Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

One of our greatest living scientists–and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for On Human Nature and The Ants–gives us a work of visionary importance that may be the crowning achievement of his career. In Consilience (a word that originally meant “jumping together”), Edward O. Wilson renews the Enlightenment’s search for a unified theory of knowledge in disciplines that range from physics to biology, the social sciences and the humanities.

Using the natural sciences as his model, Wilson forges dramatic links between fields. He explores the chemistry of the mind and the genetic bases of culture. He postulates the biological principles underlying works of art from cave-drawings to Lolita. Presenting the latest findings in prose of wonderful clarity and oratorical eloquence, and synthesizing it into a dazzling whole, Consilience is science in the path-clearing traditions of Newton, Einstein, and Richard Feynman.

Making the World Safe for our Children: Down-regulating Defence and Up-regulating Social Engagement to ‘Optimise’ the Human Experience

The Polyvagal Theory helps us understand how cues of risk and safety, which are continuously monitored by our nervous system, influence our physiological and behavioral states. The theory emphasizes that humans are on a quest to calm neural defense systems by detecting features of safety. This quest is initiated at birth when the infant needs for being soothed are dependent on the caregiver. The quest continues throughout the lifespan with needs for trusting friendships and loving partnerships to effectively co-regulate each other. The Polyvagal Theory proposes that through the process of evolution, social connectedness evolved as the primary biological imperative for mammals in their quest for survival. Functionally, social connectedness enabled proximity and co-regulation of physiological state between conspecifics starting with the mother-infant relationship and extending through the lifespan with other significant partners. The theory explains why feeling safe requires a unique set of cues to the nervous system that are not equivalent to physical safety or the removal of threat. The theory emphasizes the importance of safety cues emanating through reciprocal social interactions that dampen defense and how these cues can be distorted or optimized by environmental and bodily cues.

Thom Bond: “Teaching Compassion at Scale” | Talks at Google

Thom Bond, founder New York Center for Nonviolent Communication (NYCNVC), visited Google MTV to discuss the Compassion Course Online (compassioncourse.org). Since 2011, more than 12,000 people in 110 countries have learned to communicate compassionately through this year-long course. As a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), it grows in participation every year and is now offered in four languages, funded entirely through donations.

Moderated by Earl J. Wagner, Google’s local Compassionate Communication trainer and Google engineer.

Symbiosis in Development Book

This unique first edition hardcover of the Symbiosis in Development framework is the first complete handbook and reference manual from theory to practice on sustainable development and societal transitions.

SiD creates a complete language and backbone structure for all aspects associated with sustainable development. This includes systems thinking, the circular economy, natural capital, climate adaptation, and true value costing. Its method combines design thinking with a practical co-creation methods. SiD’s process tools allow a team to innovate new, groundbreaking solutions from A to Z. It connects a wide range of sustainability approaches, including the circular economy, the blue economy, natural capital, design thinking, the Sustainable Development Goals, co-creation, biomimicry, and Impact Design.

The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action

A leading M.I.T. social scientist and consultant examines five professions—engineering, architecture, management, psychotherapy, and town planning—to show how professionals really go about solving problems.The best professionals, Donald Schön maintains, know more than they can put into words. To meet the challenges of their work, they rely less on formulas learned in graduate school than on the kind of improvisation learned in practice. This unarticulated, largely unexamined process is the subject of Schön’s provocatively original book, an effort to show precisely how ”reflection-in-action” works and how this vital creativity might be fostered in future professionals.

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

This book argues that the division of the brain into two hemispheres is essential to human existence, making possible incompatible versions of the world, with quite different priorities and values.

Most scientists long ago abandoned the attempt to understand why nature has so carefully segregated the hemispheres, or how to make coherent the large, and expanding, body of evidence about their differences. In fact to talk about the topic is to invite dismissal. Yet no one who knows anything about the area would dispute for an instant that there are significant differences: it’s just that no-one seems to know why. And we now know that every type of function – including reason, emotion, language and imagery – is subserved not by one hemisphere alone, but by both.

This book argues that the differences lie not, as has been supposed, in the ‘what’ – which skills each hemisphere possesses – but in the ‘how’, the way in which each uses them, and to what end. But, like the brain itself, the relationship between the hemispheres is not symmetrical. The left hemisphere, though unaware of its dependence, could be thought of as an ’emissary’ of the right hemisphere, valuable for taking on a role that the right hemisphere – the ‘Master’ – cannot itself afford to undertake. However it turns out that the emissary has his own will, and secretly believes himself to be superior to the Master. And he has the means to betray him. What he doesn’t realize is that in doing so he will also betray himself.

