A Simpler Way

by Margaret Wheatley, Myron Kellner-Rogers

Publication date: 03/01/2009

Bestseller over 75,000+ copies sold

A Simpler Way

A BusinessWeek bestseller

From the author of the bestselling Leadership and the New Science

"We want life to be less arduous and more delightful. We want to be able to think differently about how to organize human activities." So begins A Simpler Way, an exploration of a radically different worldview that will reshape how we think about organizing all human endeavors.

Margaret J. Wheatley and coauthor Myron Kellner-Rogers explore the question: "How could we organize human endeavor if we developed different understandings of how life organizes itself?" They draw on the work of scientists, philosophers, poets, novelists, spiritual teachers, colleagues, audiences, and their own experience in search of new ways of understanding life and how organizing activities occur. A Simpler Way presents a profoundly different worldview that can change how we live our lives and how we can create organizations that thrive.

A Simpler Way explores fundamental new beliefs about organizations and life. Like Leadership and the New Science, this new book is rooted in science but breaks new ground by developing insights from literature, spiritual teachings, and direct experience. The authors challenge many assumptions about life, organizations, and change, while providing inspiration and guidance for readers on their own journey to a simpler way to organize their endeavors.

The authors describe a new paradigm of life as self-organizing and coevolving, drawing on sources that support modern science but predate its findings by thousands of years. They examine five major themes-play, organization, self, emergence, and coherence-each grounded in both the science and philosophy of a world that knows how to organize itself. Each theme is explored in depth, and then applied to how we think about human organizations.

The book begins and ends with photo essays, providing visual imagery that recalls readers to their own experience with a world that is creative, playful, and self-organizing. Written in a relaxed, poetic, and inviting style, the book welcomes the reader into this exploration of a new way of being in the world, one which can give us increased organizing capacity and effectiveness with less of the stress that plagues us now.

• A BusinessWeek bestseller
• From the author of the bestselling Leadership and the New Science

Read more and meet author below


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Overview

A BusinessWeek bestseller

From the author of the bestselling Leadership and the New Science

"We want life to be less arduous and more delightful. We want to be able to think differently about how to organize human activities." So begins A Simpler Way, an exploration of a radically different worldview that will reshape how we think about organizing all human endeavors.

Margaret J. Wheatley and coauthor Myron Kellner-Rogers explore the question: "How could we organize human endeavor if we developed different understandings of how life organizes itself?" They draw on the work of scientists, philosophers, poets, novelists, spiritual teachers, colleagues, audiences, and their own experience in search of new ways of understanding life and how organizing activities occur. A Simpler Way presents a profoundly different worldview that can change how we live our lives and how we can create organizations that thrive.

A Simpler Way explores fundamental new beliefs about organizations and life. Like Leadership and the New Science, this new book is rooted in science but breaks new ground by developing insights from literature, spiritual teachings, and direct experience. The authors challenge many assumptions about life, organizations, and change, while providing inspiration and guidance for readers on their own journey to a simpler way to organize their endeavors.

The authors describe a new paradigm of life as self-organizing and coevolving, drawing on sources that support modern science but predate its findings by thousands of years. They examine five major themes-play, organization, self, emergence, and coherence-each grounded in both the science and philosophy of a world that knows how to organize itself. Each theme is explored in depth, and then applied to how we think about human organizations.

The book begins and ends with photo essays, providing visual imagery that recalls readers to their own experience with a world that is creative, playful, and self-organizing. Written in a relaxed, poetic, and inviting style, the book welcomes the reader into this exploration of a new way of being in the world, one which can give us increased organizing capacity and effectiveness with less of the stress that plagues us now.

