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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
I have been studying and enjoying Ken Wilber's writings for almost thirty years, so I am not a total newbie.

I have also liked the way in which, over the years, Ken has not been afraid to revise his position as new information and new insights have appeared. He has also reached a place familiar to anyone who is trying to push the envelope in any field:
At what point do you simplify to clarify?
When do you take the key components of a model or system and break it down into digestible chunks without dumbing it down or selling out?
And finally, how do you present it in a way that makes sense to people outside your narrow field?

Many philosophers and theorists simply do not bother: they write long treatises that will only be understood by a few of their peers, and as for explaining to the world at large? Forget it!

This short and visually stunning book lays out the bare bones of the most recent incarnation of Ken Wilber's model of life, the universe and everything. Here you will learn the basics about "quadrants," "levels," "lines," states" and "types." Not only what they are, but also why an understanding of them can pay enormous dividends in your own life and in providing insights into your personal psychological and spiritual development, as well as that of your children, family and society.

Nobody, least of all Ken himself, believes that this is the only model, or that the map is the same as the territory. But the model can be immensely valuable. Time alone will tell how well it can incorporate new data and insights without becoming a meta-theory that sounds good but has no predictive value. For that is where this whole project will live or die: its ability to predict and to be falsifiable. At the moment the indications are that this way of looking at the world is here to stay, and it would be well to know something about it.

I had doubts that the project would even be possible, and I am pleased to have been proven wrong. The book works extremely well as an introduction to the Integral model. But it should also be seen as something of a taster. If it whets your appetite, then you will probably want to explore some of the books, CDs and websites that have been created by Ken Wilber and Integral Institute.

This book is essential for anyone interested in psychological, social and spiritual growth, and I recommend it very highly.

Richard G. Petty, MD, author of Healing, Meaning and Purpose: The Magical Power of the Emerging Laws of Life
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2007
Having been an avid reader of Wilber's books for years, I have been deeply moved by his philosophy as it has helped me orientate and weave multiple perspectives in coherent and compelling way. Although this is far from my favorite book of his, I applaud it for what it is meant to be: a primer on integral theory for someone that is new to it and isn't ready to dive in too deeply. This is something I have been looking for a while, as I have often recommended Wilber's work to friends. When asked what was the first book they should read, I would often suggest "Brief History of Everything" (the abridged version to "Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality"). Still, for many of my friends not accustomed to reading philosophy, they felt that "Brief History" was a bit much.

"The Integral Vision" hits the right note for just about everyone, as it goes down easier than most of Ken's work, but still gets its point across thoroughly. This is still not light-weight material, however, most readers will find the attractive illustrations helpful and crisp non-academic prose refreshing. "The Integral Vision" also demonstrates that integral theory passes the "mother-in-law test": the idea that if you can't explain it simply and succinctly to her, it's probably too complicated and nonsensical to use. Any decent theory needs to be elegant for intellectuals and simplistic enough for everyone else. "The Integral Vision" successfully lays out quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types in both a manner of elegance and ease.

With integral theory, Wilber has brought something of a gift, albeit "true, but partial" (as he would put it), that has built on many philosophical foundations and resealed some cracks in the process. "The Integral Vision" is worth a look for newbies and Wilber fans who are looking for a gift read for friends.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Ken Wilber is a genius at synthesizing vast amounts of knowledge and human experience and thought and pulling them together into a single, coherent system. Everyone should know his work. The problem is, he sucks at trying to talk about it to normal people. Every time I read one of these attempts, I have to cringe as I imagine "wilber virgins" reading it. His most successful attempt so far I would have to say is "The Marriage of Sense and Soul", which doesn't go as far as this book (it's a much older work) but is MUCH easier to digest.

In this book Wilber tries so hard to be accessible he seems to be forcing a mickey mouse face on top of a buckminster fuller dome. I would steer people who want an "introduction" to Wilber away from this book and toward "A Theory Of Everything". Or do some pushups and take on Sex Ecology Spirituality if you've got the guts (I haven't yet). The thing is... given what Wilber has managed to do -- which is enormous and ground breaking in its scale and depth -- one can hardly expect him to re-learn how to talk to normal everyday idiots. But in my opinion, this book is damaged by its author's voice, which veers unevenly between being cute (ie. accessible) cursory (giving a shallow version of his ideas) and confusing (leaping into the deep end). The 'stoned kid with photoshop' graphics are mostly gratuitous and are there to break up text rather than add a layer of meaning or illustrate anything. The net effect is to preach to converts and not reach a new public, which was obviously his intent. I also think the structure of this book is flawed, getting too "spiritual/new age" too early. You have to start from what people can accept easily and build slowly from there, and he fails to do this, leaping too soon into material only a full fledged, bead wearing, incense burning, mantra chanting eco-putz would appreciate.

