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Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time Paperback – February 13, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret Wheatley is president of The Berkana Institute and an internationally acclaimed speaker and writer. Wheatley's path-breaking book, Leadership and the New Science was first published in 1992. This book is credited with establishing a fundamentally new approach to how we think about organizations. It has been translated into many languages and won many awards, including "Best Management book of 1992" in Industry Week, Top Ten Business Books of the 1990s in CIO Magazine, and Top Ten Business Books of all time by Xerox Corporation. A new edition was published in 1999, significantly revised, updated and expanded. The video of Leadership and the New Science, produced by CRM films, has also won several film awards. The third edition of Leadership and the New Science, expanded with new chapters dealing with terrorism, technology, and other topics will be released in September 2006.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Annotated edition (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576754057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576754054
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret Wheatley, Ed.D.

Margaret Wheatley writes, teaches and speaks about how we can organize and accomplish work in chaotic times, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve. Since 1973, Meg has worked with an unusually broad variety of organizations: Her clients and audiences range from the head of the U.S. Army to twelve-year-old Girl Scouts, from CEOs and government ministers to small town ministers, from large universities to rural aboriginal villages. All of these organizations and people wrestle with a common dilemma--how to maintain their integrity, focus and effectiveness as they cope with the relentless upheavals and rapid shifts of this troubling time. But there is another similarity: a common human desire to find ways to live together more harmoniously, more humanely, so that more people may benefit.

She has written several best-selling books. Her new book, published October 2012 is
So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World.
Her other books are:
* Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey Into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, co-authored with Deborah Frieze.
* Perseverance
* Leadership and the New Science (18 languages and third edition)
* Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future (seven languages and second edition)
* Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time.
* A Simpler Way (co-author Myron Kellner-Rogers)

Meg earned her doctorate in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University, and a masters in Media Ecology from New York University. She also studied at University College London, U.K. She has been a global citizen since her youth, serving in the Peace Corps in Korea in the 1960s, and has taught, consulted or served in an advisory capacity on all continents (except Antarctica). She began her career as a public school teacher, and also has been a professor in two graduate management programs (Brigham Young University and Cambridge College Massachusetts).

She is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, founded in 1991. Berkana has been a leader in experimenting with new organizational forms based on a coherent theory of living systems. We have worked in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environment

Meg has received several awards and honorary doctorates. In 2003, The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) honored her for her contribution "to workplace learning and development" and dubbed her "a living legend." In April 2005, she was elected to the Leonardo Da Vinci Society for the Study of Thinking for her contribution to the development of the field of systems thinking. In 2010, she was appointed by the White House and the Secretary of the Interior to serve on the National Advisory Board of the National Parks System; her primary responsibility is to support the growth of a 21st century culture of adaptation and innovation throughout the system.

She returns from her frequent global travels to her home in the mountains of Utah and the true peace of wilderness. She has raised a large family now dispersed throughout the U.S. and is a very happy mother and grandmother.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a little concerned by some of the negative commentary on this book being too "touchy feely." That is generally a sign that it has touched a nerve among "macho shit" types who think that elegance of thought and open affection for humanity is for gays and children. "Humanness" is for all of us, and if cannot cry, you cannot be human. Feelings must, as E. O. Wilson and others have documented so well, be fully factored into the whole of the human experience.

This is the poetic humanist counterpart book, a series of essays from the past from before the author was recognized as one of the most brilliant leadership gurus in the English-language. I certainly do recommend that her "serious" book, "Leadership and the New Science," be read first, and then this one.

The author has done a superb job of taking older essays and organizing them, putting them in context, to tell a new story. This book of essays is a new book for having been re-created in the aftermath of the success of "Leadership and the New Science," and I am choosing to give this book out to the audience of a gala leadership dinner in Washington, D.C., rather than the first book.

The author stresses that the old story of organization is the "machine" model, where people control and domination are the management paradigm, and resistance to change is seen as obstinance rather than coherent humanist understanding of the badness of the imposed conditions. The new story, by contrast, sees that everything is connected--as the author brilliantly puts it in her preface, "Independence is a political concept, not a biological concept.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Wycoff on March 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Listening to Meg Wheatley is always worth while and her newest book is no exception. I find myself stoppng frequently to reflect on her words, poetry and photography, thinking about how they connect with my world and experiences. It takes a bit longer this way but the payoff is immense.

In a time of deep division and fear, Meg offers us a full measure of hope that nourishes the spirit and encourages me to put away my doubts, pick up my load and continue walking my chosen path. She is a voice of wisdom in a time that desperately needs wise encouragement. If you're already a fan, you'll enjoy this book ... if you haven't yet discovered Meg's gentle voice, I highly encourage you to dive in!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Martin Erasmuson on January 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
You know those times when you meet someone for the first time yet the experience is like you have known them all your life. This book was like that for me. Much of what I read felt like reacquainting myself with what I already new, but had forgotten, like some life-long fog of amnesia slowly clearing.

Is the book too `touchy-feely' (as some have suggested)? decide for yourself. Frankly, I don't care. All I can say is I applied some of the principles in this book immediately with a team for whom I am responsible. It works. In one meeting (no bull) we turned around two years of pain, suffering and anguish. Is there still work to be done? Sure. Do we know all the answers? Gee, we don't even know what all the questions are. One thing we are sure about, we will find our way through talking, community and shared responsibility. We might even have fun doing it.

Thanks Margaret.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As the sub-title says, these are uncertain times. The leadership role Dr. Wheatley advocates is a kindler, gentler form of management. Based on her background as a Peace Corps volounteer in Korea and a public school teacher in New York. As she sas, there is a simpler, finer way to organize human endeavor. The normal managment techniques of control and imposition of will do not produce an organization working together to learn, develop, adapt to the changing future.

She says that management should follow the organization that naturally develops for people going through life. As she puts it, "Goodbye Command and Control."

I can only wish that more of the managers I've worked for in the past followed her theories. I try. Sometimes I'm successful, and it works.
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Aceto TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Uncertain people want leaders because they will not try. When we do not, we surrender to frauds who savage us. Dr. Wheatley is the voice of sweet reason. She has the Paul O'Neil school of open decisioning. She understands that leaders are janitors and facilitators, not thundering empty suits, including Carly Fiorina, the Shiva of HP. Trust the process, not the PR. One reviewer complains that she is touchy-feely and there is 'something missing'. I find her analytical and questioning. If you run planning as she describes, you get a practical way to first avoid disaster and then to manage risk, and finally to trust initiative. No slogans, no platitudes. As does Einstein, she makes things only so simple as they can truly be and not more. Uncertainty is the sane experience of complexity gone wild and informationally burdensome at the same time. Slow down, ignore pressure and trust inclusive process. Smart people cannot afford fatigue; tyrants love tired subjects. I shave off one star because she is a tad sexist. She blames the world gone wrong on male leaders and on women like Carly that adopt the male model. Yes, most of the players are male. Yes Carly and her ilk are savage. But she makes the howling error of not understanding that a good male conservative like O'Neil has been practicing what she writes as he saved his company and was driven from the cabinet. There is no male model, only the autocratic-plutocratic-cleptocratic model. But read this book as a way to drive your meetings and plans.
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