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Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think Paperback – September 14, 2016
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In the best sense of the word, this is popularization of the obvious, of the space between things, of seeing things you've always seen but never seen and pulling them into your own personal library, for getting through the morass, the flotsam and jetsam of all the stuff that s around us. --Richard Saul Wurman, founder, TED conference, and author of Information Anxiety
Liminal Thinking is a book about how to be mentally healthy, how to be present, and how to be a positive force in the world. But more simply, and more importantly, it's a book about how to be. --Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
In a time of increasing complexity and change, Dave Gray's Liminal Thinking provides a much needed blueprint to help us clarify our own thinking, make connections with others, and communicate powerfully our ideas in a way that is both deeply human and profoundly impactful. --Lisa Kay Solomon, co-author, Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change
About the Author
Dave Gray is the founder of XPLANE, the visual thinking company, a consultancy focused on increasing clarity, understanding and alignment in organizations. His first book, Gamestorming, has sold more than 100,000 copies and has been translated into 16 languages.
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Top customer reviews
First, I love Dave Gray (founder of xplane). He probably doesn’t know that and that’s fine. I have been able to observe him in person from a distance on two different occasions; I have seen a few of his videos. I’ve read his books, even his 2.0 book Marks and Meaning. I love him for the way he shows up, huge and humble. And smart.
So, when I read that he released a new book, Amazon had me. And when he mentioned that his source of inspiration and instruction was Cynthia Kurtz, her book, Working with Stories in Your Community or Organization, was delivered in the very same box. I opened the box today, giddy with my treasures.
Back to Dave. I read it in one sitting, but I’m not putting it back on the bookshelf yet. For me, Liminal Thinking reads as a lengthy, informed love letter. Not one of those about my eyes being limpid pools, but one in which the author wants the very best for me because I matter. Yup. He says that. To me. On page 143.
Liminal thinking means that you live on the edge of the possibility of change. Gray describeLove-letters Liminal Thinking as a core need because we each live in a world isolated by our beliefs. Those beliefs filter which facts and experience we pay attention to. Which then reinforce our beliefs. And to see more broadly and to embrace possibility, we need to examine our beliefs. If we want to connect with others, we need to understand their beliefs.
The book appears simple and approachable. There is a chapter for each of 6 principles. Principle 6 is the scariest; that the deepest beliefs reinforce our identity. See, I told you. Scary. “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.”
The second half of the book contains 9 Practices. The principles are clear; the practices are simply stated and, well, practical. For example, if you want to challenge a belief or test it to see if it’s true, act as if it’s not. Gray’s got stories of clear examples for everything he writes about.
I read the book with my “reinforcing belief bubble” on, that Dave Gray is very smart. I’ve still got that bubble. And now I’m sharing it with you.
And. . . last night I stopped my normal pattern when my husband and I began once again talking about how to draw retirement income and asked him about his belief bubble. And just like magic, we were deep in conversation, rather than arguing about who had the right idea. Like I said, practical.
Until I read Chapter 1, titled “Beliefs are models”. And then I wasn’t in a hurry any longer. I wasn’t interested in getting to the end, I wanted to read that chapter again. Even though he started with the story of the blind men and the elephant, a story I’ve heard many times before. A story I’ve heard before, but not really “seen” before.
Not surprisingly, this process repeated itself as I made my way through the book. Though I only made it from front to back once over the weekend, I figure I read the entire book at least 3 times in that period. Reading a chapter, re-reading it, maybe going back a chapter or two to make a connection. And I realized that, contrary to my original thought of just blasting through the book, I didn’t really want to get to the end. I didn’t want the experience of the book to be over.
And speaking of the experience of the book, I need to mention here just how beautifully designed the book is. Beyond the insight and knowledge in the words and drawings Dave gives us, the team at The Heads of State have created a work of art in this book. The most obvious aspect is the cover, but as you read through the book the design elements guide you along, quite unobtrusively, to help you get the most from those words and drawings. Simple touches like the spare use of color, consistent layout of the chapters so that you know when one is starting and when it is ending, and materials that feel luxurious in the hand. Not to mention the fountain pen friendly paper. Do yourself a favor, and get the hard copy book. (Though I will probably also pick up a Kindle version so that I can always have the book on hand.)
At one point in the book Dave acknowledges that some people naturally or intuitively think liminally, and I count myself among those just as you may. I’ve always thought “in systems”, trying to understand the why behind rules, traditions, and behavior. But, as I learned from Dave in this book, I have only been scratching the surface, getting down to maybe the level of a person’s beliefs, maybe their theories about life and the world. Beliefs, as Dave explains, go much deeper than that.
More importantly, I realized that I’ve never really turned that systems view on myself, on my own thinking, to understand how it is I’ve come to be the way I am. I’ve always thought I understood, but now I’m not so sure. I am looking forward to finding out.
A belief, in general, seems like a perfect representation of te world, but, in fact, they are only imperfect models. Beliefs are constructed hierarchically using theories and judgments who are based on selected facts and personal subjective experiences.
We need beliefs as they create a shared world so we can live together, work together and do things together. The book explains how people are simplifying reality in order to make it easier to understand, and there is nothing wrong with it, it is even essential beliefs creates blind spots, which blind you from other possibilities.
The same boundaries that make it possible for us to think also limit what we can conceive.
Beliefs are defending themselves, using a bubble of self-sealing logic, even when they are invalid to protect personal identity.
Why is understanding beliefs and the solution liminal thinking so important?
When people confuse their beliefs with reality, they get into arguments and conflicts, sometimes even wars
In the second part of the book, Dave Gray comes with 9 practices to minimise reality distortion, envision possibilities and create a positive change
Should you need to read this book? YES!
Next time you are in a discussion or you feel something is not right, try to understand the beliefs of the component first. It opens an alternative view of reality and it will give you an advantage to your success