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[(Science, Order and Creativity)] [Author: David Bohm] published on (October, 2010)
[(Science, Order and Creativity)] [Author: David Bohm] published on (October, 2010)
by David Bohm
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing book!, 26 July 2016
One of the main purposes of the book is to "draw attention to the key importance of liberating creativity" (p. 271). The book has really deepened my understanding and appreciation of creativity, order, and science. Bohm and Peat view "misinformation" as "pollution" (p. 249). I'd say this book contains very little misinformation. Usually, I mark sections as very interesting, worth noting, and don't agree while reading. I noticed that my don't agrees often turned into oh, now I understand.

Up-to-date
The book was first published in 1987. I am impressed by how up-to-date the book feels. Bohm and Peat write for example that "current work in biology hardly takes the quantum theory into account" (p. 198). Yet, they say that "it may turn out that in certain macromolecular processes … quantum correlations may indeed be relevant" (p. 198). This is exactly what has happened almost thirty years later. Quantum mechanics explains nowadays the efficiency of the photosynthesis. Life isn't possible without quantum coherence.

The causal interpretation
David Bohm worked on "the causal interpretation" of the quantum theory "over a period of several decades, beginning in the early 1950s" (p. 79). The work with this theory "ultimately lead to some … new perceptions about the nature of physical reality" (p. 80). The causal interpretation suggests that "nature may be far more subtle and strange than … previously thought" (p. 86). There is, for example, a "vast range of scale" between the distance now measurable in physics and the "shortest distance in which current notions of space-time probably have meaning" (p. 86). This range is "roughly equal to that which exists between our own size and that of the elementary particles" (p. 86). This means that there is "a vast range of scale in which … yet undiscovered structure" can be contained (p. 86). The causal interpretation introduces profound and radically new notions of order.

Notions of order
Bohm and Peat explores the meanings and implications of order. Rather than attempting to "make a definition or exhaustive analysis" they instead try to "deepen and extend the reader's understanding" (p. 98). And, indeed, that is exactly what they do! There are four chapters covering "What Is Order?" (pp. 97--147), "The Generative Order and the Implicate Order" (pp. 148--188), "Generative Order in Science, Society, and Consciousness" (pp. 189--228), and "The Order Between and Beyond" (pp. 275--314). This means that they spend half of the book (170 pages) on discussing order.

Bohm and Peat propose that "order pervades all aspects of life and that it may be comprehended as similar differences and different similarities" (p. 146). Orders in general are seen to lie in a spectrum between "simple orders of low degree and chaotic orders of infinite degree of which randomness is a limiting case" (p. 146). Structure is treated as an "inherently dynamic notion" (p. 146). Bohm and Peat introduce the notion of "generative order" (pp. 154--162), followed by the "implicate or enfolded order" (pp. 168--177) and the "superimplicate order" (pp. 177--181).

The generative order is relevant to creativity, perception and understanding nature. And the superimplicate order organizes the implicate order. This opens the way for "an indefinite extension into even higher implicate orders, which organize the lower ones, while capable of being affected by them" (pp. 187--188). The implicate order is a very rich and subtle generative order. All this may sound abstract but the implications are significant!

Bohm and Peat propose that consciousness is "a generative and implicate order" and that this is how "mind and matter" are related (p. 188). Bohm and Peat bring science, nature, society, and consciousness together in an overall common generative order. And they explore ways in which "order influences perception, communication, and action" (p. 275). Bohm and Peat propose that conflicts in societies can be "traced to contradictions and entanglements deep within unexamined notions of order" (p. 275). For this reason, they ask if it's possible to move beyond fixed positions to an order that lies both "between and beyond" (p. 275).

Creativity and consciousness
Creativity act not only through "free play of thought" but also through "free movement of awareness and attention" (p. 227). These make it possible for "creative intelligence" to unfold toward manifestation through the "stream" of "the generative order" (p. 227). Bohm and Peat investigate the nature of this creativity and what impedes its operation. The essence of the creative act is "a state of high energy making possible a fresh perception, generally through the mind" (p. 270). And creativity can be blocked by the "rigidly fixed tacit infrastructure of consciousness" which blocks the "free play" (p. 271)

The generative and implicate orders are particularly significant here. These make it possible to understand "the unfoldment of creativity from ever subtle levels" (p. 271). Thus, if there are "rigid ideas and assumptions in the tacit infrastructure of consciousness" the net result is not only "a restriction on creativity" but also "a positive presence of energy that is directed toward general destructiveness" (p. 271). A clearing up of "misinformation" is therefore needed if "this energy is to be freed from its rigid and destructive pattern" (p. 271).

