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Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

We bring you books we are excited about with a few words from the recommending member of the Newfield Team.  Enjoy!

The Ascent of Humanity

By Charles Eisenstein
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
What an extraordinary book!  One of the best that I've read in many years.  It is an act of profound love for life and for the universe.  It is original, innocent, and of great depth and scope. The main claim of the author is that all crises of our time are the consequence of our definition of ourselves as "discrete subjects separate from each other and separate from the world around us."  This book will have a great impact on ontological coaches.  The range of issues that it covers, the courage to explore realms that many people prefer not even to consider, and the cosmological, epistemological, and ontological coherence that offers is simply amazing. Truly a fearless and rigorous read.

The author portrays a somber future, while at the same time he builds an honest hope.  Reading it is a must for us in our community, and I also believe is a must for all of us who care about the present state of affairs on the planet.  Give yourself time to reflect and to wonder on Charles' words.  It will open conversations in all domains. It is a jewel—a book that will rank among the giants.

The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God

By Rupert Sheldrake
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
This wonderful book explores the roots and evolution of conventional science to take a fresh look at humanity's place in the Universe.  It's a beautifully written and spiritually oriented reflection that forces us to be aware of the basic preconceptions in our society that have led to devastating consequences.  Sheldrake writes: "We urgently need to find practical ways of re-establishing our conscious sense of connection with living nature.  Recognizing the life of nature demands a revolution in the way we live our lives. And we have no time to lose."  I strongly recommend it.

Tribes

By Seth Godin
Recommended by: Terrie Lupberger, Newfield program coach
As renowned author and marketing guru, Seth Godin writes in his small but powerful book, Tribes, "A tribe is any group of people, large or small who are connected to one another, a leader and an idea." He goes on to write that leadership is about creating change that you believe in.  Using simple and relevant distinctions, this book unleashes the possibility that anyone of us can take ownership of what we care about and lead others to change.  It's a quick and easy read yet filled with provocations to challenge traditional thinking.  From that perspective, it's an ontological gem.

As you read it, consider: What is the change that YOU are willing to lead for?  Who's your tribe?  In what ways can you organize and mobilize your tribe on behalf of what you care about?

Intelligence in Nature: An Inquiry into Knowledge

By Jeremy Narby
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
Are we, human beings, the only intelligence on the planet?  Is there intelligence in nature, in bacteria, animals, and plants? How can we define intelligence?  "In its original meaning," the author writes, "intelligence refers to choosing between (inter-legere) and implies the capacity to make decisions."  Given the mechanistic view of nature that modernity developed, we can hardly claim the existence of intelligence in nature, but science is moving away from that interpretation giving room to observe life differently and recognize that bacteria, bees, ants, plants and other forms of life develop behavior that we can assess clearly as intelligent.

The author was compelled to explore the phenomenon of intelligence in nature after his experience with shamans in the Amazon forest. They live in a culture that claims to have special relationships with plants and animals, and out of that, they have no doubt that there is intelligence in nature.

I believe the author could not escape from the traditional insufficiency of sciences to understand the phenomenon of life. He missed the contribution of Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana on that topic.

The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies & Possibilities

By Gregg Braden, Peter Russell, Daniel Pinchbeck, Joanna Macy and more
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
Are we truly coming to the end of a cosmic cycle? Will there be an age of awakening, a leap in human consciousness? Different authors deal with these and other questions from science, spirituality, business, politics, and other perspectives in an interesting series of essays, most of them well written, provocative and rich.

Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture

By John R. Ehrenfeld
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
In this important book, John Ehrenfeld warns us about environmental remedies, such us eco-efficiency, sustainable development, and corporate responsibility, saying that they may do more harm than good.  He challenges conventional understanding of "solving" environmental problems and offers a new set of radical strategies to attain sustainability.

Ehrenfeld proposes a new definition: Sustainability is the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on earth forever.  To achieve that, we will have to face many obstacles, and to overcome them will require us to transform our behavior, both individually and collectively.  That transformation will require a change of being and a new way to conceive our lives, our planet, and our universe.

I met the author when he was taking some of the programs that Logonet offered and which I was partially leading in the late 1980s.  His thinking is very consistent with our own claims that the emerging world will be based on a new cosmology, a new epistemology, and a new ontology.  We are witnessing the end of an era we have called Modernity, along with its assumptions, its light, and its shadows.

The Transformation. A Guide to Inevitable Changes in Humankind

By George Leonard
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
This book, published 36 years ago, is amazingly valid today.  Leonard foresaw the forces creating turmoil on the planet that we see today.  He was able to see that the kind of life we were building as a civilization could not be sustained, not just ecologically but also from a soul perspective.  Leonard's thinking is courageous, unpretentious, deep, and warm.

Descartes' "Secret Notebook": A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe

By Amir D. Aczel
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
This biographic novel on the life of Rene Descartes (1596-1650), one of the central figures in Western philosophy and mathematics, will give you a flavor of the critical times in which Descartes lived—the mood and conflicts of the era plus Descartes' inner conflicts, passions, fears, friends, and enemies.

