Skip to Main Content
Campus Library Logo

Community Reads: Community Reads: Spring 2019 | Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

A guide to the Community Reads program at UWB/CC Campus Library

Get A Copy

We will have a limited number of free copies available to give to our Campus community members later in the quarter. Please visit the library to receive yours. Thank you to the UW Race and Equity Initiative for providing funding for these books.

Read an Excerpt

Additional Resources

Related Events

Further Reading

Community Reads Team Contacts: Spring 2019

Contact members of the team via email with questions, comments, or concerns:

Community Reads Emergent Strategy Zine


At the Community Reads Emergent Strategy event, participants engaged in discussion and activities that encouraged exploration of the Emergent Strategy Principles and the chapter Fractals: the relationship between small and large, along with other aspects of this rich, transformative text. The contents of the zine are products of the event. 

Event Details

Everyone is invited: 

UW Bothell and Cascadia College students, faculty, and staff are invited to a discussion of Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown. 

Date: Wednesday May 1, 2019

Time:  12:00 - 1:30pm

Place: Library Room, LB1 - 205

We highly recommend reading prior to the event:

Our goals for the Community Reads program are to:

  • Build community through a common intellectual experience.
  • Promote engagement with thoughtful, noteworthy works of literature or scholarship related to issues of equity and social justice across the UWB/CC campus and community.
  • Offer instructors an opportunity to invigorate curriculum with vital issues and community conversation.

At the Event:

Community Reads aims to inspire dialog about important issues facing our diverse campus communities. Join campus community members as we engage with hands-on activities and discuss themes from the book. 

About the Book

Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds. Cover design is a flock of birds behind the bold, multicolored text of the title.

In the tradition of Octavia Butler, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book teaches us to map, assess, and learn from the swirling structures around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a feminist and afro-futurist incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.

About the Author

adrienne maree brown is author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is a writer, social justice facilitator, pleasure activist, healer and doula living in Detroit. Read more about adrienne's life and work on her website.

"Principles of Emergent Strategy"

In the study and practice of emergent strategy, there are core principles that have emerged and that guide me in learning and using this idea and method in the world. I gather them here with the expectation that they will grow.

Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small.)¹

Change is constant. (Be like water.)¹

There is always enough time for the right work.

There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have.² Find it.

Never a failure, always a lesson.³

Trust the People. (If you trust the people, they become trustworthy.)⁴

Move at the speed of trust.⁵ Focus on critical connections more than critical mass--build the resilience by building the relationships.

Less prep, more presence.

What you pay attention to grows.


¹"You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip, and it can crash. Become like water my friend," Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (Warner Home Video, 2000).

²Idea articulated by Taj James in the cofacilitation of environmental justice resource redistribution initiative Building Equity and Alignment's inaugural meeting in 2013.

³Rihanna has this concept tattooed on her chest.

⁴This is an inversion of the quote "If you don't trust the people, they become untrustworthy," from Stephen Mitchell's translation, Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (New York: HarperCollins, 1988).

⁵This is communication strategist Mervyn Marcano's remix of Stephen Covey's "speed of trust" concept.

From Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown, pages 41-42. Copyright adrienne maree brown.

Watch Videos



The University of Washington and Cascadia College are committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable  accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. See below to inquire about disability accommodations:

  • UWB: Please contact Disability Resources for Students at 425.352.5307, TDD 425.352.5303, FAX 425.352.5114, or email
  • CASCADIA: Please contact Disability Support Services at (425) 352-8128, or