Science and order
Within science there have been periods of enormous activity combined with occasions when progress have been blocked. Instead of viewing science simply in terms of theories and ideas, Bohm Bohm & Peat suggest that "what is of most significance is … the prevailing scientific order and its transformation" (p. 276). This is because a change in order also involves a major perceptual shift. The "order of science, and indeed of society itself," is a "nesting and entwining of several different orders," some static and others dynamic (p. 277).

Order and society
Orders are lived and experienced. When orders change rapidly they can produce "confusions and contradictions … within the functioning of society" (p. 278). These "enfolded and entangled orders inform the way we perceive, communicate, and act, both individually and as a society in general" (p. 281). When an order is held by the whole society it is "so deeply ingrained that it is never questioned" (p. 281). Examining and changing orders must therefore take place at many levels at once "including, but also going beyond, verbal reflection" (p. 282). This is profound.

Liberating creativity
The problems we face arise from a "complex web of entangled conflicts, confusions, and misinformation in the order of our world" (p. 306). What is needed is considerable creative energy. This creative energy can be liberated when rigid and tacit assumptions are loosened. Bohm and Peat propose that "free dialogue" and "free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation" (p. 240).

Dialogue can be considered as "a free flow of meaning" (p. 241). Something can happen in dialogue that is "analogous to the dissolution of barriers … in the generative order" (p. 244). In dialogue, "rigid but largely tacit cultural assumptions, can be brought out and examined by all" (p. 244). This is not a "prescription" but "an invitation to the reader to … investigate and explore in the spirit of free play of ideas" (p. 240). I invite you to read the book!


Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century (Life Sciences)
Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century (Life Sciences)
by Howard Bloom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2.0 out of 5 stars What if we aren't the neurons of the Global Brain but its cancer cells?, 2 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well-written book, but the problem I have with it is that there are too many 'mechanical' or 'computerized' analogies in the book - and I think that these analogies lead the thinking (and understanding) in the wrong direction. The Global Brain, or Mass Mind, is NOT a Computer. And I don't think that "swarms of nanocomputerized bacteria", used as "exploratory engines", are a "giant leap for all mankind" (p.223). They might actually become a mega-nightmare! Maybe we aren't the "neurons of this planet's interspecies mind" (p.223), but its cancer cells? It depends on whether we can overcome the hubris of our engineering minds.


Sky Above, Earth Below: Spiritual Practice in Nature
Sky Above, Earth Below: Spiritual Practice in Nature
by John P. Milton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Release energy and vitality by cultivating relaxation and presence, 31 Dec. 2015
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Principles
John Milton wrote this book in the hope that the practices and principles he shares will “greatly enrich your life” (p.229). Over the years he has identified the following principles for natural liberation (pp.8—15):

- The fundamental truth: All forms are interconnected, constantly change, and continuously arise from and return to primordial Source.
- Commit yourself completely to liberation in this lifetime
- Relax and surrender to life.
- Remain in now.
- Cultivate union with universal energy
- Go with the universal flow.
- Rest in the radiance of your open heart.
- Active compassion arises naturally out of unconditional love.
- Cut through to clarity.
- Return to Source.
- Pure Source awareness is—remain in recognition.
- Serve as a warrior of the open heart and liberated spirit.
- Don’t take all these twelve principles too seriously.

From these twelve principles John Milton has essentialized six core principles (p.16):

- Relaxation
- Presence
- Cultivating universal energy
- Opening the heart of unconditional love
- Cutting through to clarity, luminosity, and spaciousness
- Returning to Source

Each one of these six core principles are introduced in the book. John Milton emphasizes that: “The key is to bring each of these principles into creative interaction with the challenges of everyday life” (p.14). Each principle has a variety of practices to help support the realization of its essence. And every practice “serves to cultivate the truth of each principle within” (p.6). Over time, our “old habitual patterns of fear and automatic contraction to life” will be replaced with “new, helpful habits of meeting life with openness and letting go” (p.9).

Relaxation
The union of (1) relaxation and (2) presence, combined with (3) the cultivation of universal energy, is the key to opening greater vitality. The main thing is this: “With whatever time you have available, go into Nature and start cultivating relaxation there” (p.30). It’s also important to remember that “you cannot force relaxation” (p.46). “The attempt to force relaxation just creates more contraction” (p.46). And contractions “usually arise from strong emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, and worry” (p.49).

