Document Type

Reviews and Responses


You have probably heard someone start a comedy routine or conversation with “I’ve got good news and bad news—first, the good news.” This is a popular opening gambit since life can be good and bad almost simultaneously, or because we know that if we approach something from one side in the sunlight, there is likely to be another side in the shadows.

In Writing to Change the World, Mary Pipher starts with the bad news. The world is a mess. She describes how U.S. politics and corporations have contributed to the abysmal state of the world and that “our world needs leaders yet people everywhere feel helpless and lack direction” (p.3). However, Pipher does not simply place blame. She has learned from her own experience and that of others that people and situations can change, sometimes in very small ways but often on a grand scale. The good news, she tells us, is that writing, all kinds of it and by people from every walk of life, can contribute to social change. The idea of “writing to change the world” might be considered anywhere from self-evident to grandiose, but this book nonetheless succeeds in large part in fulfilling its purpose. It is written in a compelling style, is full of examples of good “change writing,” and is written from two of the author’s strengths, those of experienced psychotherapist and published author.

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Journal Title






First Page


Last Page



©2007 Joyce Milambiling



File Format




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.