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So Far from Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World (BK Life) Paperback – October 8, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: BK Life
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (October 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609945360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609945367
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret (Meg) Wheatley writes, speaks, and teaches globally about how we can accomplish our work, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve in this troubled time. She has been working actively out in the world since 1966. She is the author of six other 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

Very thought provoking read.
Vickie Sullivan
This requires looking directly into the darkness of our times and doing our work of being brave and decent human beings who face deeply challenging circumstances.
Joyce
Somewhere along the way our inner peace and calm will bring solace to those around us.
Dawn Casey Rowe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By C. Baker on November 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed Wheatley's writing, but this book is unlike her others. As always, she is profound, challenging, and honest. It is a book worth reading because it will challenge you. Ultimately I rejected the central premise.

The backdrop of the book is that the Earth is doomed, and our work is largely fruitless. Society won't get better. By letting go of hope and fear Wheatley tells us that we can become warriors for the human spirit, doing our good work without expectation for any kind of result.

I recognize many of the themes in this book as arising from Buddhist philosophy, such as the idea that we should focus on compassion rather than striving.

You will be invited to face the reality of our doom and to spend time feeling grief. The author believes that grief is a realistic reaction to the state of the world.

The author gives examples on how to be a warrior for the human spirit, but they seem pretty small. One example is working to not get angry when a cashier is on a cell phone and ignoring you. (Being aware of Triggers) Another is visiting people in person to have good conversations.

I am glad I read this book, but I admit I came away feeling a bit perturbed. Perhaps Wheatley believed for a long time that her work (and that of others) would create a change in human consciousness. When that didn't happen in one lifetime, she declares the experiment void and decides to focus on not getting angry in the checkout line.

Now she invites us to join her there.

Who knows? Perhaps the shift in focus is what we need to get on the right track. Perhaps all we can do is live good lives and let everything else sort itself out. But I find her vision based on an assumption I can't quite swallow - that mourning is a healthy reaction to the challenges we face. I'm not so inclined to give up.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Joyce on October 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have not read anything with which I resonate more strongly than this book. Drawing on her work with systems, Wheatley lays out the elements of the world we now live in - robber barons, millions oppressed, idealogical dumbing down, manufactured selves, consumerism, distraction, etc - and how these elements interact, resulting in humanity being Lost. The first step toward being Found is to recognize how profoundly we are Lost. In short, she acknowledges what many (all?) of us already know - trying to save the planet is no longer an option. To motivate ourselves by the outcomes we hope to achieve is not appropriate (if it ever was). That kind of hope is the flip side of fear. But, BUT - there is a different way of hope - that we will BE hope, be warriors of the spirit. This requires looking directly into the darkness of our times and doing our work of being brave and decent human beings who face deeply challenging circumstances. Maybe our work won't be that different but the context shifts. Expectations and attitudes shift. One aspect of that spirit is avoiding getting caught up in outrage and righteous anger. The truer feeling is being overwhelmed with grief. Allowing ourselves to experience our grief will leave us with greater clarity.

Wheatley articulates what I have been sensing for some years now, clarifying a context that I have fuzzily tried to talk about. Her mentors are Chogyam Trungpa and Pema Chodron, and though they are Buddhist, I am happy to follow her call to arms and become a Christian spirit warrior. I would like for all my friends and colleagues who are vocated to serving the world to read this book - yesterday.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kevin W. on October 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this book, Wheatley attempts to answer the question: "How did we end up in a world no one wants, a harsh, destructive world that's emerged in spite of our best efforts to change it?"

She sees something clearly. Over the past several hundred years, the West has invested so much in creating a Utopia. Whether it's a vision of democracy, economic justice, human rights, or environmental sustainability -- we've tried to enact it.

But despite our best efforts -- event those of such visionaries as Ed Carlson, whose story is told in I Walked to the Moon and Almost Everybody Waved, this past century was the bloodiest ever.

And So Far from Home is about armament. But we're not talking about physical armament -- another arms race. The point is spiritual armament. This is the way of the Warrior. In the Tibetan tradition, "warrior" doesn't mean "fighter." It means "brave one." We must arm ourselves with courage -- the courage not to impose our wills on others, violently or covertly.

To find this strength means finding the source of our own life. It means finding our true vocation -- the work by which we are truly meant to serve the world. It means working for the good of others -- those we know, those we don't know, and those we'd rather not know.

This book is a solid introduction to this process of armament. The final section, "A Dream of Warriors," is alone worth the price of admission.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George Cornelius on November 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wheatley's words offer encouragement to anyone who longs for a more just world but finds little evidence of hope grounded in reality and not merely in dreams. Yet her hope is severely tempered and comes close, at times, to surrendering to despair. At times, it seems she has been disappointed one too many times. But haven't we all?

Her insights are not new but they are fresh. Wheatley reminds us not to succumb to the temptation of perfection but, rather, to be mindful that it is the journey, the path, that matters and in which meaning and peace reside. She writes that "[h]ope is such a dangerous source of motivation." She described the "warriors" weapons, to challenge the power that destroys life, as being compassion and insight. Yet I am a bit uneasy about her reluctance to more boldly embrace love as the primary if not sole source and sustaining power behind those who desire (or who are called) to walk the difficult path of what some would call righteousness.

Wheatley cites Trungpa for the proposition that "our strength grows as a consequence of our commitment to serve the world," but the core question is, what is the source of that commitment? Is it merely insight? If so, it is tenuous at best. For reasons not entirely clear to me, Wheatley seems hesitant to name or fully embrace this source. Perhaps it is an attempt to keep distance with faith traditions that have been distorted, misrepresented and, in the eyes of many, discredited. That's understandable, but the substitute seems a bit shallow.

I love Wheatley's discussion about systems and organizations. She possesses a deep understanding of the essence of collective bodies and systems and the reasons they are resistant to change and adaptation.
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