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Book Reviews

CEN Authors

David “Lucky” Goff, “Embracing Life, Towards a Psychology of Interdependence,” Mill City, Minneapolis, MN, 2013.

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Lucky’s book is about how Mystery has employed relationship from the beginning of time to give us life, to provoke our growth and to ultimately awaken us. We cannot actualize our potential, as individuals, with the current story. We cannon even see or actualize our social potential with this story. A new story, a new psychology base on our strengths, based on the strengths of Life itself, a psychology of interdependence, is now necessary. This book introduces us to this unfolding new story.

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Ron Pevny, “Conscious Living, Conscious Aging,” Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2014.  

Ron presents a provocative new model for positive aging that focuses on the potential for growth, service, fulfillment, and spiritual exploration. It will help you distill wisdom from your life experiences, navigate loss and grief, identify new passions and goals, and remain engaged and relevant as you aim high, creating a lasting legacy and a healthier world for generations to come.

Fruitful_Aging.jpgTom Pinkson, “Fruitful Aging,” self published: www.drtompinkson.com, 2012.

Tom’s book directs the reader to creative approaches for harvesting the labor and lessons of a lifetime. Dr. Pinkson employs several vivid life experiences to convey his resultant wisdom and the lessons for elders that come from that wisdom. Each chapter dives deeper into exploring life passages and leads the way to re-visioning what it means to be not only mature in years but “Golden.” It lends inspiration to both the journey and the sojourner alike for the elder phase of life.

Towards A New Future

The_great_Work.jpgThomas Berry, “The Great Work,” Bell Tower, NY, NY, 1999.

This book urges us to move from being a disrupting force on the Earth to a benign presence. This transition is the Great Work -- the most necessary and most ennobling work we will ever undertake. Berry's message is not one of doom but of hope. He reminds society of its function, particularly the universities and other educational institutions whose role is to guide students into an appreciation rather than an exploitation of the world around them. Berry was the leading spokesperson for the Earth, and his profound ecological insight illuminates the path we need to take in the realms of ethics, politics, economics, and education if we humans and all of life are to survive.

Blessed_Unrest.jpgPaul Hawken, “Blessed Unrest,” Viking  Press, New York, NY, 2007.

This is an examination of the worldwide movement for social and environmental change – restoring the environment and fostering social justice. It is made up of numerous groups of all sizes and descriptions; they collectively comprise the largest movement on Earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location, and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media. It explores the diversity of the movement, its brilliant ideas, innovative strategies, and hidden history. Fundamentally, it is a description of humanity’s collective genius, and the unstoppable movement to reimagine our relationship to the environment and one another.

The_Source.jpgJoseph Jaworski, “Source, the Inner Path of Knowledge Creation,” Barret-Koehler, San Francisco, CA, 2012.

This is a companion book to Scharmer and Kaufer’s “Leading from the Emerging Future.” It describes the source of spontaneity and intuitive insight where actions simply flow through them without conscious intervention. Four guiding principles are presented that encompass the nature of the source and what we need to do to stay in dynamic dialogue with it. 

The_Great_Turning.jpgDavid Korten, “The Great Turning,” Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, CA, 2006.

"Empire," the organization of society through hierarchy and violence has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few, but now it threatens the very future of humanity as Empire has become unsustainable and destructive. Korten traces the roots of Empire and charts the evolution of its instruments of control, from absolute monarchies to the multinational institutions of the global economy. He describes efforts to develop democratic alternatives to Empire, such as the founding of the United States and shows how elitists with an imperial agenda have undermined the "American experiment." Empire is not inevitable, and we can turn away from it. Korten draws on evidence from evolutionary theory, developmental psychology, and religious teachings to show that a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable, democratic "Earth Community" is possible.

Active_hope.jpgJoanna Macy and Stephen Johnston, “Active Hope,” New World Library, Novato, CA, 2012.