The Alba of Emotions

By Susana Bloch
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
This book offers us an extraordinary possibility to reflect on six basic emotions: sadness, fear, anger, joy, tenderness, and eroticism, and from there, to observe and better understand the complex, mixed emotions that we normally experience. It shows the essential role of breathing in our emoting and ways to learn individually and collectively in this field.  Susana Bloch is an internationally known research psychologist specializing in neurophysiology and psychophysiology. She is the author of over 100 scientific publications in international magazines on the brain and behavior. After many years of research, she created her own method of expanding emotional learning, called "Alba Emoting."

Biology Revisioned

By Willis W. Harman, Ph.D. & Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D.
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
This book presents an engaging look at the changing state of biology and proposes that we reconsider our views of science and life. The authors suggest that it is a historical accident that physics came to be the generally accepted root discipline of science. For example, if biology were instead the foundation, life sciences would be analyzed in a completely different way. We would need to look at wholes (organisms and ecological systems) prior to parts (fundamental particles). The book examines several theories of "new biology." But, bottom line, it strongly argues for the need of a new epistemology. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is inspiring, challenging and a fundamental piece in the building of a new thinking.

The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics

By Eric D. Beinhocker
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
A groundbreaking book on economics. The author claims that the field of economics was built on the fundamental assumptions of 19th century physics and never actualized. He proposes a remaking of economics considering the new developments in science and philosophy, particularly complexity theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the future direction of economic thinking and its impact on business and society, in general.

Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas

By Richard Ogle
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
In this wonderful book, the author, and old friend of and collaborator with Newfield, argues that creative breakthroughs are not just the results of brilliant individuals working in isolation, but rather they happened when individuals and groups had access to new idea-spaces and exploited the principles that governed them. Richard Ogle boldly challenges the ontology of the mind that modernity has developed as an epiphenomenon of the brain and takes us to an understanding that privileges the contexts and the conversational connections that take place in those contexts. Great reading - don't miss it.

The Long Emergency, Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

By James Howard
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
This book develops a possible and very probable scenario of what is ahead of us in the present century. Considering the end of oil and climate change, the author shows with implacable force, and with much grounding, the impossibility of sustaining the present kind of life in the near future. His analysis focuses on the United States, but his considerations have a global reach. America's dependency on oil is too strong to undo quickly, therefore the impact of the end of cheap oil will affect every aspect of this country and the world. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND IT. It is an eye-opener that integrates science, technology, economics, politics, education and social change. Frightening and blunt, it is indispensable reading.

Boomeritis

By Ken Wilber
A novel that allows for a better understanding of Wilber's integral thinking.  He contrasts the "flatland" of scientific materialism with its integral vision which embraces body, mind, soul and spirit in self, culture, and nature.

Leadership without Easy Answers

By Ronald A. Heifetz
A well-developed set of prescriptions about leaders in very different environments and situations.  Brilliant research.

Leadership and the New Science

By Margaret J. Wheatley
It is already a classic. The author connects the revolutionary discoveries in quantum physics, chaos theory, and evolutionary biology and brings them to illuminate fundamental issues of organizations, work, and people.

The Closing of the American Mind

By Allan Bloom
A critical view of higher education and its failure to enrich the souls of today's students.

A General Theory of Love

By Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D. and Richard Lannon, M.D.
A wonderfully written book about the role of emotions in human lives.  Original, passionate and eloquent.

Myths of Life

By Joseph Campbell
At his death, Campbell left a large volume of unreleased work.  Here some of that work is published and, as always, he brings his mastery to explore the principles that underlie all great religions.

The Spell of the Sensuous

By David Abram
A brilliantly written book on the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment.  It addresses the sensual foundations of language as probably nobody has ever done it.

The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus

Translated by Brooks Haxton
Heraclitus is a strikingly relevant philosopher who wrote five hundred years before our era.  Every sentence is an invitation to wonder and to question our presuppositions.  Full of wisdom.

Global Mind Change

By Willis Harman
"If the world that science tells us about is reality, how does it happen that we don't feel more at home in it?" asks Harman at the opening of this classic book.  A fundamental book to read if you want to have some understanding of the world we live in.

Quantum Questions

By Ken Wilber
A collection of mystical writings by great physicists: Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Einstein, De Broglie, Planck, Jeans, Pauli, Eddington.  Surpring and revealing aspects of their thinking come to life, connecting realms we stubbornly have pushed apart, like matter and spirit, science and religion.

A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance

By William Manchester
A wonderful portrait of an age that helps us to understand the sources of our present discourses.

The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy

By William Greider
How the greatest economy of the world is failing most of us, why it must be changed, and how some pioneers are beginning to transform it.

The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind

By Alison Gopnik, PhD, Andrew Meltzoff PhD and Patricia Kuhl, PhD
The authors are pioneers in the field of cognitive sciences who write about how babies and young children learn.  It reveals in fascinating ways how they use some of the same methods that allow scientists to learn so much about the world.