Sounds True put out a nice box set of disks of Wilber interviews that is a great way to familiarize yourself with Wilber, although it would help a lot if you read "Theory of Everything" at the same time. It's called Kosmic Consciousness. Also log on to youtube and search his name, there's lots of stuff there. You can also go to his site "integralnaked.com" but it suffers from a lot of the same myopia as this book, ie. annoying to the outsider. I mean come on. Couldn't they call it something other than Naked? I don't need to see Ken naked, thank you very much.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2008
This little book is an excellent introduction to Ken Wilber's "map" and would serve as an excellent outline for an introductory course on his theory. It gives a brief description of the states, stages/levels, types, lines and quadrants as well as the concepts of perspectives and holons and 'holarchies.' It's very easy to read and the format is bright and captivating (almost like a comic book.)
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2007
This book was my introduction to Wilber's Integral Model/IOS/etc. I bought this because I hoped it would give me an overview. In some ways I guess it did, but not really. I get that there are quadrants and types and lines and levels, but I don't understand what they mean or how they interact and cohere. It's dense and cognitive. Normally I like dense and cognitive, but it's like reading Le Petit Prince in 7th Grade French Class. You get some of the words, not the meaning. I wanted to understand the essence of the process--for a newbie this isn't the way. There's a lot of insider jargon to contend with. I'm still interested in the Integral Model, but this isn't the 101 I hoped it would be. Or maybe I'm just Amber... Keep looking!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2009
This is perhaps the most visually-appealing introduction to Integral Thinking to-date by American philosopher and spiritual teacher Ken Wilber.

His integral vision represents one of the most ambitious paths for 'integral' human development in our time. Written in his inimitable funny, quirky and at times abrasive style, this book is a perfect 'Integral Thinking 101' to be read and shared. Highly recommendable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2008
Ken Wilbur is a great thinker, and I enjoy his vision. It was a little hard to discern in this book, though, which seems designed more as an art piece than a practical guide. It's rather like a series of artistic bumper stickers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2013
Ooohlala, how to describe this thing? This was some very condescending, even occasionally ridiculous airport reading for me recently. It was recommended to me by someone I respect tremendously as an introduction to Wilber's Integral Life Practice and especially the underlying theory. It's a horrible introduction of any and all ideas. It seems to presume the reader has never learned to think critically or rigorously and proposes quadrants, lines, etc. as an *all-purpose* framework for all future consideration of the world. It's heavy on illustration and low on text. It's heavy on vast over-simplifications and low on acknowledgement of its limitations. I remember thinking there were some worthwhile ideas I could extract and appreciate amidst this facile presentation of a so-called vision. I am having trouble coming up with any particular examples to cite here though, I'm afraid.

All this said, I found many more worthwhile ideas, a less condescending tone, and a general lack of vast over-simplification in a second book I ventured to read of Wilber's -- this one coauthored with three other Integral thinkers. For those looking for a thinking person's introduction to what Integral Thinking and Living is all about (and if it could be of benefit to you), forget about taking up this blue object. Instead, take a look at Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening -- by Ken Wilber as well as Terry Patten, Adam Leonard & Marco Morelli. I am reading it presently, and there's some real food for thought.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2009
Already familiar with Wilber's work, I bought this book with the intent of lending it to others; to introduce his wonderful Integral Theory to them.
My first lendee, a woman in my meditation group, found the content fascinating, but wanted more detail, so I then loaned her "A Brief History of Everything" and "A Theory of Everything",
which she's now enjoying. Perfect! It's Just What It Says It Is- a very short introduction, inviting & even enticing the reader to devle more deeply into understanding, well, EVERYTHING!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who senses that everything in our world (and beyond) is or might be inter-connected, and wishes that there were a way to see how.
Here it is!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
Ken Wilber is a profoundly important thinker - and this is a useful and light intro to his sophisticated work. A bit too light in places perhaps but any introduction is a fine thing, frankly.

A far more rigorous though literally also a very chatty and engaging introduction is his, A Brief History of Everything, written in dialogue form, and a phenomenal book nonetheless. The technical academic depth version of that book, is his formidable Sex Ecology and Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution which I have yet to get to.

This book, The Integral Vision, helps you grasp the core principles and concepts and also get a feel for the Integral Life Practice (another fine book, on what to do about all of this on a personal front), but like I say be aware of the above two books too. His other book A Theory of Everything is also apparently a fine one, but gets mixed reviews, just to mention that too.

All the best in integrating your world.
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