> Skip to content
  • Published: 24 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780807024065
  • Imprint: Beacon Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $47.99

We Need To Build

Field Notes for Diverse Democracy



From the former faith adviser to President Obama comes an inspirational guide for those who seek to promote positive social change and build a more diverse and just democracy

The goal of social change work is not a more ferocious revolution; it is a more beautiful social order. It is harder to organize a fair trial than it is to fire up a crowd, more challenging to build a good school than it is to tell others they are doing education all wrong. But every decent society requires fair trials and good schools, and that’s just the beginning of the list of institutions and structures that need to be efficiently created and effectively run in large-scale diverse democracy.

We Need to Build is a call to create those institutions and a guide for how to run them well.

In his youth, Eboo Patel was inspired by love-based activists like John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Badshah Khan, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Thich Nhat Hanh. Their example, and a timely challenge to build the change he wanted to see, led to a life engaged in the particulars of building, nourishing, and sustaining an institution that seeks to promote positive social change—Interfaith America. Now, drawing on his twenty years of experience, Patel tells the stories of what he’s learned and how, in the process, he came to construct as much as critique and collaborate more than oppose.

His challenge to us is clear: those of us committed to refounding America as a just and inclusive democracy need to defeat the things we don’t like by building the things we do.

  • Published: 24 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780807024065
  • Imprint: Beacon Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $47.99

Also by Eboo Patel

See all

Praise for We Need To Build

“Revelatory and profoundly timely! This is the essential handbook for every activist ready to move from resisting injustice to rebuilding a world of justice. A legendary builder and visionary teacher, Eboo Patel gives us the blueprint for how to build institutions that will birth the beloved community.” —Valarie Kaur, author of See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love “Eboo Patel is one of America’s most visionary civic leaders and one of our most vital bridge builders. We Need to Build is both a blueprint and a guidebook for an inclusive twenty-first-century democracy. Read this book!” —Van Jones, author of Beyond the Messy Truth

Related titles