Presence
“The cure for much worry and anxiety is the cultivation of presence” (p.57). The main secret for transforming blocked emotions is to “breathe deeply and gently into them while applying … relaxation and presence” (p.43). The practice to start move emotional blockage is “to simply stay clearly present with the feeling it, while at the same time relaxing into its core” (p.43). If the mind wanders, “gently bring it back to the intention of relaxing all the constricted, tight, or stiff blockages” (p.46). Becoming “pristinely present while in a state of deep relaxation, totally surrendered to the moment, is the heart of spiritual practice in Nature” (p.52).

Nature
By immersing ourselves in Nature – “Nature that has not been heavily disturbed and damaged” – we begin to tap into “the primal natural harmony” that is our “genetic inheritance” (p.37). Our “whole bodies, our energy, our diverse emotions, and our mind” have all coevolved with Nature (p.28). “All … ecosystems, and the beings within them, have coevolved in a way that has produced extraordinary symbiosis, balance, integration, and harmony” (p.36). “Integration is characteristic of virtually everything in Nature” (p.37). This is why “Nature is a very powerful healer” (p.28). Nature provides a “natural vitality and harmony” that is “not accessible in our urban centers” (p.37).
One of John Milton’s favorite things to do is to “go into a forest, to a mountain, or by a river or wild coast and spend an hour or two each day” (p.55). John Milton says that: “All of Nature supports your being in the present moment. You do not even have to meditate. You can simply enjoy Nature” (p.55). The key is to find a place that inspires you – “a place that gives you a sense of harmony, peace, and tranquility” (p.74). And then, with practice, you can bring this “present-centered awareness back into your ordinary life, and you will find that the flow of your normal day will gradually become transformed” (pp.57—58).

Conclusions
John Milton has convinced me that natural vitality and energy are released when relaxation and presence are cultivated. The challenge is to gently bring this awareness and relaxation back into the flow of the normal daily life. It’s all about practice, and there are many practices in the book. In a way, it can feel a bit overwhelming, but it’s also important to remember that “every journey begins with a first step” (p.91). What’s so nice is that “just regularly being in Nature brings joy and happiness” (p.229). It’s a great book, and I'm now taking the first steps on my own journey!


First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively
First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively
by Emma Kidd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide towards living and working more attentively!, 21 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively is Emma Kidd’s first book. Emma Kidd “left the fashion industry to investigate alternative ways of thinking about and doing business” (p. 11). What she didn’t expect was that her explorations would take her right back to the very foundation for her previous work as designer – the “way of seeing” (p. 11). The book has two parts: Developing a Dynamic Way of Seeing, and Giving Life Our Full Attention, and is designed to take the reader on a journey “that encourages us to fully notice life by paying acute attention to the ways in which we see, think and act, every day” (p. 14).

A Dynamic Way of Seeing (and Being)
The book also serves as an introduction and guide to Henri Bortoft’s work. Henri Bortoft called the switch of attention from ‘what we see’, to ‘the way in which we are seeing’ a “dynamic way of seeing” (p. 32). A dynamic way of seeing involves “noticing our experience of life as we are experiencing it, rather than analyzing it” (p. 15). It “enables us to transform the way in which we relate to ourselves, to other people, to our work and to life in general” (p. 16), and “ask[s] us to become more gentle, vulnerable, open and intimate in our encounters with the world” (p. 17). Fundamentally, it is “a way of being in, and relating to, life” (p. 109). Living attentively “allows life to thrive, both inside and outside of us” (p. 109).

Focused Sensory Experience
Developing a dynamic way of seeing involves “pausing any internal dialogue that is occurring in our mind and opening our awareness to notice the way in which our senses can perceive the world” (p. 40). By shifting our attention “from our thoughts and towards our senses we can move beyond our habits of perception and begin to rediscover our own experience of life” (p. 41). When we “become aware of the way in which our thoughts divert our attention away from our experience of the world, we can make an effort to redirect our attention and attempt to more fully experience life” (p. 47). Although our “thoughts are an intrinsic … part of our experience, they are often part of a secondary ‘meaning-making’ process that attempts to re-present the life that our sensory experience first presences” (p. 47). The “awareness that exists prior to our thoughts”, in the form of words, “has a clarity and freshness to it that brings our experience of the world directly to the forefront of our perception” (p. 47). “Lived experience is our capacity to experience life, as it is being lived, in the present moment” (p. 51). Henri Bortoft believed that “perception can only truly begin when we slow down” (p. 51). Our minds often work incredibly fast, jumping “from one thought to the next” (p. 51). By slowing down, “changing the way we see, and the way in which we notice the world around us, we are literally changing the way we use our mind” (p. 60). This makes it possible “to experience a new richness, depth, and diversity in the life around us” (p. 63).

