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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,316 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Here is a concise, comprehensive overview of Wilber's revolutionary thought and its application in today's world. In A Theory of Everything, Wilber uses clear, nontechnical language to present complex, cutting-edge theories that integrate the realms of body, mind, soul, and spirit. He then demonstrates how these theories and models can be applied to real-world problems in ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 16th 2001 by Shambhala (first published 1996)
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Adam Lauver
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a philosophy, Integral Theory is both extremely promising and profoundly useful. Wilber's approach, which draws heavily from a field called Spiral Dynamics, offers a uniquely sensible framework in which to understand the seemingly disjointed myriad of systems of thought that have developed throughout history (the key word being "developed," considering Wilber's focus on the concept of evolution). More generally, Integral Theory itself represents a basic conceptual platform on which to formula ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m ashamed to admit it.

But I think this is a really useful theory.

Or rather, meta-theory.

This is a re-read for me.

I read it in 2000 when it was released.

At the time it revolutionized my world.

Now, 20 years later.

It still holds water.

The new age language and thinking is embarrassing.

But the important ideas of the book are sound.

The all quadrant model is analogous to the bio-psycho-social-systemic model of assessment we use in psychotherapy.

Completely valid and useful.

And the lines and l
Jun 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Post Modern - Cosmic Humanist

Most essential Wilber book. Easy read. Ken Wilber's seminars are attended by the elites - Bush, Blair, etc. Wilber’s books are vital for understanding where our society is headed. He has been called "the father of Post-Modernism". Some good, some lies. I think Wilber has a lot right but has dangerous perspectives on globalism and sexuality.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Ego centric, Ethnocentric, Worldcentric – are three progressive, evolutionary worldviews, behaviors, and modes of thought that each individual, couple, group, and nation move through and towards – says Ken Wilber in A Theory Of Everything. Wilber organizes the “Kosmos, which means the patterned Whole of all existence,” into four quadrants, each delineated by a particular realm: the individual (I); the cultural (We); the scientific (It); and the social collective (Its). He shows how each of these ...more
Marc Arlt
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is phenomenal. A short, easy, engaging read which has significantly shifted a paradigm for me. A brief intro to spiral dynamics but also much bigger and wider and more foundational to the development of people and culture. (It’s also a must read for every “deconstructionist” out there.)
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I am pretty sure that I have never read any book quite like this one; I am still trying to decide if that is a good thing or not. The ideas described in the book are intriguing and often intuitive, so I enjoyed that and even intend to reflect on these more. For a book which claims to propose a theory of everything, thoughts/ scholarly work from philosophers, historians and statesmen are shockingly lacking from a few continents of the world - African & South American as well as South Asian. ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Written against the backdrop of the post-Cold War, Blairite optimism of the early 21st century, this little book casts a beautiful vision of what an integrated political, economic, philosophical, and spiritual world could look like. Mapping stages of consciousness alongside stages of civilizational development, Wilbur’s integral theory goes a long way toward explaining the frictions that occur between people and societies at different stages of development.

While Wilbur’s theory has often been u
Ivan Dogan
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
3. 5
Interesting ideas, Wilber is offering mediation between relativism and dogmatism, modernism and postmodernism, etc...
New age vocabulary, some conclusions are brought without clear explanation...
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loaned to me by a friend about three years ago, I'm re-reading it now (2020). I'd have given it three-and-a-half stars, if possible. I remember originally feeling there was a lot of interesting & good conceptualization in the book, but that the presentation was rather glib & formulaic. ...more
Christopher Bennett
I thought Wilber did at best an incomplete job of fulfilling the extraordinary aspirations of this title. Admittedly, his TOE could only be a philosophical (metaphysical) foundation rather than natural (scientific) one, but even in this context I was left with only glimmers of a truly compete theoretical structure. The assumption that Wilber builds his theory upon- a "Great Chain of Being and Knowing- from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit"- in his own terms, holarchy, is a good one, but ...more
Steve Payeur
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book that was a self-proclaimed introduction to a map of the stages through which people develop, important implications of it, concepts which inform the process, and where we are heading both from abstract approaches as well as up-close-and-personal ramifications.

One of those concepts is that of a holon, which is a thing that is both made up of smaller holons, but also a component of large ones, progressing in complexity and ability. A brief example is a cell in our body
Jason Carter
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
The good news is that I've suffered through this book on your behalf, and offered a review that will preclude, one hopes, you from having to do so, as well. The bad news is that my review is apparently not a worthwhile endeavor, because early in the text we're told that "nothing in this book will convince you that a T.O.E. (theory of everything) is possible, unless you already have a touch of turquoise coloring your cognitive palette (and then you will think, on many a page, 'I already knew that ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I am ambivalent. There's no denying Wilber's prodigious intellect and ambitious vision. But there's also no denying his own egotism (despite his taking down of narcissistic boomers). Has anyone ever written the same book so many times? Has anyone ever cited himself so many times in the course of a short book? I like you, Ken, and will revisit No Boundary and Brief History of Everything. But those might, in the end, suffice.
Tim Nowotny
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
What a bad book. Though I can find some wisdom in its initial hypothesis ( a bit like an extended pyramid of needs), it was just bad.
This begins right at the first pages, in which the author goes into a lengthy discussion about the hotness of academia topics right now. In the second half of this book it looses its balance totally by discussing multiple representation options for systems and forgets the difference between map and country...
Murray Brown
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Excellent overview of Wilber's "Integral Theory" that synthesizes evolutionary psychology, spirituality, Western & Eastern philosophies, and various worldviews into a holistic (indeed, holonic!) framework for human development. It covers a broad territory referring to other works (most notably his own) for more substantive and detailed information; this is my one complaint. ...more
Joe Rafter
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deep post-modern leadership

