What Michael is reading these days:

  • Leadership and Self-Deception (2010), The Arbinger Institute = For too long, the issue of self-deception has been the realm of deep-thinking philosophers, academics, and scholars working on the central questions of the human sciences. The public remains generally unaware of the issue. That would be fine except that self-deception is so pervasive that it touches every aspect of life. “Touches” is perhaps too gentle a word to describe its influence. Self-deception actually determines one’s experience in every aspect of life. The extent to which it does that – and in particular the extent to which it determines the nature of one’s influence on, and experience of, others – is the subject of this book. …..If you are interested to explore this book more, you can download this 11-page PDF summary here.
  • The Pause Principle (2012), Kevin Cashman =  We live and lead in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. But paradoxically, Kevin Cashman contends that leaders today must not merely act more quickly but pause more deeply. He details a catalytic process to guide you to step back in order to lead forward in three critical growth areas: personal leadership, development of others, and fostering of cultures of innovation. You and your organization will learn to move from management speed and transaction to leadership significance and transformation.  Hear what Kevin has to say about “pause” and leadership capacity view this clip
  • (re-reading) Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation (1991) = In this important theoretical treatise, Jean Lave, anthropologist, and Etienne Wenger, computer scientist, push forward the notion of situated learning–that learning is fundamentally a social process and not solely in the learner’s head. The authors maintain that learning viewed as situated activity has as its central defining characteristic a process they call legitimate peripheral participation. Learners participate in communities of practitioners, moving toward full participation in the sociocultural practices of a community. View the Table of Contents and read the Forward (11 pages) here. Also, read an excerpt PDF here: Lave, Situating learning in communities of practice
  • Humanize: how people-centric organizations succeed in a social world (2012) = Knowing the tools of social media is a must for successful marketing these days, but the real promise of social media is the way it can teach us a whole new way of doing business. Humanize takes the principles underlying social media’s growth and applies them to the way we lead and manage our organizations. Learn more by visiting the humanize book website
  • Thinking Fast and Slow (2011), Farrar, Straus & Giroux…description below (Jean)
  • Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (2008) = Addressing the pervasive longing for meaning and fulfillment in this time of crisis. This book introduces a visionary ecopsychology of human development that reveals how fully and creatively we can mature when soul and wild nature guide us. website
  • Leading from the Emerging Future (2013) = We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer ask, why do we collectively create results nobody wants? Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating systems from an obsolete “ego-system” focused entirely on the well-being of oneself to an eco-system awareness that emphasizes the well-being of the whole. Filled with real-world examples, this thought-provoking guide presents proven practices for building a new economy that is more resilient, intentional, inclusive, and aware.
  • MEMEnomics; the next generation economic system (2013) = A new branch of social science that studies patterns of economic policies and practices by taking an integral, whole-systems approach to economic sustainability. …Said E. Dawlabani reframes our economic history and the future of capitalism through the unique prism of a culture’s value systems…the hierarchical nature of human development.
  • Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel (1953) = …a classic work on eastern philosophy.
  • Mind and Nature; A Necessary Unity (2002), Gregory Bateson =
  • Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972), Gregory Bateson = These essays, written over 35 years, combine to propose a new way of thinking about ideas and about those aggregates of ideas that Bateson termed minds. This book builds a bridge between the facts of life and behaviour and what we know about the nature of patterns and order.
  • The Never Ending Quest (2005) = A compilation of the work of Clare W. Graves (the source research(er) for what later became ‘Spiral Dynamics’)
  • What Did You Say?; the art of giving and receiving feedback (1999) = As the author’s state: Feedback can be defined as information about past behaviour delivered in the present which may influence future behaviour.

