The Power of Disability

My new book The Power of Disability was published in February just before the pandemic hit. Momentum had started, reviews were positive, and book concerts featuring local artists with disability were lined up.

Covid put all that on hold. Book sales in general nose dived carrying The Power of Disability with it. 

The good news is that the book industry has recovered. Authors I admire like Christa Couture, Seth Klein and Harvey McKinnon have made a successful shift to virtual promotion.

And I’m joining them with a friendly reminder that The Power of Disability would make a great gift for family, friends or for the people in your classroom, board room, book group, virtual conference, training program, Queen’s Gambit club …

There’s been some nice magazine feedback about the book:

  • The folks at Porchlight books created a manifesto out of my book called  The Disability Advantage on Dec 3rd, The International Day of Disabled People.
  • Forbes magazine columnist Jonathan Kaufman suggested The Power of Disability is a must read for those wanted to end polarization in US politics.
  • Business Insider listed The Power of Disability as one of 12 books for managers to read if they want to build diverse and happy teams.

And nice reviews from readers:

Just finished your book – I’ve been reading it slowly – like an aperitif that you roll over in your mouth to let the experience sink in. PP

There’s so much love in each sentence. KR

The collection is so very impressive, and such a powerful rebuttal of the narrative of lives “not worth living”. An immensely important contribution. CF

Thank you for writing a book that is changing our son’s view of himself. Not even through the first chapter and already he is deeply connecting to the stories he is hearing. CI

When I understood that my son has what others called a disability, fun flew out the window as professionals talked to me in serious tones. Today, they can just give a copy of The Power of Disability to parents…. But whilst at it, give it also to politicians, policy analysts, decision makers, leaders and community. AJ

The Power of Disability is available wherever books are sold. Click here for all your choices.

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“I’ve written this book because I want to change the popular story about disability by correcting what history and media have overlooked and by giving credit where credit is due.” ~ Al

This book focuses on five powerful disability advantages.Power of Disability Book Cover

1. The Power of Majority

One in seven individuals worldwide has a disability. At 1.2 billion, that makes them the largest minority group on the planet. That’s the population of China and almost four times the population of North America. Another three in seven are their families, friends, and allies. In total, four in seven people in the world have a connection to disability. That’s a potent majority. Those kinds of numbers translate into an audience, a base, and a market that’s too large to ignore and just waiting to be mobilized, especially since it represents $8 trillion in annual disposable income. By comparison, the much-sought-after teen market is relatively small at $220 billion.

2. The Power of Inclusivity

The disability world intersects with every gender, race, ethnicity, color, creed, class, sexual orientation, income level, health condition, living arrangement, and age group. This predisposes people in the disability world to understand difference as a natural fact of life to be welcomed and celebrated, not curtailed or cured. This sensitivity enlarges and enlightens. It encourages us to focus on a person’s contributions rather than his or her condition, limitation, or identity.

3. The Power of Ingenuity

There is no group in history with more consistent experience at making their mark, despite the deck being stacked against them, than people with disabilities. People with disabilities wake up every day to a world not designed for them. They are constantly inventing themselves out of adverse circumstances. They are the original hackers. Many of the innovations we take for granted were solutions to challenges they faced that went on to benefit the wider population. The bicycle, the typewriter, and curb cuts are three examples. There is nothing like a dash of disability to increase your ingenuity and resilience, and to help you deal with the inevitable hiccups and setbacks that accompany everyone’s life.

4. The Power of Authenticity

Our culture is inexhaustible in its capacity to ignore our reliance on others. It promotes the myth of individualism, independence, invincibility. Problems are sanitized, simplified, and easily resolved if we just have the right attitude or if we find the right savior. More and more of us are rejecting that view of the world. We want hope that is qualified by authenticity, and we are looking for stories that we can relate to. The fact is that more and more people are struggling to get by or are worried about the future, and we expect to see that reality reflected in our leadership, media, stories, and social movements. The disability movement offers a refreshing alternative to the lone hero, usually a man, overcoming overwhelming odds. It reminds us that justice emerges from the bottom up, not the top down, and always in the company of so-called ordinary people who disrupt the status quo in big and small ways.

5. The Power of Unity

The ultimate power of disability is as a unifying force. We live in tumultuous times, with the world increasingly fractured and polarized. People want to know they are not alone, that they can be part of something bigger than themselves. The disability community has the power to bridge our divides and bring us together. After all, disability is the world’s most common condition. It encompasses diversity, exudes ingenuity and authenticity, and is in the majority! That’s an unrivalled combination and force for change.

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