Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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“A remarkable book, Presence is a journey from the present to an unknown future, a journey of exploration rather than dogma, and a journey toward a vision of humanity at its highest. Like a good documentary film, Presence is a book with ‘emotional truth,’ a wonderful combination of intellectual and visceral experience.”
—Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance
“At this turbulent juncture in human history, a whole new set of social innovations promises to shift humanity away from its destructive path towards a brighter planetary civilization. Presencing and its U process is one of the most profound. It provides all who want to change the world not only with profound hope, but with a systematic and effective way to birth a sustainable planetary society.”
—Nicanor Perlas, recipient of the 2003 Alternative Nobel Prize and the U.N. Environmental Program Global 500 Award
“If you believe, as I do, that an organization is ultimately a human community, then nothing is more important than how we sense our future and act to create it together. This is something all creative business leaders know yet have found almost impossible to talk about—until Presence.”
—Rich Teerlink, CEO (retired), Harley-Davidson
“Presence is a timely and altogether important book. Drawing on a leading-edge understanding of human learning and awareness, it offers a simple but effective getaway to our capacity to become change agents of the future—in business, work, play, and relationships. Finding our presence is finding the key to creative change and to our own future.”
—Ken Wilber, author of A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality
“Presence is remarkable in at least t...
The authors view large institutions such as global corporations as a new species that are affecting nearly all other life forms on the planet. Rather than look at these systems as merely the extension of a few hyper-powerful individuals, they see them as a dynamic organisms with the potential to learn, grow, and evolve--but only if people exert control over them and actively eliminate their destructive aspects. "But until that potential is activated," they write, "industrial age institutions will continue to expand blindly, unaware of their part in a larger whole or of the consequences of their growth." For global institutions to be recreated in positive ways, there must be individual and collective levels of awareness, followed by direct action. Raising this awareness is what Presence seeks to achieve. Drawing on the insights gleaned from interviews with over 150 leading scientists, social leaders, and entrepreneurs, the authors emphasize what they call the "courage to see freshly"--the ability to view familiar problems from a new perspective in order to better understand how parts and wholes are interrelated.
This is not a typical business book. Mainly theoretical, it does not offer specific tips that organizational managers or directors can apply immediately; rather, it offers powerful tools and ideas for changing the mindset of leaders and unlocking the latent potential to "develop awareness commensurate with our impact, wisdom in balance with our power." --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B000FCKBNO
- Publisher : Currency; 1st edition (August 16, 2005)
- Publication date : August 16, 2005
- Language : English
- File size : 4268 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 289 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #174,437 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book is divided into four parts, the firsts three discuss the deeper learning theory, while the fourth integrates that theory in "the context of a more integrative science, spirituality, and practice of leadership." A very original book, that is both thought provoking on the theoretical/philosophical side and also on the practical side as well.
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
1- "Scenarios can alter people's awareness...If they're used artfully, people actually begin to think about a future that they've ignored or denied. The key is to see the different future not as inevitable, but as one of several genuine possibilities."
2- "Suspension...hanging our assumption in front of us...By doing so, we begin to notice our thoughts and mental models as the workings of our own mind. And as we become aware of our thoughts, they begin to have less influence on what we see. Suspension allows us to "see our seeing"."
3- "Third Possibility: to suspend one's view and then inquire rather than defend. For example, rather than saying nothing or telling the other person why you think he or she is wrong, you can simply say, "That is not the way I see it. My view is...Here is what has led me to see things this way. What has led you to see things differently?" The form of the question doesn't matter. But the sincerity does."
4- "When people who are actually creating a system start to see themselves as the source of their problems, they invariably discover a new capacity to create results they truly desire."
5- "Using scenarios to think about alternative stories of the future is only one of the ways that organizations can become more aware of the assumptions that lie behind their strategies. But without some discipline or practice like this, we tend to get stuck in a story of who we are on this earth as human beings, and something in us wants to break free of it."
6- "If the situation is new, slowing down is necessary. Slow down. Observe. Position yourself. Then act fast and with a natural flow that comes from the inner knowing. You have to slow down long enough to really see what's needed. With a freshness of action, and the overall response on a collective level can be much quicker than trying to implement hasty decisions that aren't compelling to people."
7- "U movement: Sensing - Observe, observe, observe / become one with the world - Presencing - Retreat and reflect / allow inner knowing to emerge - Realizing - Act swiftly with a natural flow"
8- "There's nothing more personal than vision, yet the visions that ultimately prove transformative have nothing to do with us as individuals."
9- "What matters is engagement in the service of a larger purpose rather than lofty aspirations that paralyze action. Indeed it's a dangerous trap to believe that we can pursue only "great visions"."
10- "When you move from crystallizing intent to prototyping, you move from domain of ideas to the domain of action. Not only does this make what is emerging more tangible, it eventually leads to a new level of clarity about the underlying purpose animating the entire undertaking."
11- "You can influence a natural system but you can't control it. It's not surprising that machine thinking has produced institutions that make it virtually impossible for us to live in harmony with nature and with one another."
12- "Globalization is reshaping societies and culture on a scale that has never happened before. Yet the old ideas that those in positions to influence such organizations' power must be committed to cultivation or moral development has all but completely disappeared. I doubt that few even thought what such cultivation means - what it takes to develop a capacity for delayed gratification, for seeing longer term effects of action, for achieving quietness in mind."
13- "If you want to be a great leader...you need to enter seven meditative spaces. These seven spaces - awareness, stopping, calmness, stillness, peace, true thinking, and attainment - can look like one step, but actually, its a long, long, long process."
14- "What distinctive power does exist at the top of hierarchies is usually skewed toward power to destroy rather than the power to build."
15- "The entire U movement arises from seven core capacities and the activities they enable. Each capacity is a gateway to the next activity...Suspending, Redirecting, Letting Go, Letting Come, Crystallizing, Prototyping, Institutionalizing."
In all fairness, there are probably two or three sentences that are really profound. The rest of the book, in my opinion, is just ephemeral fluff.
I started this book three different times and tried to force myself to read it. I just did not enjoy it at all; the hokey-ness of it just could not hold my attention. It could be me, but the book just reeked of psych-babble, feel-good pseudo-science. It probably isn't fair to review a book that I couldn't finish, but I would not recommend this book.
All the diskussions around The U were very inspiring.
The one thing that really hit me was about surrender. The difference between external and internal surrendering hit my Personal mail precisely.
There are few institutions, particularly those associated with the human condition (education, health care, social services, etc.) where this book could not generate great storytelling amongst the readers. There is much suffering in these institutions and the human heart is getting pushed out by tests, bottom lines, and profitability.
But strangely, for me, this is where the book goes dry. It gets bogged in its own narrative. While storytelling is an effective means of expressing emotion and matters of the heart, it seems to run longer than necessary in this book, so much so that it causes its message, at least for me, to become diluted and vague. Readers of the eastern religions would not be unfamiliar with the "approaches" proposed by the authors, but the discussion this generates will be overly familiar and superfluous to those readers while leaving others, less familiar to the material and needing more topic development, scratching their head and giving up on the book as "spiritual groupie fluff-talk." It fails to connect deeply enough.
After reading the book, I thought, "I wonder if anything has changed as a result of having read this book?" To that test, and my sense that it failed to do that, I felt the book didn't fulfill its mission and would have been better served with a tighter editorial direction.