Sensorial imagination
We can also “use our imagination as a mirror to reflect on our experience and to bring it to life again in our mind” (p. 63). When we “use our imagination to re-member (put back together) a particular experience, as exactly as possible, in all its sensory and felt detail,” we can review the experience “without the distractions of personal opinions, analysis, preconceive ideas or definitions” (p. 64). Since we are all different, “there are no fixed instructions for the exercise of exact sensorial imagination” (p. 65). “We just need to pay full attention to our sensory experience of life and then try to accurately bring that experience back to life in our imagination” (p. 65). When we let “our intellectual analysis dominate our investigations, our living experience of the world tends to be overlooked” (p. 73). “This leaves us blind to the life of the world around us” (p. 73).

Intuitive Perception
The action of “fully focusing on our experience, rather than our thoughts, has the effect of … connecting us directly to the world” (p. 82). We can then “release the specific focus of our attention and open our awareness, so that we remain present to our experience yet not fixated on it” (p. 82). This “frees up our intuition to sense life in its own unique way” (p. 82). Intuition is also “called non-inferential perception” (p. 81). With “focused sensory perception” we narrow our gaze, whereas with “intuitive perception” we loose gaze and open our attention (p. 84). Putting “intuitive perception” into practice is not as straightforward as the “ways by which we can put our thoughts and senses into immediate action” (p. 84). Again, there are no fixed instructions “that will guarantee successful results” (p. 85). “All we can do is try to create conditions within ourselves for intuitive understanding to emerge” (p. 85). The validity of our intuition can be strengthened by “most crucially coming to know ourselves, ever further and deeper” (p. 86).

Authentic vs. Counterfeit Wholes
Wholeness is “intrinsically embedded in all parts of nature” and “expresses itself through the parts that make up whole forms” (p. 87). Henri Bortoft distinguished between ‘authentic’ and ‘counterfeit’ wholes. An ‘authentic’ whole ”reflects the type of wholes that nature creates, where the whole is always present in the parts” (p. 90). This type of whole “cannot be reduced by simply removing ‘parts’ of it” (p. 90). The authentic whole “is created by an ongoing, interactive ‘dialogue’ between the parts and the whole(s) of which they are a part” (p. 92). “An authentic whole is … a coherent integrity which becomes expressed through the parts that make up its form” (p. 92). The parts rely on “the coherent integrity of the whole to guide their development, but they are not slaves to the whole” (p. 92). The parts are “a place for ‘presencing’ of the whole” (p. 92). “In an authentic whole there is an intrinsic relationship between the parts and the whole but neither the part nor the whole is dominant; they are not separate entities and cannot be separated” (p. 93). A ‘counterfeit’ whole, on the other hand, is “a kind of ‘super part’ which domiciliates the parts that it creates by sitting over and above them, assuming significance, supremacy, and superiority” (pp. 91—92). This type of whole consists of “a collection of separate parts that have been assembled … in order to create the ‘whole’” (p. 92). Counterfeit wholes “operates as separate entities” (p. 92). They have “just been put together” (p. 92). “Our ability … to distinguish between authentic and counterfeit wholes … can help us to recognize what is genuine, and most satisfying, in our everyday lives” (p. 93). “In nature, in order for a whole to thrive, its parts must thrive also” (p. 95). “The same goes for societies, neither the part nor the whole can dominate, they need to authentically work together” (p. 95).

Living inquiry
Paying full attention “to noticing what brings us alive and intentionally expressing that vitality draws out the same potential in others also” (p. 124). If we want “to create livelier … societies we each need to find our own ways to come more alive and to be more fully human” (p. 124). “Paying attention to experiencing ourselves and presencing our own life … enables us to become more present, vulnerable and authentic” (p. 125). This creates “new space for life to flourish and flow within us” (p. 125). “A living inquiry is a dynamic way of seeing in action” (p. 130).

