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Publisher's Summary

An invitation to community and models for connection

After almost every presentation activist and writer Mia Birdsong gives to executives, think tanks, and policy makers, one of those leaders quietly confesses how much they long for the profound community she describes. They have family, friends, and colleagues, yet they still feel like they're standing alone. They're "winning" at the American Dream, but they're lonely, disconnected, and unsatisfied.

It seems counterintuitive that living the "good life" - the well-paying job, the nuclear family, the upward mobility - can make us feel isolated and unhappy. But in a divided America, where only a quarter of us know our neighbors and everyone is either a winner or a loser, we've forgotten the key element that helped us make progress in the first place: community. 

In this provocative, groundbreaking work, Mia Birdsong shows that what separates us isn't only the ever-present injustices built around race, class, gender, values, and beliefs, but also our denial of our interdependence and need for belonging. In response to the fear and discomfort we feel, we've built walls, and instead of leaning on each other, we find ourselves leaning on concrete.

Through research, interviews, and stories of lived experience, How We Show Up returns us to our inherent connectedness where we find strength, safety, and support in vulnerability and generosity, in asking for help, and in being accountable. Showing up - literally and figuratively - points us toward the promise of our collective vitality and leads us to the liberated well-being we all want.

©2020 Mia Birdsong (P)2020 Hachette Go

Critic Reviews

"Mia Birdsong's deeply personal book calls forth a deeply public truth: that we're all better off when we're all better off. Her search for the meaning of community and belonging will inspire Americans from many walks to show up in a new way." (Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University and author of Become America)

"This book is a blueprint to being vulnerable enough to love harder, dig deeper and be unafraid to redefine and expand our relationships. A beautiful and helpful piece of work. " (Tiq Milan, writer and LGBTQ advocate)

"This is a the book we've all been waiting for about the 'craft'--and that's what Mia Birdsong so insightfully names it--of creating community. She's a master craftswoman herself--gathering stories of such intentionality, honesty, and reliability that you will immediately start living your life more radically and reaping the rewards." (Courtney E. Martin, author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream

"Mia Birdsong is one of our most important thinkers and strategists for how we build structures to support the families that we actually have and the kinds of families we would build if we weren't all so obsessed with respectability. This book gives us both the vision and the blueprint for how to do this in ways that feel sustainable, and quite frankly otherworldly. I left this book feeling something I haven't felt in a long time...hopeful." (Brittney Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower)

What listeners say about How We Show Up

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book

I struggled to get through this book. I've you get past the blatant racism, the bashing of Cis/ males/ white/ religion and just about everything else, there are actually some good lessons to be learned. I agree with much of the community policing ideas.. but even she and the experts she talked to agreed that it is an uphill battle. it really is sad that a book about showing up and being for everyone talks unapologetically negatively about anyone or anything that does not agree with her standards. I feel sorry that the author is obviously letting her past traumas cause negativity and obvious prejudice. what about mixed race people? are we to put down half of ourselves all the time? sure does state at the beginning that she has radical views.. she obviously had never lived anywhere but large cities and doesn't understand that rural people, of all colors, rely upon each other and have that community she speaks of. maybe someday she will get past her own hurt and prejudice and practice love and write a more inclusive book.

9 people found this helpful

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A Must read & SHARE

I have read this book 5 times! I wanted to ensure that I soaked up all Ms Birdsong communicated how we ALL should come together to create, build and nourish our communities.

Love love love this and will be getting several hard copies to distribute to my villages!

Thank you Mia!

6 people found this helpful

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The most healing book I have yet come upon.

This book is a roadmap, it is revolutionary, it is simple and it is complex. It felt like sitting in the warm embrace of an elder who tells you the stories of struggle, community and hope. If you're feeling the deep despair of life in modern crapitalsm full of its hypocrazy (thanks Tiny!), this book is for you. I came away feeling full and fed.

6 people found this helpful

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Informative, motivating, and uplifting.

The narrative and stories and seamlessly woven together in a way that achieves all the things I’m looking for in a good book. I’m learning, I’m inspired to look at parts of my life and how I operate in the world, and I’m motivated to do better and make changes. The book is well-organized and brilliantly narrated by the author. Definitely one of the best books of the year!

6 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get past the first chapter.

The author comes off as passively hateful and judgemental right out of the gate, and doesn't make any early efforts to substantiate or defend her views about white people, cis males, or western economic systems.

Frankly, I've never read a book which started with this much thinly veiled bitterness, non-constructive jabs, and antagonistic phrasing, which later turned out to be worth reading. So, I'm cutting my losses here. It has a serious Red Pill vibe, dressed up in a millennial leftist costume.

And I say that as someone whose Audible library is mostly touchy-feely books about trauma, eastern religion, self-love, and other deeply important things that are, apparently, not well understood by my "aggressive, elitist" demographic. To the author, if you're reading this, please consider trying to practice the inclusiveness you preach.

5 people found this helpful

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Timely & Important

I really enjoyed this audiobook! I love when authors read their own book because they really bring it to life. The information is enlightening and empowering and there are so many actionable things to implement that are presented in the book. I’ll be getting the hard copy to reference some of the info that I came across.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent From Start to Finish

How We Show Up is an empowering and hopeful vision of the world we can create in community with each other. Mia Birdsong's concrete examples of how others are doing so now are an inspirational blueprint for us all.

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An uninvited neighbor's friend dominates the convo

This book had a great intro and some great points throughout, but it was flooded with autobiographical stories that were just unnecessary to develop as much as they were.

The book was already pretty short but could have been a 15 minute TED Talk without loss of fidelity to the core message.

The chapter on transformative justice and community safety was great.

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Breaking the barriers that connect us

Thank you for such a caring and thoughtfully built book. Feel clearer, interconnected, and empowered.

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Yes, just yes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book so much that I had a group of my friends purchase so that we can all read it together. I can’t wait to read again with them.

1 person found this helpful