Be prepared to stop on each page to digest the density of Ken Wilber and Integral Thinking. This is very powerful stuff that will leave you a little lost at times. The concepts of spiral dynamics and 4 quadrant evolution is ground breaking and has changed my professional and personal life.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
What the hell was he thinking? Seriously. Not worth the time, and I would say not worth the effort, but it requires none to understand it...very simple.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I acquired the free sample on Kindle to learn more about spiral dynamics. That included most of the first two chapters (out of seven) and that was a very interesting summary of the concept. Unfortunately the rest of the book is just ramble, repetitions and hogwash, interspersed with the author trying to advertise his other books and boasting about the reviews he got for them. The main purpose of this book is to explain how to reach the 7th and 8th levels of the spiral dynamics, which Ken Wilber ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The super-ambitious title would have ordinarily put me off but I still bought the book as the word consciousness appeared frequently throughout the book and I was looking for something unusual on that topic. It was my first Ken Wilber book and as I learned later my still lingering inability to decide whether this is sheer brilliance or utter rubbish is a rather common malady that befalls his first-time readers.

At its core, Ken posits existence of levels of consciousness at an individual level a
ExVatic .
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the first Ken Wilber book I discovered on a book shelf in the Melbourne city library, it was wedged between my reading of Jung and Joseph Campbell and seemed to be exactly what I was searching for at the period. Wilber seemed to answer some dragging but simple problems I was understanding between the nature of certain spiritual and psychological studies of self with developments in brain science etc. Wilber mostly lacks literary style with his writing, it instead reads like an enlighten ...more
Ruben Gorseman-Mes
Mindboggling and sweeping in range, Ken Wilbur stacks knowledge condensced into a ridiculously small package.

I find the insights in spiral dynamics inspiring and compelling but my understanding in his suggestions for an integral "all-level, all-quadrant" approach remained too abstract for me, to truly regurgitate it like I usually do with books.

I'm particularly intruiged by Boomeritis (all perspectives are equally true and relevant, so "nobody tells me what to do!") and how it (roughly speaking)
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Did I like this book? Not sure. It was assigned reading. And many brain cells went into overdrive to read it and synthesize my thoughts. The language is self referential and mentions various theories that it is assumed the reader already knows. This being said, Wilber says, "Ego centric, Ethnocentric, Worldcentric – are three progressive, evolutionary worldviews, behaviors, and modes of thought that each individual, couple, group, and nation move through and towards. Wilber organizes the “Kosmos ...more
Jamie Zigelbaum
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a review of the audiobook.

A quick review that must be split into two parts: 1) the content, and 2) the presentation of the content.

The content is 5 stars. Wilber’s work is nothing short of extraordinary. This is the 4th book of his I’ve read (and many articles by and about) and my least favorite. It felt too all over the place. “A brief history of everything” is a much better concise overview of integral theory though this has some nice new perspectives.

The presentation was terrible. Wil
Mathieu Mal
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
Quote: "What good is it to continue to focus on the exterior technological wonders before us - from indefinite life extension to computer / mind interlinks to unlimited zero-point energy to worm-hole intergalactic space travel - if all we carry with us is an egocentric or ethnocentric consciousness? Do we really want to colonize space with red-meme Nazis and the KKK? Do we really want Jack the Ripper living 400 years, zipping around the country in his hypercar, unleashing misogynistic nanorobots ...more
Roni Matar
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
As chaotic as it gets, TOE is an insightful book that gives a global view on the different views of the development of our values and our consciousness. Only dig deeper if you have a good knowledge of the Clare Graves Values levels.
Pedro Freire
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant, very complete holistic view of man and mankind. If we all shared a similar view of who we are, we'd make this world a true paradise. All of that in a clear, well explained, easy to read book.
Ken Wilber has written 24 books! I've read 4 of them now and I actually think he's written 24 revisions of the same book. I'll read a few more from this list:
But if I don't start seeing something new...
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
My third Wilber book in 3 years, this one is a brief overview of his ideas and probably the best entry point into these systems of thought.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not my cup of tea si'l vous plaît.
Clay Zdobylak
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Very interesting. I think much of this is incorrect, but i have a few ideas and tools from this book that i think are invaluable.
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Ken Wilber is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages, and is the first philosopher-psychologist to have his Collected Works published while still alive. Wilber is an internationally acknowledged leader and the preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development, which continues to gather momentum around the world. So ...more

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“As Harvard developmental psychologist Howard Gardner reminds us, The young child is totally egocentric—meaning not that he thinks selfishly only about himself, but to the contrary, that he is incapable of thinking about himself. The egocentric child is unable to differentiate himself from the rest of the world; he has not separated himself out from others or from objects. Thus he feels that others share his pain or his pleasure, that his mumblings will inevitably be understood, that his perspective is shared by all persons, that even animals and plants partake of his consciousness. In playing hide-and-seek he will “hide” in broad view of other persons, because his egocentrism prevents him from recognizing that others are aware of his location. The whole course of human development can be viewed as a continuing decline in egocentrism.2” 1 likes
“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. —ALBERT EINSTEIN” 0 likes
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