A Dynamic Way of Seeing (and Being) At Work
Emma Kidd cites several authors and researchers in the book to “demonstrate a form of living inquiry that allows the part of life being studied to become its own theory and to show itself, on its own terms” (p. 130). The case studies are very interesting and “illustrate the way in which systemic change can begin with an individual” (p. 143). “By using living knowledge to put the needs of life itself at the very centre of professional practice,” each case study shows “ways in which life can, and does, thrive” (p. 143). The projects and people in the book provide examples “of a truly revolutionary way of working” (p. 143), but to truly change the way of being at work is difficult. Emma Kidd has “come across many businesses and individuals all over the world who are really trying to make a difference but many only manage it in a partial way” (p. 168). They might, for example, “still end up controlling their employees rather than finding ways that allow them to genuinely thrive” (p. 168). Emma Kidd noticed, on reflection, “that these contrasting ways of working form two very different approaches to life and to business – one in which life generally suffers and in the other life quite obviously thrives” (p. 170). The case studies in the book display “a radical form of honesty and openness” (p. 174). They provide “a kind of … open-source project design and development, offering … a starting point from which to provide the best possible conditions for life to thrive in our own communities, schools, offices and businesses” (p. 174). The projects are very important “examples of the way in which parts of life can thrive when whole systems intentionally give their parts the freedom to do so” (p. 174).

From Surviving to Thriving
“At the root of everything we create is the mind that created it, including the organisations in which we work and the societies in which we live” (p. 176). A dynamic way of seeing “shines a light on the conditions within which life is most likely to flourish and therefore makes it possible for us to replicate these conditions” (p. 176). This is why a dynamic way of seeing and being is so important!

I highly recommend the book! It’s a great guide towards living and working more attentively, so that we can create conditions for life to thrive. The book is an important signpost in my own search for life-giving ways of working.


Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy
Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy
by Brian J. Robertson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable and informative book!, 4 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Brian Robertson’s book is about Holacracy®, which is a governance system and a registered trademark owned by HolacracyOne. The word Holacracy is very easy to confuse with holocracy (with an o), which means universal democracy. Robertson’s aim with the system is to ”harness the tremendous sensing power of the human consciousness available to our organizations” (p. 7). This harnessing is done by ”a set of core rules” (p. 12). The Holacracy constitution acts as ”the core rule book for the organization” (p. 21). Robertson hopes that his readers will approach the book ”not as a set of ideas, principles, or philosophies, but as a guide to a new practice” (pp. 13–14).

Brian Robertson’s book is very readable and informative. I share Robertson’s view on the problems associated with ”predict and control” (p. 7) and his interest in finding ”better ways to work together” (p. 12), but I can also see problems with heavily rule based approaches. I think there’s a fundamental difference between following rules and honoring agreements. Rules are externally-focused, while agreements are internal because they are directly linked to will. Agreements, not rules, are the glue that ties commitment to results.

Brian Robertson focuses on practices in his book, while my interest primarily is on principles. This doesn’t mean that I think practices are unimportant. I share, however, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s view that ”The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” To paraphrase Emerson, the man who focus on rules and processes, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble. I also think that processes need to grow, or evolve, from their specific context. Each situation is unique in some way, small or large.

For Brian Robertson, it’s very important to ”prevent others from claiming power over you” (p. 21). This is done by establishing a ”core authority structure” and ”a system that empowers everyone” (p. 21). The power is in the ”process, which is defined in detail” (p. 21). For me, ”harnessing true self-organization and agility throughout an enterprise” (p. 20) is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Harnessing self-organization might actually kill it. I suspect people might decide to withdraw their engagement if they realize that they are harnessed for the benefit of the organization only.

Brian Robertson defines a ”circle”, not as a group of people, but as a ”group of roles” (p. 48). The ”basic circle structure” consists of nested circles (p. 47). Robertson calls the hierarchy of ”nested circles” a ”holarchy” (p. 46). Arthur Koestler defines a ”holon” as ”a whole that is a part of a larger whole” and a ”holarchy” as ”the connection between holons” (p. 38). I’d challenge that a hierarchy of nested circles really is a holarchy. A person certainly is a holon, but I doubt that a role, in itself, is a holon. What inherent ”wholeness” does a role have if people are needed to ”energize” the role and ”enact” its accountabilities (p. 43)? Having said that, I do think that a group of people can become and act as a holon under certain circumstances. Maybe Bohmian Dialogue, the U-process, and Open Space Technology are examples when such circumstances can occur?

