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Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Societyby Peter M Senge
Synopses & Reviews
Presence is an intimate look at the development of a new theory about change and learning. In wide-ranging conversations held over a year and a half, organizational learning pioneers Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers explored the nature of transformational change—how it arises, and the fresh possibilities it offers a world dangerously out of balance. The book introduces the idea of “presence”—a concept borrowed from the natural world that the whole is entirely present in any of its parts—to the worlds of business, education, government, and leadership. Too often, the authors found, we remain stuck in old patterns of seeing and acting. By encouraging deeper levels of learning, we create an awareness of the larger whole, leading to actions that can help to shape its evolution and our future.
Drawing on the wisdom and experience of 150 scientists, social leaders, and entrepreneurs, including Brian Arthur, Rupert Sheldrake, Buckminster Fuller, Lao Tzu, and Carl Jung, Presence is both revolutionary in its exploration and hopeful in its message. This astonishing and completely original work goes on to define the capabilities that underlie our ability to see, sense, and realize new possibilities—in ourselves, in our institutions and organizations, and in society itself.
Peter Senge. C. Otto Scharmer. Joseph Jaworski. Betty Sue Flowers. This remarkable group of leaders met in a Cambridge, Massachusetts, living room for a year to discuss the nature of transformational change—how it is brought about, and how it changes people. This book is the result of their wide-ranging conversations, and introduces the idea of “presence”—a concept from nature, that the whole is entirely present in any of its parts–to business. In making this transition, they ask themselves, and the reader, “What question lies at the heart of my work?” and “How can I set aside my narrow viewpoint and understand the larger whole?” Each author shares deeply personal stories about ways in which they made themselves present in the world, and in doing so, became part of the larger whole.
Drawing on a diverse supporting cast of 150 scientists, social leaders, and entrepreneurs including Rupert Sheldrake, Buckminster Fuller, Lao Tzu, and Carl Jung, Presence explains how profound collective change occurs. This astonishing and completely original work will richly reward readers with an understanding of what it means to be an authentic agent of change.
About the Author
Peter Senge is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the founding chair of SoL, a renowned pioneer, theorist, and writer in the field of management innovation, and the author of the widely acclaimed book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Doubleday/Currency, 1990). C. Otto Scharmer is a lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, a Visiting Professor at the Helsinki School of Economics, and international action researcher, and author of the forthcoming book Theory U: Leading from the Emerging Future. Joseph Jaworski is the chairman of Generon Consulting, cofounder of the Global Leadership Initiative, and author of the critically acclaimed Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership (Berrett-Koehler, 1996). Prior to her current role as director of the Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Betty Sue Flowers was a professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and an international business consultant.
SoL (The Society for Organizational Learning, Inc.), an outgrowth of the former MIT Center for Organizational Learning, is a nonprofit international membership organization that connects researchers, organizations, and consultants in over thirty countries in building knowledge for systemic change. A portion of the net proceeds from SoL publishing sales are reinvested in basic research, applied learning projects, and building a global network of learning communities.
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