- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (July 2 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605099260
- ISBN-13: 978-1605099262
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.1 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 408 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies Paperback – Jul 2 2013
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"A watershed! An inspiring, practical weaving of the inner and outer dimensions of the systemic changes so many around the world are now working toward."
--Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management; Founding Chair, Society for Organizational Learning; and author of The Fifth Discipline
"Scharmer and Kaufer have succeeded in writing the book that has the potential to transform civilization from one based on a rapacious, ego-driven economics to a viable, ecological, awareness-based model. This is a must-read for anyone who cares. It may well be the single most important book you ever read."
--Arthur Zajonc, President, Mind and Life Institute, and author of Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry
"Scharmer and Kaufer provide a creative and practical approach to shifting our economies. I see business as a movement, and this book shares that movement with the world, offering us inspiration to tap into the deeper levels of our humanity and urging us to transform the crises of our times."
--Eileen Fisher, founder, Eileen Fisher, Inc.
"The shift to an eco-system economy is emerging everywhere around us. Otto's and Katrin's clarity in identifying that this shift requires change-makers to expand our thinking from the head to the heart has helped me to be more intentional in designing processes to awaken the hearts of entrepreneurs everywhere. This is a necessary condition for the emergence of the new economy."
--Michelle Long, Executive Director, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
"The purpose of business is to enhance the well-being of society. The 4.0 framework for transforming capitalism matters because it addresses a blind spot in our current discourse: how to create institutional innovations that could shift our economy from ego- to eco-system awareness at the scale of the whole."
--Guilherme Peirao Leal, founder and Cochairman, Natura Cosmeticos
About the Author
Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT, the founding chair of the Presencing Institute, and a founding member of the MIT Green Hub. Scharmer has consulted with global companies, international institutions, and governments in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and with client firms including Daimler, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fujitsu, and Google. He is the author of Theory U and a coauthor of Presence. Author Residence: Arlington, MA
Dr. Katrin Kaufer is a founding member and research director at the Presencing Institute, and Fellow at the Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning She has consulted with mid-sized and global companies, non-profit organizations, the World Bank and with the United Nations Development Program in New York. Author Residence: Arlington, MA
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According to Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, the authors of 'Leading from the Emerging future,' this disruptive period is a precursor to a new society that will rise up out of the ashes of our current destitution like the phoenix of ancient Greek myth. Society is moving from an ego-centric to an eco-centric worldview, which is reshaping everything from the economy to how we relate to one another. This new 'eco-centric' awareness is based on perceiving and acting from a systemic point of view. It derives from the prefix eco which comes from the greek word 'oikos' meaning 'the whole house,' and it places the system before the individuals that are a part of it.
Scharmer and Kaufer feel that leaders should respond to the directions shaping society. Effective leadership is perceiving social trends and responding to them to help shape this eco-centric world which we are about to enter.
Forces of disruption are dictating the evolution of this new eco-centric worldview. These forces are symptoms of several key disconnects. These include the disconnect of finance from the real economy, ecology, institutions, consumerism, governance, and ownership and they derive from three basic divides 1) the ecological divide, 2) the social divide, and 3) the spiritual-cultural divide.
We see the results of the disconnect of finance from the real economy around us as we are still recovering from the 'Great Recession.' Otto Sharmer and Katrin Kaufer feel that this recent recession was the result of a speculative bubble because the financial sector had no where else to invest. This lack of investment opportunity was a consequence of a breakdown in the circulation of money between the financial sector and the real economy. Their cure is to create mechanisms to promote the flow of money back into the real economy again, even going so far as bringing back the concept of indigenous 'gift economies' in which money was invested in needs and resources were routinely redistributed from those who had to those who needed.
Economics is not the only area where Kaufer and Scharmer apply systemic thinking. According to Kaufer and Scharmer, the real problem confronting us is one of perception, and the results of our perception is effecting society at all levels.
We need to change our way of thinking from what is best for us as individuals to what is best for the system as a whole. By transforming our narcissistic thinking we could fix many of the problems haunting society today.
According to Kaufer and Scharmer we could be dragged kicking and screaming into the new 'systemic' worldview that is taking shape or we could embrace the change; for change is what is required of us in this age. Our ecological problems won't go away unless we address them from a holistic perspective instead of merely attempting to bandage the symptoms. The same theme is applied to consumption. Why is there so much unhappiness in wealthy societies? Can money really buy happiness? Again, applying systemic thinking Kaufer and Scharmer perceive a coming age of conscious consumption in which consumers will be conscious of how their buying habits are effecting the system, and curtailing their more destructive consumption habits.
In reality, the perspective that Kaufer and Scharmer are adopting is similar to what mystics have been saying for ages. The main difference could be some of the vocabulary and methodology that they apply throughout their book.
The idea behind the 'u' curve they introduce is transformation, and the application of both western and eastern views of time to create their 'u' curve model. In the western view time always progresses. In the eastern view time circles back upon itself. The 'u' curve they discuss is an attempt at melding together the best of both views.
The stereotype of indigenous/ eastern man is that they are more systems oriented at the expense of their ego. Kaufer and Scharmer apply this stereotype in their analysis of transformation. According to these two thinkers there is a movement back to this original systemic perspective although we are wiser and have learned some things along the way. Therefore we are not merely returning home as prodigal sons. Instead, we are returning wiser with a few new tricks, thus the 'u' curve they utilize to model this movement.
To assist us on this transformation they advocate 'deep listening and presencing.' Again, the idea behind this is a re-direction from an ego to an eco-centric worldview.
Another method they seek to apply is the creation of mechanisms in which systems can self-reflect on themselves. Again, this boils down to transformation at the individual level, leading to systemic change.
As a reader I liked many of the ideas expressed. However, at the same time I felt like the authors were merely re-coating ancient themes of major world belief systems with flowery prose. What is more disillusioning to discerning readers is that this central message has been re-iterated in different ways and we still stumble from one crises to another. Therefore I am not sure how this book is going to really promote the change that Kaufer and Scharmer believe must take place.
Finally, real change comes from applying what we read, and maybe Richard Dawkins is right, maybe there really is a selfish gene, because I don't feel transformed as a result of reading this book. Still, I feel that readers looking for insights into the social forces that are shaping our collective future may find some here, and those seeking systemic solutions to apply to current problems will find gems contained within...
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