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The Power of Collective Wisdom: And the Trap of Collective Folly And the Trap of Collective Folly by Alan Briskin, Sheryl Erickson, Tom Callanan, John Ott

The Power of Collective Wisdom: And the Trap of Collective Folly And the Trap of Collective Folly

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The Power of Collective Wisdom: And the Trap of Collective Folly And the Trap of Collective Folly by Alan Briskin, Sheryl Erickson, Tom Callanan, John Ott

Collective wisdom refers to knowledge and insight gained through group and community interaction. At a deeper level, however, it is about our living connection to each other and the interdependence we share in our neighborhoods, organizations, and world community. Based on nine years of research, The Power of Collective Wisdom shows how we can reliably tap into the extraordinary cocreative potential that exists whenever human beings gather together. Stories and historical examples illustrate how collective wisdom has emerged in a range of cultures, settings, and traditions, and the authors offer a set of practices to help readers realize the key lessons of the book. Praise for The Power of Collective Wisdom This book, full of experience-based principles and practices, can help everyone learn how to access the wisdom of groups and communities. Equally important, it can help us avoid the power of collective folly -- and, I might add, collective evil -- of which we have seen too much in our time. -Parker J. Palmer author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach The Power of Collective Wisdom gives the world a new vocabulary to distinguish the various states and stages of wisdom. Finally, a book that explains what collecitive wisdom is, and how to harness this wisdom if we hope to survive as a species! -Peter Coughlan, Partner and Coleader of Transformation Practice, IDEO Wisdom appears most readily when we are willing to be together, in patience, acceptance and curiosity. This gift of a book reacquaints us with this fundamental human experience and provides gentle, skilled guidance for how we might encourage wisdom to enter us. -Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and Turning To One Another Lao Tzu reminds us that anything propelled by wisdom serves the greater good. The Power of Collective Wisdom illustrates the inspirational possibilities available when the health of the larger whole becomes more important than personal agendas. It is practical, instructive, and relevant to our times. -Angeles Arrien, Ph.D. Editor of the anthology Working Together and author of The Four-Fold Way More Praise for The Power of Collective Wisdom In this time of challenge and change, we need to have hope. People everywhere, from the lowest caste in India to the highest penthouse in New York 's upper eastside, are seeking wisdom This book maps the territory, and points toward a new field of knowing, where together we can effectively explore possible solutions. Indeed, The Power of Collective Wisdom, may be the most important book of our times. -Michael Toms, CEO, New Dimensions Media and author of A Time for Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy, and An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms An extraordinary book filled with powerful insights, evocative stories, and yes, collective wisdom! Beyond the Knowledge Revolution lies the Wisdom Revolution -- and this book points the way. -William Ury, coauthor, Getting to Yes; author of The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop; co-founder Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation This book confirmed what I have learned from my peacebuilding work in Kenya. The conceptual framework provided helps to free us from thinking that narrows our scope to one that broadens our understanding. It asks us to seek individual and collective empowerment of the people and its institutions - recognizing that the answer does not lie within an individual or an organization but through linking periphery and centre, top to bottom, and sectors of society together. -Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, peace activist and recipient of the 2007 The Right Livelihood Award The Power of Collective Wisdom accelerates a movement that is quietly on the rise during this time of vast cultural change. This book names it, outlines the thinkers and leaders and distinguishes-through real life stories and fables-collective wisdom from groupthink gone awry. Accessible and well written, it is a book that will expand your grasp of the role of groups to re-envision the inclusive, peaceful, creative world we all long for. -Lauren Artress, Episcopal priest; author of Walking A Sacred Pat: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool; and founder and Creative Director, Veriditas In an era that desperately needs more comprehensive solutions, this book challenges traditional views of where wisdom resides, shifting us from the individual to the whole. This transformative process both embraces many voices and embodies deep insight for outcomes that are more connective, more intelligent and more complete. -Rev. angel Kyodo williams, author, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, founder of the Center for Transformative Change These days more and more of us need to act together decisively and still avoid folly. The Power of Collective Wisdom provides anyone who is part of a group confronting a crisis with practical approaches for finding the sweet spot where the group's best potential can be realized. -Marvin Southard, DSW, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

About the Author

Alan Briskin is author of the award-winning book The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace and coauthor of Daily Miracles and Bringing Your Soul to Work: An Everyday Practice. Alan is a pioneer in the field of organizational learning and cofounder of the Collective Wisdom Initiative. Sheryl Erickson has been principal investigator for the Collective Wisdom Initiative, seeking to articulate a field of study and practice now identified as that of collective wisdom. She was liaison for executive leadership development with Procter & Gamble (through Innovation Associates' Leadership and Mastery program), then convener and advocate for what would become a field of practice identified as organizational learning. John Ott has designed and led successful collective change efforts for almost thirty years. He has worked with cities, counties, and large human services systems, and designed and led the initial community change processes at the heart of Smart Start, a statewide initiative in North Carolina. John holds a JD from Stanford University and helped launch Hart Leadership Program at Duke University. Tom Callanan is a senior advisor and former program officer at the Fetzer Institute, where he helped to cofound the Collective Wisdom Initiative. During his time at the Fetzer Institute, he helped to establish a number of internationally recognized initiatives, including We Speak as One: Twelve Nobel Laureates Share Their Vision for Peace; The Seasons Fund for Social Transformation; The Conflict Transformation Collaborative; and The Global Youth Leadership Collaborative. He is a writer, group process facilitator, mountaineer, and former Outward Bound instructor.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2009


Alan Briskin, Sheryl Erickson, Tom Callanan, John Ott

More books by Alan Briskin, Sheryl Erickson, Tom Callanan, John Ott
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220 pages


Organizational theory & behaviour
Management decision making



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