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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abundant analysis and attractive alternative
With this book Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer support a growing influential group of change leaders already taking a comprehensive approach to develop alternative answers to the problems that are overwhelming us. The authors take a very integrative view on how to reinvent alternatives to major disconnects in society (ecological, income/wealth, financial, technology,...
Published 13 months ago by Jan Devisch

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book too far
I have to say right from the start that this book alienated me within the first few minutes. It read like happy-clappy guru-gobbledegook and the more I read the more irritated I became. By the time I was 50 pages into the thing there was hardly a page that was not annotated with refutations, objections, comments on wild assertions unsupported by evidence, and so on. So...
Published 10 months ago by Kalense


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abundant analysis and attractive alternative, 2 Aug 2013
By 
Jan Devisch "Jan De Visch" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (BK Currents) (Paperback)
With this book Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer support a growing influential group of change leaders already taking a comprehensive approach to develop alternative answers to the problems that are overwhelming us. The authors take a very integrative view on how to reinvent alternatives to major disconnects in society (ecological, income/wealth, financial, technology, leadership, consumerism, governance and ownership). They are creating this group through a relentlessy smart Matrix of Economic Evolution. This matrix not only reframes the developments in society, but also highlights a positive evolutionary direction.

In this outstanding book, the authors define a new, well thought through, path to prosperity and well-being for all. The core of this evolutionary trajectory is a shift from an ego-system to an eco-system economy. The message of the book is huge and simple: we are really on the eve of one of the greatest changes in history.

Leading from the Emerging Future is a bold and inspiring read for everyone who wants to contribute to a better world (especially managers and politicians), be inspired by compelling case examples, and accompanied by a structured guide to manage the change (through connectingto intention and awareness, leading the personal inversion, the relation inversion and the institutional iversion).

This book is better than the already excellent U Theory. A real must for all change practitioners.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important management book of the decade, 20 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (BK Currents) (Paperback)
Otto Scharmer has already given the world the U-Theory. Now he develops it further and deploys it in designing a way to lead the world from the old society 3.0 (the stakeholder driven market economy) to a new sustainable 4.0 society driven by awareness-based collective action (the ABC model). The transformation is signaled in the subtitle of the book: From EGO-System to ECO-System Economies.
It is a most challenging and appealing book. It should be a must for all business leaders, political leaders and NGO leaders that cares about the most important question of today: Which earth will this generation pass on to our children and grandchildren? Neither the present market economy nor the earth itself will survive if we don’t agree and unite collectively to change our present way of managing it. “Leading From The Emerging Future” shows a new convincing way. Scharmer’s revolutionary yet constructive new thinking makes it the most important book of the decade.

Åge Dragsted, M.Sc. Econ., Certified Management Consultant, CMC, Denmark.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book too far, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (BK Currents) (Paperback)
I have to say right from the start that this book alienated me within the first few minutes. It read like happy-clappy guru-gobbledegook and the more I read the more irritated I became. By the time I was 50 pages into the thing there was hardly a page that was not annotated with refutations, objections, comments on wild assertions unsupported by evidence, and so on. So maybe it just doesn't fit my kind of world view, which is sceptical, rationalist, and scientific. It doesn't help that the tone of the book is excited, assertive, uncritical, preachy and self-adulatory - not at all what I had hoped from these authors. Thus, for example,

"In this book, we argue that responding from the emerging future requires us to shift the inner place from which we operate. It requires us to suspend our judgments, redirect our attention, let go of the past, lean into the future that wants to emerge through us, and let it come." [All the verbs after the commas in that last sentence are in italics].

Or a bit later,

"Are you thinking now that this discussion of economic thought is getting a little boring? Well, it's exactly that pattern of thinking that keeps us from seeing past our blind spot."

And it doesn't help, either, that they use fine-sounding words to do things they never should be asked to do. What, for example, is "leadership technology"?

It became quickly clear that the title of the book should have been a red flag to me - how can you lead from the future? Or the past? You can only lead from the present, obviously. What, in the name of all that's wonderful, is an "emerging future"? A future, by definition, is not emerging. Things that are emerging do so in the present - the clue is in the tense of the verb when used as an adjective in this way. The title doesn't make sense and neither, in my view, does the book.