The nested circles in the basic circle structure are ”linked via two special roles”, the Lead and Rep Links (p. 49). The idea behind this interlinking of circles comes from the Sociocratic Circle Organization Method (Sociocracy), which was invented by Gerard Endenburg in the 1970s. Brian Robertson tried to patent the idea (Pub. No. US2009/006113 A1, Fig. 4), but subsequently abandoned the patent application. Other ideas in the patent application similar to Sociocracy are the decision-making (Fig. 6), governance meeting (Fig. 8), and role election (Fig. 9) processes. A significant difference between Sociocracy and Holacracy is that all roles are elected in Sociocracy, while only the Rep Link, Facilitator, and Secretary are elected roles in Holacracy (p. 57). Holacracy is also more prescriptive. The responsibility of people in a Holacracy is to act as role fillers. This is a ”sacred duty” and ”an act of love and service, not for your own sake, but nonetheless of your own free will” (p. 85). Holacracy ”empowers you to use your own best judgment to energize your role and do your work” (p. 97). I cannot help but wonder why people can’t empower themselves? Why do you need the permission of a system to use your own best judgment in your work?

In addition to the ”basic responsibility as role fillers”, people also have specific duties in ”offering transparency”, ”processing requests”, and ”accepting certain rules of prioritization” (p. 92). Transparency and effectiveness are important in Sociocracy too. However, equivalence doesn’t seem to be as important in Holacracy as in Sociocracy. In Holacracy, ”the process is all that matters, and the process will take care of everything else” (p. 111). The rules in Holacracy ”create a sacred space that frees each of us to act as sensors for the organization, without drama getting in the way” (p. 110). ”As long as the process is honored, you really don’t care how anyone feels — at least not in your role as facilitator.” (p. 110) I ask myself, aren’t feelings important if people are going to be able to act as sensors? The answer Brian Robertson gives is that ”it’s about processing tensions for the sake of our roles, which ultimately serve the organization’s purpose” (p. 113). ”This keeps the organization from being overly influenced by individual feelings and opinions that are not relevant to the work …” (p. 116). He assures that ”No one’s voice is silenced, yet egos aren’t allowed to dominate.” (p. 117) Well, really? Yes, says Robertson. Holacracy seeks to ”process every tension and be truly integrative; it’s also a recipe for [not] letting ego, fear, or groupthink hinder the organization’s purpose” (p. 125). ”Playing politics loses its utility …” (p. 126). I think that the politics of identifying issues and building support that is strong enough to result in action will always be there. It’s great if the politics can be channeled through Holacracy. If not, it will go underground.

One of Brian Robertson’s ”favorite metaphors” used to illustrate the ”dynamic steering” and ”constant weaving” is riding a bicycle (p. 129). Interestingly, this is the same metaphor which Gerard Endenburg uses to illustrate the circle process in Sociocracy. (References: G. Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making, pp. 16–18; and G. Endenburg, Sociocracy: As Social Design, pp. 67–71). Robertson explains that ”Dynamic steering means constant adjustment in light of real feedback, which makes for a more organic and emergent path.” (p. 129) Dynamic steering done well ”enables the organization and those within it to stay present and act decisively on whatever arises day to day …” (p. 130). The focus is on ”quickly reaching a workable decision and then let reality inform the next step” (p. 131). As in Sociocracy, ”any decision can be revisited at any time” (p. 131). I think the dynamic steering is a major strength of both Holacracy and Sociocracy.

Holacracy defines the organization as ”an entity that exists beyond the people, with its own purpose to enact and with work to do beyond just serving the people doing that work” (p. 148). This is also why Holacracy isn’t a governance process ”of the people, by the people, for the people”, but ”of the organization, through the people, for the purpose” (p. 34). Holacracy differentiates ”between the human community and the organizational entity” (p. 149) and between the ”role and soul” (pp. 42–46). To summarize, ”Holacracy’s systems and processes are about continually helping the organization find its own unique identity and structure to do its work in the world, while protecting it from human agendas, egos, and politics.” (p. 199). Still, the organization needs human beings to energize and enact all its roles.

Holacracy is ”a big shift” (p. 145). Brian Robertson emphasizes that ”you can’t really practice Holacracy by adopting only part of the rules”, but ”you can take on all of the rules in only part of the company” (p. 147). Holacracy isn’t for everyone. Robertson has ”seen organizations where it just didn’t stick” (p. 167). The three most common scenarios he has identified are ”The Reluctant-to-Let-Go Leader”, ”The Uncooperative Middle”, and ”The Stopping-Short Syndrome” (p. 167). The last scenario is ”perhaps the most insidious” (p. 170) because ”slowly and almost imperceptibly, the change starts to fade” (p. 170). At best the organization ends up with ”a surface level improvement” only (p. 171). I don’t think this is a scenario unique to Holacracy. Regardless, Robertson claims that ”a majority” of the Holacracy implementations he has witnessed seems to result in ”lasting transformation” (p. 173).

