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Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges [Paperback]

C Otto Scharmer

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2009 1576757633 978-1576757635 1
We live in a time of massive institutional failure, one that requires a new consciousness
and a new collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, Otto
Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionary
approach to leadership.

What we pay attention to and how we pay attention is key to what we create. What
prevents us from attending to situations more effectively is our blind spot, the inner
place from which our attention and intention originate. It is blind because we are
unaware of how it functions and the enormous influence it has on our perceptions
and hence our actions. By moving through Scharmer's U process, we consciously
access the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self -- the deepest
source of knowledge and inspiration -- in the realm of "presencing," a term coined
by Scharmer that combines the concepts of presence and sensing. Here we are able
to pay attention in a way that allows us to experience the opening of our minds, our
hearts, and our wills. Through this process we shift our awareness, connect with
our best future possibility, and gain the ability to realize it.

Based on ten years of research and action learning and interviews with over 150
practitioners and thought leaders, Theory U develops and explores a new territory
of scientific research, institutional change, and transformational leadership practice.
In exploring the complex dynamics of the blind spot, Scharmer shares much from
his own personal and professional life and draws from a rich diversity of compelling
stories and examples. And he includes dozens of exercises and practices that allow
leaders -- and entire organizations -- to participate fully in creating and bringing forth
the future that is seeking to emerge through us.

"Scharmer's Theory U model of how to open our mind, emotions, and will to
moments of discovery and mutual understanding is profound and much needed." (Edgar Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management)

"Pushes the envelope of current leadership wisdom and invites you to explore the
strongest leadership tool there is: yourself." (Ralf Schneider, Head of Global Talent Management, PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Frequently Bought Together

Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges + Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies + Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future
Price For All Three: CDN$ 57.52

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

C. Otto Scharmer is a senior lecturer at MIT and the founding chair of ELIAS
(Emerging Leaders for Innovation Across Sectors), a program linking twenty leading
global institutions from business, government, and civil society. He has codesigned
and delivered award-winning leadership programs for clients such as Daimler,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Fujitsu. He is the coauthor of Presence.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great book - Inspiring, Awakening, Heart Touching May 16 2007
By L. Zall - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received the book a few days ago. I have ben reading for hours and hours, with just a few necessary breaks for digesting, reflecting, accepting and bringing my own thoughts together. This is one of the few books that is not just interesting when it comes to theory and methods. What makes it special is the mixture of theories and the authors own thoughts, experiences and break through thinking.

It has ben hard to lay the book aside, because it is so intense. And I know this is a book that I will read over and over again - with longer breaks under way - in order to have time for my own thinking. Soon it is time for summer vacation - then I will have lots of time to read the book again - at a lower pace - with the time to let my thougts wander. This is the kind of book that easily trap ones mind up to its own thinking.

To be more precise, what I found so interesting about this book:

- The Blind Spot - our unability to see our own weaknesses, what we do not understand and what we hide from.
- And, what is even more interesting: How to illuminate thr Blind Spot and make it clear to us how it stands in our way of dealing with life in a constructive way. We all have these Blind Spots - and we are unaware about them. Otto Scharmers openness in reveling his own Blind Spots through true life anecdotes made me see some of my own Blind Spots and gave me the will, the commitment and the power to face them. Facing them and seeing how they stand in the way of my True Self gave me the Willpower and Leverage to Confront them without hesitation or fear.
- Behind the Blind Spot lies possibilites to understand what we may be - what kind of a future we can create - in our Full Potential. Otto Scharmer calls this Presencing, which is a good descrption for the process the book led me into.

If you are working with development of organsizations, employees or leaders this book gives you the understanding of the limited outcomes of "Downloading" - which is the most common way of teaching - and what you get out of bringing people through experiences of opening, mind, heart and start to presence the possible future.

