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A Simpler Way

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Constructed around five major themes -- play, organization, self, emergence, and coherence -- A Simpler Way challenges the way we live and work, presenting a profound worldview.In thoughtful, creative prose, the authors help readers connect their own personal experiences to the idea that organizations are evolving systems. With its relaxed, poetic style, A Simpler Way will ...more
Paperback, 135 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published 1996)
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Keith Swenson
Feb 24, 2011 Keith Swenson rated it really liked it
I kinda loved it, I kinda hated it. If you have read it, you know what I mean. It is tough to review.

One of the reviews here compared it to those motivational posters. The book kind of has that feel, starting with 16 pages of grainy black and white full page photos. It is set in a sans-serif font with plenty of white space on the pages. The 10x10 format makes it feel more like a coffee table book than a book on organizations. However all this sells the book short.

What I liked about the book is t
Moutasem Algharati
Dec 05, 2013 Moutasem Algharati rated it it was amazing
A very provocative read that challenges many of the leadership paradigms of the 20th century. The primary goal of this book is to examine how we can make life less arduous and more delightful. Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers challenge us to think differently about how to organize human activities. To me, the essence of the idea is that life tends to self-organize. Networks, patterns, and structures naturally emerge without external imposition or direction. The hypothesis is that “orga ...more
Ron Quartel
May 08, 2017 Ron Quartel rated it really liked it
Self-organization and emergence trump command and control. That is the simple way that has worked for nature since the dawn of time. Don't fight it.
Mar 18, 2017 Sabrina rated it did not like it
I put this book on hold and read it because it was suggested in a class or group I attended. I hoped that reading it would remind me why I wanted to read it and where the suggestion came from but I could not figure it out.

Anyway, I felt this book said nothing with all its words. There was no point to it. I always found it redundant. I think these authors were very good at writing school papers where you said the same thing and nothing at all over and over to meet word or page requirements.
I was introduced to Margaret Wheatley through this book as a part of a graduate course on Leadership and Organizational behavior, taught by a former priest turned organizational development HR specialist. The course was life changing in how I viewed business, systems,teams, etc. It led, along with many concurrent life changes, started me on a course of discovery on how to truly create a company that was a place where it was truly win-win-win.

Wheatley is on the bleeding edge of thought leaders a
Nov 24, 2015 katemfs rated it really liked it
1. I love Meg Wheatley. I want to apprentice with her.
2. I started this on the airplane between Albany, NY and Chicago. I was flying for business.
3. I marveled at another passenger through the flight: his EMS socks, his Cornell inbox, his big flannel shirt and his boyishly handsome face. He was traveling with his beautiful, dark-haired wife in Brooks sneakers and their two young children. It was the Monday before Thanksgiving, and they were connecting in Chicago to somewhere distant. They repres
John Stepper
Dec 06, 2015 John Stepper rated it liked it
I came across this book from the notes in (the excellent) "Reinventing Organizations." And I can see the impact of the thinking in "A Simpler Way" as the authors capture the limits of our model of organizations:

"When we view organizations as machine-like objects, unavoidably they become complexities of structure, policy, and roles. We build rigid structures incapable of responding. We box ourselves in behind hard boundaries breached only by hostile forays. We create places of fear. We shrink fro
Curtis Penner
Nov 30, 2016 Curtis Penner rated it it was ok
Uninspiring. Writes how chaos leads to discovery. How out of a mess great things happen. How "A" attracts more "A".

She really should learn about entropy. She should learn that a mess is inefficient. Agility is about not having the burden of organizational rigidity.

So much of the book was repeated babble, saying you to can be great and overcome. Then you show up to work and have the same problems that need to be solved now. You have management that is inplace to protect them or customers who don
Sep 01, 2008 Laurie rated it it was amazing
A Simpler Way by Margaret Wheatley & Myron Kellner Rogers.
Systems organize themselves. A breakthrough book for me. Prose and illustrations are beautiful - like an art book.
"Constructed around five major themes -- play, organization, self, emergence, and coherence -- A Simpler Way challenges the way we live and work, presenting a profound worldview.
In thoughtful, creative prose, the authors help readers connect their own personal experiences to the idea that organizations are evolving system
Dec 10, 2007 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
This book takes the often challenging language and concepts used to explain human systems theory and turns it into poetry. A simpler way can be read on different levels. I have found it to be spiritually evocative, others may read it as an essay on occupational development, while others may experience it for its beautiful layout, including the composition of the photographs. I wish more books on complex subjects could be this interesting to look at and take in.
Nov 06, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it
Vague, abstract, slightly frustrating, and comforting in its hopeful point of view. Life is playful, self-referential, messy, self-organizing, and a mutually co-dependent dance of exploration. Recommended for C. Alexander fans, systems folks, Caprof disciples, poets, ponderers, wanderers, the org.-minded, and anyone who's got the funny feeling that things just aren't right.
Sep 30, 2007 beth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to let go of control and know the universe has it all under control without us...
Meg Wheatley brings a unique perspective, blending science and philosophy as a way of looking at people and organizations. The premise is truly that nature self organizes, we as people do not need to "control" things like we sometimes think we need to, people, nature, the world will self-organize, with or without our "help".

Easy read that makes me reconsider my beliefs and actions.
Nov 22, 2014 Najma rated it really liked it
I had to read this book, relate the chaos, self-organization, messiness and emergence concepts to the organization that I have had experience with. It was one of my projects for one of my doctorate courses in school. Very interesting concepts.
Peep Laja
Dec 29, 2007 Peep Laja rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
How to organize life, business, anything better - by learning from the nature and using self-organization. The book seemed too slow for me - it felt like I was half way through the book, but it still hadn't made a point. Very fluffy and poetic.
Feb 21, 2011 Adrienne rated it did not like it
It's a book version of those awful inspirational posters you see in doctors' offices. I put it down when I got to one of nine hundred rhetorical questions: "What are you becoming?" -"Becoming becoming."

Long book that manages to say almost nothing.
Mar 14, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking at first, but reads like one long string of aphorisms. I got tired of the repetition and wished for a bit more clear organization in the book. And yet I recognize that this was part of the author's whole point.
Sep 30, 2007 Kathryn marked it as to-read
recommended by beth
Aug 09, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book about the natural order of things.
A book about the concept of emergence, in business and in life--very poetic.

Now I want to read her other book, Leadership and the New Science.
Rickey rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2011
Nick Van Zanten
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Feb 13, 2016
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“We are, always, poets, exploring possibilities of meaning in a world which is also all the time exploring possibilities.” 6 likes
“The future cannot be determined. I can only be experienced as it is occurring. Life doesn't know what it will be until it notices what it has become.” 5 likes
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