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Leading from the Emerging Future

Otto Scharmer & Kathrin Kaufer, ca. 280 pages, Berrett-Koehler Publishers (2013)

“We cannot solve problems with the same kind of thinking that created them” (A. Einstein). According to Scharmer and Kaufer, the modern world is characterised by a gap between the structural reality and the economic thought. Amongst others, this includes a disconnection between the financial and the real economy and a divide between the infinite growth imperative and the finite resources of Planet Earth. In order to close this gap, the authors develop a concept building on the so-called Theory U. The key message is clear: we have to evolve from a rather self-centred attitude to holistic thinking, which fosters the well-being of all. This journey starts within every single one of us and reaches out to the people, the organizations and the planet around us. At the same time, the authors emphasize that there is no such thing as 1 sustainable business. It is rather the cooperation of many persons and organizations, which jointly lead the way into a bright future. In general, Scharmer and Kaufer build a bridge from a very philosophical approach to concrete guidelines and current initiatives, which set a good example. The fact that the book is taking a rather abstract approach means that the reader has to fully engage himself/herself in this journey, in order to benefit from the valuable ideas given in the text.

Tripl3Leader recommends this book to change-makers in all sectors who want to reflect on the underlying cause and solution of dysfunctional structures in the economy and in the society. The argumentation of the authors, as well as journal questions and suggestions for circle conversations, allow the book to act as a manual for those who want to evolve from ego- to eco-system awareness. It is also a source of inspiration for more sustainable thinking.

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