• A BusinessWeek bestseller
• From the author of the bestselling Leadership and the New Science

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Margaret Wheatley



Margaret Wheatley writes, teaches, and speaks about radically new practices and ideas for organizing in chaotic times. She works to create organizations of all types where people are known as the blessing, not the problem. She is president of The Berkana Institute, a charitable global foundation serving life-affirming leaders around the world, and has been an organizational consultant for many years, as well as a professor of management in two graduate programs. Her latest book, Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future proposes that real social change comes from the ageless process of people thinking together in conversation. Wheatley’s work also appears in two award-winning books, Leadership and the New Science and A Simpler Way (with Myron Kellner-Rogers) plus several videos and articles. She draws many of her ideas from new science and life’s ability to organize in self-organizing, systemic, and cooperative modes. And, increasingly her models for new organizations are drawn from her understanding of many different cultures and spiritual traditions. Her articles and work can be accessed at www.margaretwheatley.com, or 801-377-2996 in Utah, USA.


Visit Author Page - Myron Kellner-Rogers

Myron Kellner-Rogers is a principal of Kellner-Rogers & Wheatley, Inc. and a founder and trustee of The Berkana Institute. With two decades of experience as both a consultant and executive, Myron's work focuses on applying insight from the new sciences of chaos, complexity, and self-organizing systems to assist organizations in coping with turbulent environments. Kellner-Rogers & Wheatley is committed to working with clients on organizational planning and change processes that involve all stakeholders in creating their desired focus and form. Their clients encompass a wide variety of organizations, ranging from Fortune 500 companies, to healthcare, educational, governmental, and non-profit institutions, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Kellner-Rogers is a frequent key-note speaker in the U.S. and abroad, presenting seminars to senior executives, organization teams, community groups and professional associations.

At the Berkana Institute, Kellner-Rogers has led formal dialogues with managers, consultants, educators, and scientists in an on-going inquiry into how we can simplify and redesign our organizations by applying insights from new science. He is coauthor of A Simpler Way.

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Table of Contents



Photo Essay

Prologue: A Simpler Way

Chapter 1. Play: Organizing as Play
Chapter 2. Organization: Organization as Organizing
Chapter 3. Self: Selves Organizing
Chapter 4. Emergence: Emerging Organization
Chapter 5. The Motions of Coherence

Epilogue: A Simpler Way

Photo Essay

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Endorsements




"A Simpler Way is a marvelous raid on the unspeakable and invisible world which permeates every human attempt to work together. The writing is meditative, clear and uncluttered, yet exactly to the point. Destined to be a classic."

—David Whyte, poet and author of The Hearth Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

"A Simpler Way is nothing less than a generous gift from the authors.... In an evocative, almost poetic, style they lead us with thought, care, and great gentleness, through a philosophy which observes life as always moving toward organization, and organization as ultimately affirming of life itself."

—James A. Autry, author of Love and Profit and Life and Work

"This inviting and courageous book illuminates the new organizational paradigm in a profound and poetic way. It is filled with hope, insight, and penetrating questions that lift us to a universe abounding in new possibilities. The issues it raises-about how we organize work and how we can create together-are of such depth and scope that we will be inquiring into their meaning for years to come. I so love and admire this work."

—Richard N. Knowles, Ph.D., Director, Community Awareness and Emergency Response, DuPont Corporation

"If you care about authentic change and want your faith in human systems affirmed, drop everything and read this book."

—Peter Block, author of Stewardship and The Empowered Manager
"There is an emerging lexicon for enabling and sustaining dynamic, playful, purposeful, and coherent organizations. Margaret J. Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers are teaching us this new language of integration, connection, and interdependence, of adaptation, patterns and inherent order and possibility. If we don't learn to speak it, our current organizations will not survive. Please read this book over and over until the words and meanings begin to seep into your soul."

—Stephanie Pace Marshall, Executive Director, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

"Warning: Reading this book could transform your life. The revolutionary assertion of this wonderfully poetic book is that life on earth is creative, experimenting, and self-organizing. Organization is trying to happen; often our efforts to manage it actually get in the way. Adopting this new philosophy, much of what we do in organizations will change profoundly. "

—Willis Harman, President, The Institute of Noetic Sciences

"Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers have the unique ability of understanding the essence of the emerging science of complexity and applying it to the business world. An inspiring book."

—Fritjof Capra, author of The Turning Point and The Web of Life

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