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Personal Village: How to Have People in Your Life by Choice, Not Chance [Paperback]

Marvin Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2003
Your most valuable asset is the people in your life. Does this sound familiar? You are so busy you don't have time for your friends. You get sick and no one shows up to help or express concern. You want someone in your life who really cares and knows who you are. You experience quick encounters as exciting, but at the end of the day you are still lonely.

From your family to members of your congregation, to the people who deliver your mail or serve your coffee each morning, every person you know, every person you see is a part of your Personal Village. With this insightful, funny and approachable book as your guide, you can master the skills of getting closer with the people around you, of having people in your life "by choice, not by chance."

"Too much is written about how to make money …too little is written about how to strengthen our personal communities," according to respected relationship therapist, Marv Thomas. To combat the many dehumanizing effects of 21st century life, he has created the everyman’s guide to enriching our lives by establishing deeper connections with the people around us. In this groundbreaking book, PERSONAL VILLAGE, HOW TO HAVE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE BY CHOICEE, NOT CHANCE, Thomas explains how to add real value to your life by forming deeper, more meaningful relationships with the people in your life that matter most.


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I am a man on a mission. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Solutions for a Fragmented Society July 17 2004
Format:Paperback
"To achieve intimacy with another, we have to begin by listening." ~Marvin Thomas
Marvin Thomas has written a fascinating book on friendship in the modern world. He is a Seattle author who earned his Master's in Social Work at the University of Washington. Through his life he has experienced the beauty of friendship and observed patterns that feed our genetically encoded desires to find relationships. He has also seen the damage of isolation and explains how we can use the "Principal of Seven" to fill our world with friends.
While we continue to be enamored with technology, we have become more and more isolated and yet the desire for friendship is still a force that drives us to seek companionship in our environments. While Marvin Thomas agrees that computers amplify the mind, he believes we cannot thrive when isolated. He also explains:
The basic universal needs
The essential ingredients of a healthy community
Why relationships need to be tended to on a regular basis
How you can find friends with similar interests
What to ask someone new when you first meet
How to keep a friendship for life
Most of us seem to keep connected with friends and family through e-mails. Marvin explores this idea and explains how e-mail can be like a journal that talks back to you. While e-mail may encourage deeper contemplation because you have time to consider what you want to say, Marvin Thomas encourages real-life relationships where you can nourish your soul through face-to-face intimate relationships.
Throughout "Personal Village" I had quite a few good laughs and many moments of enlightenment. The reading resources and movie suggestions looked tantalizing. Each chapter ends with a summary and a resource section.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reinforcing and celebrating lasting friendships Jan. 17 2004
Format:Paperback
Personal Village: How To Have People In Your Life By Choice, Not Chance by expert relationship therapist Marvin Thomas is a do-it-yourself style "self-help" guide to resisting the dehumanizing and impersonal forces of the 21st century while establishing closer bonds with the people around us. Personal Village is especially recommended for offering a wealth of accessible, practical advice concerning avoiding destructive individuals; reinforcing and celebrating lasting friendships; and keeping our circle of friends diversified so that when change and loss occur we are not left alone.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Village -- Helpful book Dec 18 2003
Format:Paperback
Personal Village is a terrific guide for anyone who has relocated, divorced, changed jobs, left a community of any kind and is now trying to reestablish themselves. I retired a few years ago and have found the ideas here to be what I was looking for.
Personal Village is a marvelous resource for anyone looking for help in gathering friends. The book is well organized, the ideas worthwhile. Chapter layout is clear, good summary and the list of materials is helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solutions for a Fragmented Society July 17 2004
By Rebecca of Amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"To achieve intimacy with another, we have to begin by listening." ~Marvin Thomas

Marvin Thomas has written a fascinating book on friendship in the modern world. He is a Seattle author who earned his Master's in Social Work at the University of Washington. Through his life he has experienced the beauty of friendship and observed patterns that feed our genetically encoded desires to find relationships. He has also seen the damage of isolation and explains how we can use the "Principal of Seven" to fill our world with friends.

