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The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America Paperback – June 1, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The call for increased creativity in the workplace brings with it a concomitant challenge: how will the world of cool professionalism stand up to the inevitable heat and volatility that accompanies people's emotional and spiritual lives? It is problematic to assume, poet David Whyte explains, that you can ask people to create and also to behave. The Heart Aroused explores these and related issues in an inspiring, grounded, thought-provoking way, and is the best nonverse book by a poet since Robert Bly's Iron John. Interwoven with carefully selected poems to illustrate Whyte's points, The Heart Aroused is necessary reading for any professional who secretly harbors a poet's soul.

From Booklist

A corporate analyst who quotes Dante, Yeats, and Blake? Whyte, a maverick business consultant, wends his way through office and board room finding occasions for poetic reflection. The reader who attends to his message may indeed discover that success in business is spiritual, not merely financial, and that time spent in meditating will count for more in the end than time spent tabulating profits and losses. This intuitive rather than rational line of reasoning will mystify--perhaps infuriate--executives hardened to everything except career advancement. But readers willing to lay aside workaday preconceptions will learn ways to look for the hidden patterns of labor and creativity that can give new meaning to corporate employment. While some of Whyte's insights translate almost immediately into more effective office communication and management, many require the slow pondering that leads to fundamental reorientation of vision. Bryce Christensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reissue edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385484186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385484183
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Internationally acclaimed poet David Whyte makes his home in the Pacific Northwest, where rain and changeable skies remind him the other, more distant homes from which he comes: Yorkshire, Wales and Ireland. He travels and lectures throughout the world, bringing his own and others' poetry to large audiences.

He holds a degree in Marine Zoology, an honorary degree from Neumann University in Pennsylvania, and is an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. He is the author of eight volumes of poetry and four books of prose, as well as a collection of audio recordings.

POETRY
The Sea in You (2015)
Pilgrim (2012)
River Flow: New & Selected Poems (2006)
The House of Belonging (1996)
Fire in the Earth (1992)

PROSE
Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment & Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words (2014)
The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

AUDIO LECTURES
Hidden Harvests: The Inner Seasons of Everyday Life
Solace: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question
A Great Invitation: The Path of Risk and Revelation
Pilgrim Audio Companion
When the Heart Breaks
Sweet Darkness
A Change for the Better: Poetry and the Reimagination of Midlife
Midlife & the Great Unknown
The Echo in the Well
Making a Friend of the Unknown
The Poetry of Self Compassion
The Teacher's Vocation: Nurturing the Imagination of Others
Thresholds: Navigating the Difficult Transitions of Life

POETRY & MUSIC ALBUMS
Sometimes
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Heart Aroused is a book about the state of the soul in the corporate workplace, written by an English poet. If you've ever wondered "Am I the only one who is miserable here?" or "Do others feel they can't speak the truth?" or "Are others being smothered here as well?", you will love this book. Yes - others feel these things. This book says what no one will articulate: it IS hard to speak the truth (or gain one's own voice) in the corporate workplace, it IS hard to maintain one's integrity and BE oneself, it IS hard to be healthy and happy in this environment. But Whyte does not advocate heading for the hills - he feels the corporate workplace can be transformed (with effort) by more awareness on the part of both management and workers. He DOES see the good points of corporations (as efficiency). He, himself, goes into corporations giving workshops on this subject. He ends by mentioning that we spend most of our waking hours at work, so it is a matter of our health, on every level, how we are able to function, what kind of conditions surround us, and what the goals of the corporation are. As a work of beauty, as a book that reinforces what so many people feel, and as something that provokes thought, I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Frankly, I found this to be an especially demanding book even when reading it for a second time. Whyte requires of his reader a rigorous as well as truthful self-exploration, and in ways and to an extent few other authors do. As is so often true in other dimensions of human experience, the benefits derived from reading his book are almost wholly dependent upon how much is personally invested in it. As Whyte explains, he wrote this book "hoping it would be read in two ways. First, as a good story about the difficulties and dramas of preserving the soul at work -- in short, a page-turner; second, as a book that could be studied, contemplated, and discussed with others." More than 50 years ago, Mortimer Adler affirmed the value of reading the "great books" because they stimulate and enrich what he called "a conversation across the centuries." I think this is what Whyte has in mind when providing, in the book's final section (a "User's Guide"), a number of thoughts for reflection and discussion as well as for self-questioning. For example: "What is my heart's desire in life? What are some of the particularities of the way I like to live? What are the essential qualities that give me a sense of belonging? How can work be a good servant to my essential nature instead of a taskmaster?" As I now reflect on this book after a second reading, I think its greatest value lies not only in the truth of what Whyte expresses so eloquently but also in what his assertions and questions require his readers to consider as they seek spiritual fulfillment in their own lives. Those who my high regard for this book are urged to read Whyte's other books, especially Crossing the Unknown: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity and Fire in the Earth; also, to check out David Maister's Practice What You Preach and Tim Sanders' Love Is the Killer App as well as Eliyahu M. Goldratt's The Goal, Critical Acclaim, and It's Not Luck.
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Format: Paperback
David Whyte, in The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, writes that "If there is one common experience of complexity in the workplace, it would be the experience of feeling lost... in the difficulty of a situation or in our very arrogance or nervousness over a problem." Whyte was encouraged as a resource to business by Peter Block--a trainer, organization consultant, and author of The Empowered Manager--because the powerful images available in poetry can be liberating in the workplace.
As a lover of poetry, I was delighted when a client gave me tickets for one of Whyte's workshops a few years ago. One of the poems that Whyte recited for us (and cites in his book) is a teaching tale in the Native American tradition by David Wagoner. It was a thrilling personal experience to hear in Whyte's resounding and dramatic voice Wagoner's response to the question, "What do I do when I am lost in the forest?" (shown in part below):
Stand still, the trees ahead / and bushes beside you / are not lost... / Stand still, the forest / knows where you are. / You must let it find you.
Observing Whyte's impact on others in the group (many of them business people) also gave me the courage to use poetry in my development work with business executives, focusing on the symbolic aspects of people's (and organizations') growth potential. David Whyte has done us all a service in demonstrating how powerful poetry can be in "arousing our hearts," in enabling significant personal transformation. I highly recommend his tapes and books of poetry, as well as The Heart Aroused.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Whyte is a fine writer and this book is a noteworthy contribution to the literature on how to bring creativity and soul not only into the corporate world, but into each of our lives. He works hard at underscoring the symbolic importance of his literary references to Beowulf, Coleridge and Eliot, among others, and writes for readers who might not otherwise be poetically inclined. A Heart Aroused argues very simply that each of us owe it to ourselves to bring courage and passion into our work and into our lives. If we cannot embrace the job with passion, perhaps we are in the wrong job. He discusses the fear and voicelessness that so often dominate tough corporate environments, and the troubling compromises that each of us make as we struggle to balance many pressures and demands. When these compromises become too severe, he argues, we begin to slip into a comatose mode of life and lose our edge and our passion for quality and good service. But this is not an easy issue -- some will be tempted to counter that practical concerns are not easily set aside when family and career are at stake. Many a corporate person battens down the hatches and seeks to weather the storms below deck rather than experience the exhileration of being fully engaged in overcoming crises and challenges, when failure can lead to such devastating results. Quite frankly, there are times and situations when we are not welcomed by those in power to engage these challenges. The goal of all good managers and CEOs, Whyte is saying, is to turn their companies into soul friendly environments, for only then will their employees and their products reach their full potential.Read more ›
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