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Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future Paperback – February 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is impossible to read Turning to One Another in the wake of the devastating attack on New York City's World Trade Center and not marvel at the book's eerie and moving prescience. Of course Margaret Wheatley has already earned herself a (deserved and legit) reputation as the Oprah of "sensitive" organizational books with such titles as A Simpler Way. But this book--devoted entirely to centrality of conversation in healing everything from personal relationships to organizational dysfunction to world discord--flows so broadly and easily across the borders of genre or topic it's almost as though Wheatley intuited when writing it how the need for its message would soon skyrocket. "The intent of this book is to encourage and support you to begin conversations about things that are important to you and those near you," Wheatley writes right up front in the clean, straightforward voice that always saves her work, unlike that of so many other "New Age" gurus, from cheesiness. "It has no other purpose." She then delivers on that promise, making her points in short, succinct, finely written essays on various aspects of human understanding and connection, invoking the thinking of great humanists like Paolo Friere and Nelson Mandela, peppering her thoughts with encounters with people around the world, and then expanding on 10 "conversation starters" like "Do I feel a 'vocation to be truly human'?" "When have I experienced good listening?" and "When have I experienced working for the common good?"

Suffice to say, those looking for some worksheet-packed, three-step plan for organizational harmony won't find it here. Those willing to take a slower, harder, more thoughtful and likely more rewarding path to better relations on any level--or even those looking for the book equivalent of a cool, tall drink of water (perhaps where all change begins)--will be truly moved and genuinely inspired by Wheatley's practical, timely wisdom. --Timothy Murphy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Margaret J. Wheatley is president of the Berkana Institute, a nonprofit education and scientific research foundation supporting the discovery of new organizational forms. She is the author of Leadership and the New Science, a groundbreaking international bestseller. She is also the coauthor (with Myron Kellner-Rogers) of A Simpler Way.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Second Edition edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576757641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576757642
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 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: #88,456 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Margaret Wheatley's new book demonstrates the importance of more deeply coming to understand and listen to one another if we are to not only survive but to thrive, as our world sits at a key moment in human history. The method is profoundly simple which is what makes it simply profound. If the practice of conversation suggested in this text were to begin to take place, there can only be hope for a better existence for all-and it can start right now, today, with anyone willing to get together and simply converse. This book provides a hopeful tool for anyone concerned about our world and the directions it is heading-it provides practice and promise to make a real difference in our own lives and in the lives of others. I recommend this book with great energy and enthusiasm and am most grateful for the wisdom of this fine author.
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By A Customer on January 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
It never stops confounding me how the simplest truths are the most powerful. In this work Margaret Wheatley speaks the simplest truth of them all, that incredible changes can occur on a global scale with the spark of a simple conversation.
This is not groundbreakingly new, before the repurcussions of the industrial revolution, people gathered and talked to each other, made plans, even organized and brought about incredible changes. But today, in the midst of the media/technology flurry and the ensuing shortness of time with which to address each other personally, it is a truth too easily forgotten.
The beauty in this book is that the antidote to this social memory lapse is easily obtainable, and the remedy is very simple to put into action. This work is especially timely in that unlike the mass of other works which determine the root causes, events, and happenings that lead to the disaster of 9-11, it never addresses this with any definition (my suspicion was that the book was already in the works at the time of the horror), and yet offers a potential alternative to ensure that things such as this may not happen again.
The format of the work reflects its nature - no overfilled pages with laborous stories and instructions jammed in, rather, carefully selected simple words on a stark minimalist background accompanied by gentle and simple graphics.
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Format: Paperback
Turning to One Another is a gift to us, whether we live in small communities or are involved in global networks. As a management consultant and fan of Wheatley's other books, I have used her theories with CEO's and executives of many organizations. Her explanation of how nature organizes, cooperates, communicates and attracts has provided the leaders in these organizations with fascinating and freeing methods to lead, manage and release their organizations and the people in them to grow and evolve more naturally.
This book is based on the belief that these methods work equally well in less ordered communities and societies than organizations. She encourages us that through simple conversations with people where we live we can believe again in our ability and become creative in solving issues that concern us. And, if we do engage one another with commitment to create what we envision or care about, we will witness something new and positive emerging from our efforts. It's all in the nature of how things actually work. I am very thankful for her efforts and plan to encourage conversations in my community work.
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Format: Paperback
I am an FOM. (Friend of Meg [Wheatley]) I am also a person who flourishes in a world of dreams, dreams that lead us to realize greater potential in ourselves. With that said, I must admit to the following: Reading Meg's new book felt uncomfortable. Not because I thought I wouldn't like it, nor did I worry about what Meg would think about how I experienced the book. I actually felt apprehensive about the subject matter. What could she say about something as ordinary and matter of fact as talking with one another? Well, I threw out my anxieties and opened myself to whatever might speak to me. Isn't that what a friend would do?
I read Meg's book in one sitting. Actually, it was a train ride from Seattle to Portland. I was grateful for the confinement of the train, leaving me undisturbed to delve into Meg's world, save for a few pre-dusk glances out the window, taking in the natural beauty of our WA state coastline. turning to one another holds nothing new, as Meg would admit. However, when read in light of this past calendar year, her words hold all things new. Meg Wheatley has posited for her readers what I experience as a charge for all storytellers: How do you take what is common knowledge, retell it in light of what makes meaning in your life, and then let it go, out to the universe, praying it will be read with new eyes and heard with open ears.
turning to one another does just that, for me, its reader. And, without speaking in generalities, I feel this book will play its revelatory tune loud and clear to all who look inside its pages. Meg has asked us to put aside our technological armor, turn it off and sit. Sit with the silence, with the uncomfortable feelings of being silent. Sit with the many who are silent, too. Waiting.
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