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Uncommon Wisdom Paperback – January 1, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In attempting to show how encounters with various people fueled the writing of his bestsellers The Tao of Physics and The Turning Point, Capra's new book is alternately superficial and meaty. That he once sat next to Alan Watts at a dinner party, heard Krishnamurti lecture and exchanged observations with Indira Gandhi is revealing of nothing; neither is the detailed synopsis of the author's reading habits. More interesting are conversations recorded here with physicists Werner Heisenberg and Geoffrey Chew, psychotherapists Stanislav Grof and R. D. Laing, economists Hazel Henderson and E. F. Schumacher, and with figures such as systems theorist Gregory Bateson, holistic cancer therapist Carl Simonton and feminist Charlene Spretnak. How Capra came to perceive parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism, then went beyond this to a systems viewpoint embracing ecology and spiritual awareness, is the heady theme of this self-preoccupied but often stimulating set of talks. (January
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Capra, author of The Tao of Physics , is famous for his unique blend of physics and mysticism. Here he traces the development of his thought by presenting a series of conversations with many influential thinkers, including Werner Heisenberg, R. D. Laing, Alan Watts, and Margaret Lock. These conversations took place between 1969 and the "Big Sur Dialogues" symposium in 1979 and range in subject from science to politics, anthropology to holistic medicine. Capra feels that his contribution has been merely to establish links between the ideas of these highly original thinkers, all of whom figured largely in his evolution from a conventional physicist to the spokesman for a new vision of reality. C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553346105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553346107
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. Capra is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Web of Life (1996), The Hidden Connections (2002), The Science of Leonardo (2007), and Learning from Leonardo (2013). He is coauthor, with Pier Luigi Luisi, of the multidisciplinary textbook, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
author photo: Basso Cannarsa

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book that acquaints you with the intellectual odyssey and personality of Mr. Capra. Filled with brilliant insights and fascinating discussions with people like E.F. Schumacher, R.D. Laing, Gregory Bateson, Geoffrey Chew, Krishnamurti, Warner Heisenberg, and many other giants of the 20th century who shaped Capra's thoughts in the writing of Tao of Physics and The Turning Point. Gives you an underpinning for The Web of Life too. An insider's multidisciplinary look into the intellectual cutting edge of the 60s and 70s. Warmly written and very pleasant. I highly recommend it as a starting point for a deep understanding of Fritjof Capra.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Paterson on March 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have found all of FC's books very helpful. He has been able to take many exceptionally complex ideas in science and make them accessible to the lay reader - such as myself. In particular, he has made the link between the New Physics and Living Systems and the ancient wisdom.
Uncommon Wisdom takes a different approach to his other books. His traditional books are based naturally on explaining the ideas. This book is grounded in experience and in relationship. Here FC takes a personal and musing approach. He shares his own life journey, doubts, fears and hopes, as he meets, talks and develops relationships with some of the great thinkers of our time. He shows us through his story how his thinking develops. We as readers share the unfolding process in his own being as he too struggles with the import of what he is learning.
The ideas in this book are embedded in story and in people. As such they are more "sticky" than ideas simply defined and outlined. It is one thing to have Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle explained. It is so much better to listen, via FC's ears and eyes, to Heisenberg talk.
Another lasting impression I received from the book is what a time the 1970's 1980's was. Was it our Golden Age? Much of the book is located in the 1970's and 1980's when the idea of the breakdown of the Cartesian view and the rise of an interrelated view of reality was so new.
The book is out of print and I encourage him to persuade his publisher to get it back on the shelves. Why? In middle age, our youth has a pull. FC's current writing is already looking back at the 1970's which he now sees as a "Turning Point". Now in late middle age he and many millions of us are looking back with a new perspective. It is worth re-discovering the wonder of that time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter Fritz Walter on May 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
'Uncommon Wisdom' is not strictly speaking a science book, but it elucidates much about the scientist Fritjof Capra and the method of his special approach to knowledge gathering by exchanging views with others, so as to achieve at a multi-vectorial perspective. It is a very readable and from the human point of view highly interesting book, for it shows with many examples that we arrive at a mature judgment of any problem only by exchanging with others, and if the field of study is outside our professional expertise, by consulting with the best experts in the field.

I reviewed the book only recently, and after my second lecture of the book. Previously, I had been convinced that the book cannot be reviewed as it is very personal, autobiographic and contains many conversations difficult if not impossible to paraphrase without actually quoting them. To quote them entirely was excluded because of copyright, so I had to mark the main points only.

First of all, I reflected why I should review the book. After my initial hesitation, and reading it once again, I came to realize that it is actually a very important document, because it relates the transition that the author made from 'The Tao of Physics (1975)' to 'The Turning Point (1987)', and how Capra was receiving broad feedback and support from other scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists and medical doctors to discuss his paradigm-changing research, and the project for the upcoming book that was certainly challenging to write. As such, the book is something like a background study for Capra’s upcoming bestseller The Turning Point (1987) while it was published two years after the latter.

The book contains conversations with Werner Heisenberg, J. Krishnamurti, Geoffrey Chew, Gregory Bateson, Stanislav Grof, R.D.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By poet1 on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find that Fritjof Capra's writing to be quite superb. He takes the sciences and spirituality and interweaves them for a greater understanding of life. In UNCOMMON WISDOM, Fritjof Capra shows his journey through his thinking. I enjoyed the way Frijof Capra disintegrates the so called ridged walls of science to show a greater connection to the world, to the future and to our own self.
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