Here, Macy and Johnston offer the essential guidebook for everyone awakening to both the perils and potentials of our planetary moment. In this clearly written and compelling manual of cultural transformation, they guide us to find hope where we might least have thought to look — within our own hearts and souls, and in our interdependence with all life — and then to boldly act on that hope as visionary artisans of life-enhancing cultures. It skillfully addresses and transforms the major limiting beliefs that hold people back from wholehearted social action, which at its heart, requires that ‘active hope’ be sustained.

Theory_U.jpgOtto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, “Leading from the Emerging Future,” Barrett-Koehler, Oakland, CA, 2013.

This book is a tour de force in describing the dysfunction of our society as divided into ecological, social, and spiritual-cultural issues and pathologies. The authors describe these as three icebergs that further divide into eight system structures and their disconnects, between what our society sets as the model for our wellbeing, and our current actual social reality. The concept the of “theory U” model for co-creating a new economic framework, four levels of associated economic thought, and the process of accessing a deep source of knowing referred to as “presencing” are introduced as tools for identifying and prototyping ideas for the emerging future relative to personal, relational, and institutional change. The book is accompanied by a series of webinar lectures and interviews from the MIT U Lab. 

Going for Our Highest

Cope_Great_Work.jpgStephen Cope, “The Great Work of Your Life,” Random House, New York, NY, 2012.

In order to have a fulfilling life you must discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of your self. Cope describes the process of unlocking the unique possibility harbored within every human soul. The secret, he asserts, can be found in the pages of a two-thousand-year-old spiritual classic called the Bhagavad Gita—an ancient allegory about the path to dharma. Cope takes readers on a step-by-step tour of this revered tale, and in order to make it relevant to contemporary readers, he highlights well-known Western lives that embody its central principles—including Jane Goodall, whose life trajectory shows us the power of honoring The Gift; Walt Whitman, who listened for the call of the times; Susan B. Anthony, whose example demonstrates the power of focused energy; John Keats, who was able to let his desire give birth to aspiration; and Harriet Tubman, whose life was nothing if not a lesson in learning to walk by faith.

Andrew Harvey, “The Hope, a Guide to Sacred Activism,” Hay House: www.hayhouse.com, 2009.

Harvey_-_Sacred_Activism.jpgThe Hope provides a guide to discovering your divine purpose within a blueprint for a better world. Based on the concept of “sacred activism”, it presents a global initiative designed to save the human world from its downward spiral of greed, pain, and self-destruction. Sacred activism is about opening up to the kindness within you, letting go of pain, and making a conscious choice to help heal the world.

Being Spiritual Elders While Growing in Consciousness

Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald Miller, “From Aging to Sage-ing,” Grand Central, New York, NY, 1995.

Sages expand their consciousness and develop wisdom. By expressing this wisdom as consecrated service to the community, they endow their lives with meaning and avoid becoming economic and psychological burdens on their loved ones and society. The model proposed restores the elder to a position of honor and dignity based on age and long life experience. It envisions the elder as an agent of evolution, attracted as much by the future of humanity’s expanded brain-mind potential as by the wisdom of the past. Once elders are restored to positions of leadership, they will function as wisdom keepers, inspiring all to live by higher values that will help convert our throwaway lifestyle into a more sustainable, Earth-cherishing one. The book is divided into three parts: the theory of spiritual eldering; spiritual eldering and personal transformation; and spiritual eldering and social transformation. It is the foundation for the Sage-ing International organization.

Taking Care of the Business in the Second Half of Life

Live_smart_after_50.jpgNatalie Eldridge, Doug Dickson, Bruce Frankel, Andrea Gallagher, Meg Newhouse, Mary Radu, et al, “Live Smart After 50!,” Life Planning Network, Boston, MA, 2013.

Thirty-three top experts in the life planning and positive aging pool their experience and wisdom to offer fresh, urgently-needed answers to what it means to live smart during the second half of our life. It looks at the challenges ahead with honesty, uncovers exciting new possibilities, and will get you started living smartly. It is a streamlined guide for navigating the changing world of work, money, home, caregiving, relationships, health, creativity, spirituality, legacy and living your second half with confidence and happiness.