Brian Robertson acknowledges at the end of the book that he is grateful to his mother for her great job in catalyzing the development of his ”strong and healthy ego” (p. 211). Robertson writes that he has a ”solid sense of self throughout” (p. 211). Unless he hadn’t had such a strong and healthy ego, he ”wouldn’t have needed a system capable of protecting others from it” (p. 212). To me, this sounds contradictory. I can understand if a person with a weak ego seeks protection in rules, but not why others would need protection from a person with a solid self and healthy ego. Maybe there are some deeply human needs behind Brian Robertson’s birthing of Holacracy? For one reason or another, Robertson perceives a need for a strong rule based system. It’s up to you to decide if you need such a system too! If so, it’s called Holacracy®.


Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter
Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter
by Simon Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holonomics expands our seeing and thinking, 28 May 2014
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This is a book which places business within the overall ecosystem of the biosphere. Holonomics is a combination of `holos' (the whole) and economics. The authors highlight the limitations and traps within the current ways of thinking in business.

The book is divided into three parts:

- Part One introduces the phenomenological way of encountering wholeness in systems, which is a dynamic way of seeing. Experiencing the coming-into-being of phenomena makes it possible to reach a deeper understanding of the world. The authors call this holonomic thinking. Holonomic thinking doesn't replace mechanistic thinking, which focuses on objects, or systems thinking, where the dynamic coming-into-being often is lost, but expands our thinking.

- Part Two covers systems theory and complexity science. One of the key insights from Part Two is how the dynamic way of seeing transforms the observer from within through the genuine encounter with the phenomena that are studied. Holonomic thinking enables a person to reach a deeper understanding of the world where business is no longer seen as separate from people and nature.

- Part Three presents a number of case studies of holonomic thinking as applied to business. Holonomic thinking is relevant to businesses since they are living systems. Among the examples mentioned are: Visa Inc.'s Chaordic Organization, where governance and power is distributed; Kyocera's Amoeba Management System, which is based on self-managed and self-coordinated cells; Gore Associates' Lattice Organization, where teams emerge naturally around perceived opportunities; Toyota's Production System, in which the information that directs operations is the work itself; and DPaschoal's Business Ecosystem, where all parts belong together and sustain each other.

A key insight from the book is that our thinking is an intimate part of our seeing, and vice versa. This means that entering into a new way of seeing expands our thinking. This book is important since it invites us into a new way of seeing which greatly expands our world view. This is much needed since people and planet matter. I warmly recommend the book!


Mind and Heart - Mapping Your Personal Journey Towards Leadership For Sustainability
Mind and Heart - Mapping Your Personal Journey Towards Leadership For Sustainability
by Petra Kuenkel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.65

5.0 out of 5 stars The core of our leadership is to lead from our heart and deeper intention, 14 Mar. 2013
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Mind and Heart - Mapping Your Personal Journey Towards Leadership For Sustainability by Petra Kuenkel is a book which shows how we can use our life and leadership experiences to make more meaningful contributions to the world. Petra invites us to review our own leadership journeys in the light of other people's experiences. She offers stories, thoughts and insights of fellow travelers which are truly inspiring. A central concept is what Petra calls our "initial deeper intention". This deeper intention is often ignored by ourselves and the world. Reconnecting with our deeper intention will not only free us to become more authentic, it will also open the way to more responsible and responsive leadership. The personal leadership journey is about discovering these deeper themes in our lives and respond to what needs doing in the world.

Here is a short summary of the book:

Chapter 1: Unfoldment
Reconnecting with our initial deeper intention is not about acquiring skills. It is about integrating our deepest values into our own leadership journey.
Chapter 2: Participation
Leading is a dance with life. At the core of life-enhancing leadership lies a respect for our fellow human beings. An essential part in redefining our leadership is finding and expressing our real voice.
Chapter 3: Coherence
Life is about change. Resonance happens when we reconnect with our core. Inquiry and reflection helps us integrate experiences into our shifting identity. How we integrate feelings of failure and powerlessness is particularly important.
Chapter 4: Awareness
Awareness helps us match our actions with our deeper intentions. Our self becomes less important as we become more whole. It is particularly helpful to acknowledge our fears.
Chapter 5: Contribution
We participate in the unfolding of evolution regardless of whether we choose to contribute or not. Our contribution requires resilience and grows when we support each other. We will always find encouragement if we listen carefully. Over time our ability to act appropriately will grow.
Chapter 6: Sustainability
Sustainability requires the ability to do what needs doing and the flexibility to take on leadership as required. Only together can we find the most suitable path. The voice of our heart is important. The future emerges in the encounter between people.