The Future of Money: Creating New Wealth, Work and a Wiser World

By Bernard Lietaer
Based on the four mega trends of monetary instability, global aging, the information revolution and climate change, Bernard Lietaer looks at different scenarios of what the world might be like in 2020. This book breaks the globally accepted interpretation that money is a value-neutral means of exchange. Highly recommended.

Mastery

By George Leonard
Mastery can bring not only a higher level of excellence but also a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives.  From his expertise in the martial art of aikido and drawing on Zen philosophy, George Leonard writes a delightfully simple and profound book.

A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality

By Ken Wilber
If you are interested in knowing Wilber's thinking, this is probably the best way to go about it.

The Holographic Universe

By Michael Talbot
This book written in 1991, like all great books, maintains its freshness and power by making discoveries in physics available to the non-scientist reader as the author addresses questions about the paranormal abilities of the mind and the unresolved riddles of brain and body.

Isaac Newton

By James Gleick
Biographies are generally a wonderful way to reflect on human genius and the prevalent world-view and the thinking of a particular era.  This book is a great look not at the first modern scientist but to the last medieval magician.

The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding

By Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela
The authors explain at the same time our human processes of thought and the facts of biology.  It may not be an easy read, but it is rewarding all the way.

Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design

By Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores
Another classic. Published in 1986, it maintains all its power. This is a book of science and engineering, and it is both theoretical and practical, concerned at the same time with computer technology and with the nature of human existence, with philosophy of language and with office automation.

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and The Future of Reason

By Sam Harris
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
While warning against the invasion of organized religion into world politics, the author delivers a brilliant analysis of the clash between reason and religion in the modern world.  Reading it is a challenging experience.  Harris does nothing to compromise or to come to a soft middle ground.  He writes passionately, drawing insights from neuroscience and philosophy, to call for a modern foundation of ethics and spirituality that is both secular and humanistic.  If you read the book, prepare yourself for a ride!  For you, dear graduate, another good book in the "interior/exterior" debate.

The Language of God, A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

By Francis S. Collins
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project, and one of the world´s leading scientists offers in this book his evidence for the existence of God. As all of us are very aware, the topic of the relationship between science and religion, matter, and spirit, exterior and interior, is being discussed extensively these days. From an atheistic perspective, we have a series of books published lately by scientists and philosophers like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, the author of The End of Faith.  But what is different here, and makes this book very attractive, is the fact that it is a scientist who argues for the existence of God.  He does not see any contradiction between Darwin's theory of evolution and the concept of a universe created by God and writes extensively explaining why.  The book is a mix of reason and revelation, science, and spirit, logic and wonder.

America as Empire, Global Leader or Rogue Power?

By Jim Garrison, President of the State of the World Forum
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
What kind of empire can and should America be?  Garrison works from this question in a compelling way.  He provides great reflection and extraordinarily relevant historical information that most Americans should know but, unfortunately, simply ignores.  It is easy to read, well-documented and full of heart.  It can be seen as a soul search of national dimensions.  A must read in our days.  Go and get it, you will not regret it.

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View

by Richard Tarnas
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
A fascinating, deep, challenging and, above all, courageous book.  Tarnas brings his encyclopedic knowledge and his compelling writing to invite us to reflect on the cosmology of our times and its impact on all aspects of our civilization. "The great enigma of our situation," he writes, "is that we have unprecedented resources for dealing with those problems (the global, local, social, political, ecological problems of our times), yet it is as if some larger or deeper context, some invisible constraint, were negating our capacity and resolve."  And with great rigor, he takes us on an amazing journey of discovery, where we rigorously face our present metaphysical disorientation, our sense of alienation and the need for a deeper insight into those unconscious forces and tendencies, creative and destructive, that play such a powerful role in shaping human lives, history, and the life of the planet.  In few words, a masterpiece.

The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity

By James Lovelock
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
The author of this book is the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis, now Gaia Theory, that tells us that the entire earth, including the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and upper layers of rock, functions as a single living superorganism, regulating its internal environment much us an animal regulates its body temperature and chemical balance.  Today, James Lovelock says that organism is sick and has some fever, in part due to human activity, especially the emission of carbon dioxide and the agricultural practices of our times. Our civilization is in danger and we are still sleeping. The author provides grounding for his interpretation of the serious danger we are facing, and he proposes some controversial actions. It is a beautifully written book, a WAKE UP CALL, and a strong challenge for traditional environmentalists.

Leading Through Conflict, How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities

By Mark Gerzon
Recommended by: Julio Olalla, Newfield Network founder
As globalization puts together people of different backgrounds and worldviews, our world becomes more interdependent and full of old and new kinds of conflicts that desperately require "mediating leadership." This book addresses that issue, pointing to what is needed to transform defensive energy into creativity and collaboration. The author draws from Integral Vision, System Thinking, and Conscious Communication.  This book is a good reading particularly for coaches who work with leaders.