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Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  359 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Our Time Is Now

We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer ask, why do we collectively create results nobody wants? Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating system from an obs
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 8th 2013 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published April 1st 2013)
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Mark Hazell
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this at the same time I was reading the Shambhala Principle -- both books have the same objective, which is to help the reader expand her/his understanding of how our existing beliefs and mental structures limit our possibilities. This book is more academic and may be more or less accessible depending on your background, but it's worth spending time with.
Sharon Campbell
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have found this book well worth reading. If you want to understand how the challenges we see in economics, politics, society and technology are interconnected you should read this.
Teo 2050


Scharmer CO & Kaufer K (2013) Leading from the Emerging Future - From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies

Introduction: Breathing Life into a Dying System
• Crumbling Walls
• The Blind Spot: How to Lead from the Emerging Future
• Symptoms: Landscape of Pathologies
• • The Ecological Divide
• • The Social Divide
• • The Spiritual-Cultural Divide
• Structures: Systemic Disconnects That Give Rise to Symptoms
• • Positive Externalities Flow to the Top, Negative Externalities to th
David Lapin
Book Review by Dr. Kacey Shap, Senior Researcher at Lapin International.

Did you know that 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day; that we are using 50% more resources than Earth’s capacity to regenerate; that the richest 1% own more than 40% while the bottom 50% own only 1% of the world’s wealth; and that, each year, suicide kills more people than violent conflicts and natural disasters combined? In Leading from the Emerging Future (2013), Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer connects these s
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting book with some very thought provoking ideas about how an evolving mindset about ourselves, others, and the world can, should, and is leading to remarkable changes in the world in many different organizations, etc. It also has warnings of some risks if we fail to make this upward shift in the way we think, work, lead, and co-create our organizations and our world. The main thesis is grounded in systems thinking and the idea that in order to solve the problems we are facing in the w ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
This ambitious leadership book merges management with philosophy and spirituality traditions. There is also focus on emerging possibilities, personal accountability and global interconnectedness. The author shares examples of farming, globalized learning and relfective teaching practices from his own life.

The book is often about our own accountability in systems : ends up there is an I in team. The ideas seem simple, but they are challenging in practice. Theory U is taught an online course, whi
Jia Wen
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spurs further thought

This book is for those who feel it within themselves that there is something we have got fundamentally wrong with the way we are working and living. The author recommends for each and every one of us to be more aware with this dissonance that is within us, and to create communities for co-creation and change.

It is a book worth revisiting over and over again and to delve some thought at the guiding questions at the end of each chapter. My challenge is getting over the inerti
Ole Qvist-Sorensen
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How collective ecosystems may be the healthy way forward. A great book that really spells out some ways forward - with a whole new language about change.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: edd
Eh? I read this for class and found it interesting and was glad there were connections to other things we've rad.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this 'diagonally'. Should read it again when confronted with managerial challenges or for creative sessions. A reference book for me. One of the better management books out there imo
Ad Huikeshoven
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an application of Theory U, also by Scharmer. Currently I follow the u.lab MOOC, and follow live sessions at a local hub. Very interesting and very inspiring. ...more
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great read from one of the founders of ULab. I got half way through ULab 2 from MIT and through various reasons haven't been able to complete the course, but I will go back to it when I have less on my plate. The reason and rationale behind the book and the course are very timely and the tenets are exactly what is required if we want to have a safe and healthy planet for our descendants to inherit. The challenge in the book and course is what are we going to do about it. Otto doesn't want peop ...more
Robert Bogue
I read Theory U and became aware of another book by Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies and I didn’t immediately read it. In fact, I didn’t read it until it became part of the coursework for an course that Otto was leading. EdX is interesting because it offers Massively Open Online Course. The course I took was U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self. It was an opportunity for me to experience the concept and look at material I ...more
Renato Silva
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mind blowing! Prof. Otto Charmer presents Theory U in association to iceberg model, which defines 8 Systemic issues that deeply affects society, organizations and self. All these issues needs outstanding solutions, instead of looking into past experience and knowledge searching for answers. So this book guides you through the U theory process, providing tools and methods to learn how to solve issues by leading from the emerging future.

More than just a book, it's quite transformational! Definitel
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Extremely vast scope in this book
This was also made very clear through the vast numbers of case stadies, which are, to me, the best part of the book (my preferred way of learning). The book can be very dense on one page, and then quite repetitive on the next, but that didn't really bother me.
Not having read 'Theory U' wasn't felt as a handicap, although I'm sure I would take even more from it with that background.
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Parts of this book are brilliant. Parts -- where Scharmer tries to explain the arc of all future phenomena with his principles (some of which have gone dramatically in a different direction since the book's publications) -- are hard to read through.

Nonetheless, the effort is worth it. Scharmer has a disciplined, comprehensive view of how social systems are and can be organized.
Nov 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book in conjunction with the online course U.Lab: Transforming business, society and self. The course was great and inspiring; the book was pretty buzzword heavy and jargony. It was just a small part but I was disappointed with their discussion of the future of NGOs. Each chapter ended with interesting questions for journaling and internalizing the materials, which I liked doing.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Along with xMITs course of the same name, this book provides a framework to evaluate my personal intentions and challenges. The historical economic and social bubbles are enabling me to get out of my myopic anxiety and see how most solutions are simply communication waiting to happen. A winner!
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am not exaggerating when I say that this book has changed my life. I attended a 5-day workshop centered on it and found some fairly deep tectonic shifts in how I am approaching challenges in both my professional and personal life.
Therese Javier
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great reference book
Pamela Enz
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It has to be read in small bits because it required a lot of thought..
Mills College Library
306.3 S3117 2013
Eli Stefanski
Not sure this book offered more than Theory U - but it always good to get a refresher
Mauro Locarnini
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Oct 13, 2013
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Lea Crandall
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Apr 18, 2016
Tony Page
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Jul 16, 2018
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Dec 26, 2016
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Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and founding chair of the Presencing Institute. Otto introduced the concept of “presencing”—learning from the emerging future—in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter co-authored with Peter Senge et al.). In 2015 he co-founded the online MITx u.lab, which has since activated a global eco- ...more

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