This book will probably be a milestone for understanding more of how teaching, laerning happens and that there is more to working with of people, organizations and social systems than we have understood so far.
58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read and a treasury July 8 2007
By Christine Wank - Published on
In his pioneering and brilliant book Theory U, C. Otto Scharmer, senior lecturer at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is taking us on a journey to discover and fully use our sometimes hidden inner sources of generative power, creativity and freedom in order to address the current challenges and emerging complexities in the age of globalization. His book is a synthesis of more than a decade of diligent and in-depth research in the field of management and leadership asking how profound innovation and change comes into our lives, into working teams, organisations and even whole systems.

Scharmer proposes a new model for understanding and conducting profound change and deep learning. Instead of analyzing and referring to old patterns of the past which are often inadequate in addressing the current challenges of our time and which might be even part of the problem itself, his new focus rather is on learning from and bringing into life the best of all future possibilities - a process that he calls presencing.

The leverage and starting point of the journey are less a question of what we do or how we do something - it is much more a question of how we approach or attend to a situation before we actually do something: it is our interior condition, the so-called inner place where any social action is generated and comes into being. This inner place or source is decisive in shaping the quality and result of any social action.
It is exactly that perspective which is missing in our daily perception of the world, in management and leadership literature or even in science in general which is the reason why Scharmer calls it the blind spot of our time. However, becoming aware of our blind spot we at the same time discover an untapped resource and power potential in every one of us that can be used in order to find innovative solutions to current problems and to live up to the best future potential - be it in your personal or professional life, be it in management or even globalization processes.

There are several ways of reading this book. Scharmer`s Theory U can be read as a multi-step process template with the shape of a U in order to fully understand how these innovation and deep learning processes work. Moreover, this book offers a range of principles and practices for individuals, teams and organisations for nurturing our various senses for attending to the world and for bringing the process alive in sensing and implementing the best of all future possibilities. Finally, it might work as an inspiration for your personal and professional journey in sensing what life is calling you to do and in discovering that there might be an even higher and greater future possibility for every one of us that we could not have imagined before.

Scharmer`s Theory U is a treasury full of analytic vigour and empowering inspiration. It is sure to make a great contribution to not only the current discourse on (change) management and leadership theory but also to a growing community of practice committed to collectively create profound change and innovation worldwide.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars crystal clear Jan. 17 2008
By K. E. Schouten Faber - Published on
A clear and concise view about leadership. A scientist who dares to incorporate spirtuality in his findings. It builds bridges between the businese world and the spiritual world. This is the way of the future and gives you the possibilty of really understanding the way to enrich your life in a corporate jungle. Every one, especially leaders should read this book.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Guide to individual and institutional change Feb. 22 2010
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
This is an ambitious book. Leadership consultant and lecturer C. Otto Scharmer provides a theoretical framework for understanding the changes society faces and provides suggestions for institutional and personal transformation. Scharmer explains his process and its goals obsessively, even repetitively, walking you through multidisciplinary examples from his own experience, history and economics. He provides diagrams and breaks down his theories into numbered steps and rules. Still, you may find the book challenging, mainly because Scharmer is dealing with such large issues, but also because his ideas and vocabulary can get mystical. This book requires time and patience aplenty, but if you are open to such reflections, it could be for you. getAbstract recommends it to managers interested in personal change, organizational culture and futurism.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an extraordinary work Nov. 24 2007
By John Inman - Published on
I was at a conference where Otto spoke just a few weeks ago and hearing him speak about Theory U and seeing his passion for the field was inspiring. I would say that this was not a book that I read, I studied it. Presence was an extraordinary conversation and this work helped me understand the depth and the power of the U framework in creating our future drawn from insights from the future.

This is not one of those fad books or consumer business books based on here is what I did so you should do it to. Understanding the U process is a journey and not something you read and go "do". I have a lot of learning and trying to do to start to realize the power of this framework. And there in lies the beauty of this work. I can revisit over and over again and I will never stop learning from the nuances contained within the book.

I highly recommend this book and Otto's other works if you are looking to help create sustainable changes in our world.

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