What Jean is reading these days:

  • Leadership and Self-Deception (2010), The Arbinger Institute — description above…
  • When Women Were Birds–fifty-four variations on voice (2012)  Farrar, Straus & Giroux — In her latest book Terry Tempest Williams takes her audience with a firm grip and engages us fully in an intimate and provocative memoir on finding the full power of her voice.  She explores deeply her life’s paradoxes–values, philosophy, mental models, culture, Mormon religion, the place of women and their influence/power, mothers, sisters, and the complexity of human impact on the very earthly, life-giving ecological system we live upon and within.  Rage + Confusion + Grief + Accountability = Love.  Her courage and intimacy will rock your soul.
  • Thinking Fast and Slow (2011), Farrar, Straus & Giroux = Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel prize winner in economics, takes you on a enriching discovery of thinking about how you think.  Drawing upon illustrative experiments and using very accessible language, Kahneman engages us in understanding how we make meaning and therefore make our choices.  In the ‘divided’ mind, we begin to understand two systems of thinking–System 1 is fast, intuitive and emotional;  System 2 is slower, deliberative and moves more logically.  We all work with both systems;  what’s possible though is how we effectively use each system once understood.
  • The Night Circus (2011), Anchor Books = Are you ready for being absolutely captivated by the most mesmerizing, all-senses-engaged story telling?  There are very few books out there that after reading the last page and closing the book, I am now ready to read it all over again…AND do so immediately.  Erin Morgenstern’s first novel will no doubt grab you even you if don’t believe in magic because of her brilliant ability and capacity to engage all of you–your senses, your imagination and your mind in the wonder of the environment you are drawn into.  This book is a deep exploration of Craft…the artistry and practice of illusion.  My second read deepened my own sensibility of what it takes to develop and deepen a ‘practice’ taking it to the level of Craft and artistry in the world…however it shows up.
  • POST WAR — a history of Europe since 1945 (2005), Penguin = I am not a history buff however, Tony Judt’s  social history of reconstructing nation-states across western and eastern Europe, devastated physically, emotionally, structurally and mentally, is a tour de force of research and meaning making.  This is a read that takes time and patience to grapple with the detailed impacts and nuances that lay the foundation for completely new territorial, cultural, structural and philosophical boundaries.  He comprehensively lays out the complex interdependencies of political alliances and agreements which were cobbled together as a result of WWII  and help us understand how they become the underpinnings of what is to come in the future such as the Cold War.


Films/Productions Michael appreciates:

  • (January 2013) The Hobbit…Les Miserable…Jack Reacher…Lincoln (5-star!) …Impossible (5-star!)
  • Discovery Channel special: Earth from Space
  • National Geographic: Clash of the Continents
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • 42
  • After Earth
  • Paranoia
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Closed Circuit
  • Lee Daniel’s, The Butler
  • Salinger
  • Prisoners
  • Captain Phillips
  • Watermark
  • Fifth Estate
  • All is Lost
  • The Book Thief
  • Nebraska
  • Saving Mr Banks
  • August: Osage County
  • Divergent
  • Fed Up? (a must see — and I rarely make such a strong recommendation)
  • Locke
  • Divergent
  • Unbroken
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • *** Citizenfour ***  (a must see!)
  • Still Alice

Films/Productions Jean appreciates:

I am miserably behind in what’s up with current films.  BUT…I have been completely obsessed with watching all seven seasons of the West Wing TV series which captivated me throughout its successful run years ago.  The original writing of Alan Sorkin and stunning, unrelenting performance of the cast, remains unbelievably relevant and germain in today’s world with the complex issues facing us and our administration today.  Funny thing…it is not about history repeating itself but rather, the question remains…what have we learned over all of these years of addressing the same issues and challenges nationally and globally?


What Michael is learning about these days:

  • Apithology… Apithology is the discipline that looks at the dynamics of generative health and wellness in living systems. The present focus of research in this field is to combine knowledge domains from the fields of biology, sociology and psychology to understand all that we may about the biopsychosocial health of humanity. The vision for this research is to discover the generative potential for the wellbeing of humanity. Learn more by visiting the Apithology web site

What Jean is learning about these days:

  • Growing our own food–from start to finish — including experimenting with long term storage, growing beans for winter food as dried beans, ‘dent’ or ‘flint’ corn for grinding into polenta and a huge winter squash bed for long term food.  We are not strident about this commitment to producing our own food and knowing where, that which we don’t produce, comes from locally.  But it is a way of life that requires nurturing…fertilizing new ideas and experiments, then learning from what works, tried and true, and what produces well for the effort required.
  • I am learning to age with grace continuing to be physically and mentally very active while also being aware of how the aging body tells us of its slowly increasing constraints.  It is humbling.