The book begins by looking at the structure and function of the brain, and at the differences between the hemispheres, not only in attention and flexibility, but in attitudes to the implicit, the unique, and the personal, as well as the body, time, depth, music, metaphor, empathy, morality, certainty and the self. It suggests that the drive to language was not principally to do with communication or thought, but manipulation, the main aim of the left hemisphere, which manipulates the right hand. It shows the hemispheres as no mere machines with functions, but underwriting whole, self-consistent, versions of the world. Through an examination of Western philosophy, art and literature, it reveals the uneasy relationship of the hemispheres being played out in the history of ideas, from ancient times until the present. It ends by suggesting that we may be about to witness the final triumph of the left hemisphere – at the expense of us all.

Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge

Today’s economy is fueled by knowledge. Every leader knows this to be true, yet few have systematic methods for converting organizational knowledge into economic value. This book argues that communities of practice–groups of individuals formed around common interests and expertise–provide the ideal vehicle for driving knowledge-management strategies and building lasting competitive advantage. Written by leading experts in the field, Cultivating Communities of Practice is the first book to outline models and methods for systematically developing these essential groups. Through compelling research and company examples, including DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, authors Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder show how world-class organizations have leveraged communities of practice to drive strategy, generate new business opportunities, solve problems, transfer best practices, develop employees’ professional skills, and recruit and retain top talent. Underscoring the new central role communities of practice are playing in today’s knowledge economy, Cultivating Communities of Practice is the definitive guide to fostering, designing, and developing these powerful groups within and across organizations.

The Tyranny of Words

The pioneering and still essential text on semantics, urging readers to improve human communication and understanding with precise, concrete language.

In 1938, Stuart Chase revolutionized the study of semantics with his classic text, The Tyranny of Words. Decades later, this eminently useful analysis of the way we use words continues to resonate. A contemporary of the economist Thorstein Veblen and the author Upton Sinclair, Chase was a social theorist and writer who despised the imprecision of contemporary communication. Wide-ranging and erudite, this iconic volume was one of the first to condemn the overuse of abstract words and to exhort language users to employ words that make their ideas accurate, complete, and readily understood.

The Trouble With Testosterone: And Other Essays On The Biology Of The Human Predicament

From the man who Oliver Sacks hailed as “one of the best scientist/writers of our time,” a collection of sharply observed, uproariously funny essays on the biology of human culture and behavior.

In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould and Oliver Sacks, Robert Sapolsky offers a sparkling and erudite collection of essays about science, the world, and our relation to both. “The Trouble with Testosterone” explores the influence of that notorious hormone on male aggression. “Curious George’s Pharmacy” reexamines recent exciting claims that wild primates know how to medicate themselves with forest plants. “Junk Food Monkeys” relates the adventures of a troop of baboons who stumble upon a tourist garbage dump. And “Circling the Blanket for God” examines the neurobiological roots underlying religious belief.

Drawing on his career as an evolutionary biologist and neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky writes about the natural world vividly and insightfully. With candor, humor, and rich observations, these essays marry cutting-edge science with humanity, illuminating the interconnectedness of the world’s inhabitants with skill and flair.

The Mind in the Making – The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform

James Harvey Robinson (1863 – 1936) was an American Historian. In his writings he stressed the “new history” – the social, scientific, and intellectual progress of humanity rather than merely political happening. The Mind in the Making: The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform was published in 1921. In the beginning of the book Robinson states his purpose as follows: “As an old Stoic proverb has it, men are tormented by the opinions they have of things, rather than by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems to-day. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently availing ourselves of them. The object of this book is to substantiate this proposition, to exhibit with entire frankness the tremendous difficulties that stand in the way of such a beneficent change of mind, and to point out as clearly as may be some of the measures to be taken in order to overcome them.” He goes on to say: “I come back, then, to my original point that in this examination of existing facts history, by revealing the origin of many of our current fundamental beliefs, will tend to free our minds so as to permit honest thinking. Also, that the historical facts which I propose to recall would, if permitted to play a constant part in our thinking, automatically eliminate a very considerable portion of the gross stupidity and blindness which characterize our present thought and conduct in public affairs, and would contribute greatly to developing the needed scientific attitude toward human concerns–in other words, to _bringing the mind up to date_.”