differences. The first gave me a vivid impression of communities I don't know personally. The second are food for self-improvement. Also, as The Practice of Belonging covers a variety of approaches and attitudes, it is a lovely multicultural read. That was simply a joy!

As I read it, I found myself wondering how it would work in my community, in Malaysia, and at home, in the UK. For example, the chapter on hospitality talks about connecting but it's a topic that is also deeply connected to architecture, gender roles, and food security. So will need to read that again to get the most out of it.

What I liked: The simple language, broad approach plus discreet references. The combination makes for an easy read but if you want to chase down original sources, you can.

What I wasn't fond of: nothing. This was an excellent book.

Definitely five stars. Highly recommended.