The premise of the book is that we are collectively creating a future that nobody wants, and that our institutions and academic disciplines should be a lot more integrated than they are if we are to make a success of things. This, I will whole-heartedly agree with. They then wander off into the analogy of the iceberg (most of what matters goes on under the surface) that they use erratically and in my view unhelpfully - it does not generate insight, but a series of stifled yawns interspersed with grunts of disbelief. Where I finally part company is the concept that we should learn from the future as it emerges. I've left the plane at this point; but it gets worse as the authors explain how to learn from the future.

First, you have to understand that "The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor."

Um. Does it? Where it's true, it's trite - you wouldn't want to be operated on by a surgeon with a hangover. But it's not always true. Just how did the interior condition of Marconi influence the success of radio? This fine-sounding but rather unhelpful generality is held up as a gem-like insight, and similar uncritical hand-waving pervades the book.

Next, the authors tell us that the quality of our results in a system is a function of the awareness from which the people in that system operate. Now I have no idea how you might measure quality or awareness, which makes it difficult to disprove. Clearly if the train driver is texting and ignoring railway signals, the quality of his results may be spectacular, but not in a good way. At that level, this is another trite generality. But many real-life organisations actually try rather hard to ensure that the level of awareness of their employees has no impact on the quality of results. Nobody cares much if the labourer in the fields is dreaming of a better life as she toils away planting rice like an automaton. The busker and the greengrocer on autopilot, the barber chattering away about the latest royal baby, the scientist spinning up the centrifuge for the thousandth time while wondering how to pay the mortgage - not clear how to measure the awareness or the quality of results of any of them, and not clear that more awareness would influence the quality of the result - or in which direction the quality might change.

Then the book gets into the bit where you paint by numbers, as all good guru guides must do. Like some oriental philosophy, in place of the Eight Consciousness, the Three Pillars, the Ten Million Names of God, or the Four Emblems, the authors present us with the Five Principles of Presencing (sic) to allow us to shift our inner place of operating that will allow us to truly understand that if I attend to my inner condition this way the process will emerge that way.

The Five Principles of Presencing are to:

1) apply the 3 processes: observe, retreat and reflect; and act in an instant through prototyping.
2) apply a new leadership technology, for which we need to keep 3 things open: open mind (we must suspend old habits of thought); open heart (we must see things through the other's eyes); and open will (we must let go of old, and accept new, ways of doing things) or "let go and let come."
3) answer the 2 root questions Who is my Self, my highest future possibility? and What is my Work, what am I on Earth to do?
4) overcome 3 enemies: the voice of judgment that closes the open mind; the voice of cynicism that closes the open heart; and the voice of fear that closes the open will.

Peel away all the claptrap and emotive language (open mind, open heart, voice of fear), and what are you left with?

If you want to understand a situation you need to look at it critically and understand what's going on. That's fair enough, but you might or might not want to "act instantly", and you might or might not want to prototype your response. In some cases that would clearly not be helpful.
The three open things that constitute the new leadership technology are not exactly rocket science, and this is hardly the first book to recommend them. I probably first encountered them in written form in "Getting to Yes" back in the early '80s, but I'm sure they'd been around a long time by then.
I can't see the pertinence of the 2 root questions to this book. And to be frank, I think they're nonsense.

So you might think I'm the 3 enemies personified. Well, yes and no. Scientists are trained to keep an open mind, but not in the face of evidence. There are many ways to "close an open heart" apart from cynicism, and as far as this book's concerned, closing an open heart through scepticism seems to me entirely appropriate. Finally, fear can spur people to action, so to shanghai it as a device only for preventing action seems deliberately one-sided.

One final confession: I stopped reading this book well before the half-way point (life's too short) and I can't find my copy any more, so this review is written from memory and some notes I made.

Would I recommend this book to anyone? No, I would not.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant, 23 Jun 2013
By 
Phoebe (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (BK Currents) (Paperback)
To date, U theory and Scharmer's works have not been at nor grabbed my attention.... and (I) am otherwise confused and perplexed by a world awash in looking for theories of change so required at this point in time. The secret is in the practice, it is in you and me. We are co-creating the change now. This book goes to source, and gets to the bottom of the cosmic, complex Iceberg between worlds of economy, social, ecological conflicts, solutions design and implementations. What a relief.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 19 Sep 2013
By 
N. Janni - See all my reviews
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This is the future, and it is urgently needed now.
Intellectually visionary and clear, emotionally resonant and moving, and spiritually elevated
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