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So Far from Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World (BK Life)by Margaret J Wheatley
Synopses & Reviews
We live in a time of increasing extremism and polarization, where the distinction between fact and opinion has been lost. Instant electronic interaction has replaced thoughtful human interaction. Organizations are bloated by bureaucracy and meaningless measures. Those working for positive change are exhausted, ill and heart-sick as their good work is ignored, underfunded or attacked.
We need to acknowledge that we're lost in a world far different than we hoped for. We need new maps to navigate our brave new world. In Leadership and the New Science, Wheatley provided encouraging maps for how to design organizations based on living systems' capacity for creativity, change and adaptation. But in the 20 years since its publication she’s seen that in spite of our best efforts the world that's emerged is on a destructive trajectory that won't be reversed by our working harder, finding new methods, or forming better networks.
But Wheatley has not written a book to increase our despair. Quite the contrary. In the same vein as her bestselling book, Perseverance, her intention is to inspire us to move forward with greater resolve and energy, using maps that won’t mislead us. One kind of map shows us where we are now—she offers a penetrating critique of popular culture. But a second kind of map invites us to choose a new role for ourselves as warriors for the human spirit. This map helps us develop the skills we need most—insight, bravery, decency, compassion— to discover our right work and create meaningful lives in this dark time.
Profoundly reflective yet down-to earth—rooted in the day-to-day experiences we all share—So Far From Home is both affirming and provoking, calling us to reexamine our expectations and redefine our role for the work ahead.
This work consists of intimate, personal reflections on lessons learned and trends observed in the twenty years since the publication of the groundbreaking book Leadership and the New Science (LNS). It includes Wheatley's most recent thinking, perspectives, and feelings about where we've come in the years since then. The primary conceit of LNS was of a “voyage of discovery'” to new lands whose contours were only beginning to come into view: a land of promise, new ways of thinking, a simpler way to be together in organizations. Twenty years later, Wheatley now wants to share what she sees and feels from being on that voyage. It's been a time of incalculable change, especially as society and culture have been affected and changed by the rise of technology, the human interface with the internet and severe ecological crises.
Her focus will be on the following themes:
+ The invisible connections and influences that affect us faster than the speed of light (literally)
+ The way in which small disturbances cascade into global consequences
+ The creation of dynamic, constantly shifting relationships which are primary, not abstract and "soft"
+ Life, even in its most material form, changes constantly. Nothing is deterministic; everything is capable of changing.
We live in a time of increasing extremism and polarization, where the distinction between fact and opinion has been lost. Sterile electronic interaction has replaced warm human connection. Organizations of all kinds seem to grow ever more bloated and unresponsive, fueled only by greed and a thirst for power.
We need to acknowledge that we're lost in a world far different than we hoped for. We once thought we had “maps” that would lead us to a better place—books, theories, strategies. But, as Wheatley explains, the world is far too complex and dynamic for a simple “if we do this, we’ll get that” approach. Still, this can be deeply discouraging.
But Wheatley has not written a book to increase our despair. Quite the contrary. In the same vein as her bestselling book, Perseverance, her intention is to inspire us to move forward with greater resolve and energy, using maps that won’t mislead us. One kind of map shows us where we are now—she offers a sweeping critique of popular culture. But a second kind of map invites us to choose a new role for ourselves as warriors for the human spirit. This map helps us develop the skills we need most—insight, bravery, decency, compassion— to discover our right work and create meaningful lives in this dark time.
Profoundly reflective yet paradoxically down-to-earth—rooted in the concrete, day-to-day experiences we all share—So Far From Home is Wheatley’s most personal, heartfelt work to date.
AN INVITATION TO WARRIORSHIP
I wrote this book for you if you offer your work as a contribution to others, whatever your work might be, and if now you find yourself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and sometimes despairing even as you paradoxically experience moments of joy, belonging, and greater resolve to do your work.
This book describes how we can do our good work with dedication, energy, discipline, and joy by consciously choosing a new role for ourselves, that of warriors for the human spirit.
This book contains maps of how we ended up in a world nobody wants—overtaken by greed, self-interest, and oppressive power—the very opposite of what we worked so hard to create. These maps look deeply into the darkness of this time so that we can develop the insight we need to contribute in meaningful ways.
This book provides maps for the future, how we can transform our grief, outrage, and frustration into the skills of insight and compassion to serve this dark time with bravery, decency, and gentleness.
As warriors for the human spirit, we discover our right work, work that we know is ours to do no matter what. We engage wholeheartedly, embody values we cherish, let go of outcomes, and carefully attend to relationships. We serve those issues and people we care about, focused not so much on making a difference as on being a difference.
Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Silver Award in the category of Inner Prosperity/Right Livelihood.
About the Author
Margaret Wheatley is a well-respected global writer, speaker, and teacher for how we can accomplish our work, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve in this troubling time. She has authored six books and dozens of articles. She is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, which works in partnership with a rich diversity of people and communities around the world, especially in the Global South.
Table of Contents
1. Endlessly entangled
2 Distracted world
3. Lost in complexity
4. Controlling uncertainty
5. All-consuming selves
6. Partnering with life
7. Knowing right work
8. Choosing to persevere
9. Beyond hope and fear
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