While we continue to be enamored with technology, we have become more and more isolated and yet the desire for friendship is still a force that drives us to seek companionship in our environments. While Marvin Thomas agrees that computers amplify the mind, he believes we cannot thrive when isolated. He also explains:

The basic universal needs
The essential ingredients of a healthy community
Why relationships need to be tended to on a regular basis
How you can find friends with similar interests
What to ask someone new when you first meet
How to keep a friendship for life

Most of us seem to keep connected with friends and family through e-mails. Marvin explores this idea and explains how e-mail can be like a journal that talks back to you. While e-mail may encourage deeper contemplation because you have time to consider what you want to say, Marvin Thomas encourages real-life relationships where you can nourish your soul through face-to-face intimate relationships.

Throughout "Personal Village" I had quite a few good laughs and many moments of enlightenment. The reading resources and movie suggestions looked tantalizing. Each chapter ends with a summary and a resource section. I loved the mention of the "Mostly Martha" movie, one of my all-time favorite chef movies.

Since I have just moved to a new community, this book was a comfort to me in a time when I felt everything was new and I didn't know a soul. After reading this book, I found myself venturing out more into my community and unlike other times in the past, I actually ventured out early and with a sense of determination. The girls at Pier 1 were discussing Josh Groban (so we talked about the concert I reviewed), the lady at the post office gave me directions on how to get back home and everyone seemed most helpful. I met a neighbor after going out for a walk and the community I'm living in seems to be much more geared towards common areas where people can meet or walk.

The advice in this book works and will encourage you to participate more fully in your community. I learned so much about basic human interaction that I'd never considered before. Marvin Thomas has filled "Personal Village" with a lifetime of wisdom and a collection of interesting and inspirational ideas to enable you to live a fuller, more enjoyable life no matter where you live. After reading his book, you may even want to start a cozy coterie or salon. My heart is dreaming of a Mystic Beach mentioned in this book. Our hearts want to find a place where we are loved, needed and appreciated.

~The Rebecca Review
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Village -- Helpful book Dec 18 2003
By john12812003@yahoo.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Personal Village is a terrific guide for anyone who has relocated, divorced, changed jobs, left a community of any kind and is now trying to reestablish themselves. I retired a few years ago and have found the ideas here to be what I was looking for.
Personal Village is a marvelous resource for anyone looking for help in gathering friends. The book is well organized, the ideas worthwhile. Chapter layout is clear, good summary and the list of materials is helpful.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Skinny on Schmoozing Dec 30 2006
By Just An Ordinary Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most books about networking, dating, and making friends start at the point of contact: They assume that the user knows where to go to make friends. Thomas starts with the basics, from roaming your neighborhood to meet folks to the handy rule of thumb that it takes 7 visits to a new group for others to feel that you're one of the crowd.

I teach interpersonal communication, and this book has the best pointers I've yet read on how and how much to personally disclose to a new acquaintance, as one tests the waters and works toward building stronger ties and friendship.

Thomas avoids jargon and writes fluently in a down-to-earth, easy to read style. The book is well-organized. The chapter summaries and resources are a plus. Marvin Thomas has performed a much-needed service in offering this book to as a how-to manual for meeting and making friends in our fragmented society.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reinforcing and celebrating lasting friendships Jan. 17 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Personal Village: How To Have People In Your Life By Choice, Not Chance by expert relationship therapist Marvin Thomas is a do-it-yourself style "self-help" guide to resisting the dehumanizing and impersonal forces of the 21st century while establishing closer bonds with the people around us. Personal Village is especially recommended for offering a wealth of accessible, practical advice concerning avoiding destructive individuals; reinforcing and celebrating lasting friendships; and keeping our circle of friends diversified so that when change and loss occur we are not left alone.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Village June 7 2008
By C. Boyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is so amazing. I have never written a review of a book. However, this is one that anyone that might be in the midst of "reinventing" their life as I am should read. I will soon be relocating to a new state and city and at the age of 59 that can be a little overwhelming. I am really looking forward to this new start and more than ever since reading this book and using the workbook. I have plans to start a study group after I am settled.
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