Petra asks a number of reflective questions throughout the book. Her advice is not to immediately answer the questions, but to live them. Gradually we will become able to listen to the underlying tune which is constantly playing in our lives and yet which is so difficult to hear. The core of our leadership is to lead from our heart and our deeper intention.

This book will be a companion in my own leadership journey. I will return to it again and again.


Culture Shock: A Handbook For 21st Century Business
Culture Shock: A Handbook For 21st Century Business
by Will McInnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant title on a brilliant book, 12 Mar. 2013
Culture Shock is a brilliant title on a book which is about the culture shock of moving from the traditional autocratic way of doing business to a democratic approach where there is true participation, openness, fairness, and connectedness. The perspective of Culture Shock is that an organization is made up of people, rather than resources (although human). This means that for an organization to thrive it needs a very clear purpose, which creates meaning way beyond financial results.

The book resonates strongly with me. Will McInnes eloquently puts words on what I think and feel. I fully agree with him that a democratic workplace makes business-sense, society-sense, and people-sense. I think he is right in saying that the huge potential lies in the distribution of power through shared decision making. An inclusive, participative, approach to running our organizations has a "direct knock-on effect" on the way the organization performs. We all know innately that "being bad to people is being bad to the bottom line".

There are a few areas where I have somewhat different perspectives than Will, but that is okay. We are talking about democracy and being authentic here. One example is the pace of change. Will thinks the new business culture is going to be mainstream within five or ten years. I do hope so, but I think the change we are talking about will take much more time. We are talking about changing domination structures. This change is a culture shock for those in power.

For the rest of us, it is an opportunity to be set free, to be allowed to thrive and show up fully as a human being even in the workplace. And here is the other culture shock. The emotional transparency required to be fully you is a demanding shift. And maybe this is why we have allowed our real lives to be different from our working lives for so long?

So, to give us the best chance of success, we need to step in and support each other. What is so nice is that there are people out there who have actually walked the alternative path for some time now. Will McInnes is one of them. Let's join them. Waiting will only delay the much needed culture shock.

Read the book. Share the ideas. Join the movement. Let's take action. Now!


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare greatly and engage fully in your life, 16 Dec. 2012
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Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it requires great courage. Avoiding uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure limits our lives. Fear leads to disconnection and lost opportunities. Our only choice is really to dare greatly and engage fully in our lives. It's only by showing up and letting ourselves be seen that we can make those unique contributions that only we can make.

In the book, Brené Brown explores what drives our fear of being vulnerable, how we are protecting ourselves from vulnerability, and - most importantly - how we can engage with vulnerability so that we can live our lives fully. As the book title says, this has consequences for how we live, love, parent, and lead.

Personally, I'm very interested in how the courage of being vulnerable can transform the way we lead. The most significant problems which people talked with Brené about stems from disengagement, the lack of feedback, the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change, and the need for clarity of purpose. She emphasizes the importance of taking direct action when blame and shame (bullying, public criticism & reprimands, reward systems that intentionally belittle people) is used as a management tool, because management by fear is very unproductive and totally unacceptable.

Brené provides a very well researched and important perspective on leadership, teaching, and parenting. I warmly recommend her book!


We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy
We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy
by John Jr. Buck
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: £16.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book!, 22 Nov. 2012
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This is an important book! It gives a viable and very practical alternative to the traditional autocratic command-and-control management approach which we are so used to in our businesses and organizations. The sociocratic structure described in the book is fundamentally different from traditional autocratic structures, which constrict rather than encourage leadership. Let me explain!

Sociocracy is based on four principles: Decisions by consent (not consensus), circles, double linking between the circles, and elections by consent. This has huge implications on the organizational dynamism. The concept of leadership goes much deeper in a self-governed organization since each person is expected to take part in the daily leadership and decision-making. The election of leaders by consent, after open discussion, has a very positive effect on the working group and the way everyone works together. This in turn reduces friction, increases productivity, and improves quality. Feedback is embedded into the actual work through the governance structure. First we have the principle of consent which means feedback cannot be ignored within the circle. Then we have the double-linking which ensures feedback between the circles. This means that a sociocratic organization is truly dynamic (or Agile) by design.

I am convinced that sociocratic principles will grow in importance. They simply cannot be ignored in the long run. Once an organization learns to work this way it will outperform traditional organizations.


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