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Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  847 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Spiral Dynamics introduces a new model for plotting the enormous economic and commercial shifts that are making contemporary business practice so complex and apparently fragmented. Focusing on cutting-edge leadership, management systems, processes, procedures, and techniques, the authors synthesize changes such as:

Increasing cultural diversity.

Powerful new social responsi
Paperback, 343 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published 2005)
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Conrad Zero
While the creator of Spiral Dynamics is no longer with us, this reworked and updated version presents a theory of human "progression" through various stages of value systems. Each stage of the system is represented by colors. It reminds me of Abraham Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs theory, only with more layers and technicolor.

This book is essential reading for many reasons. One is diversity training. Different people have different values and filters on the world. SD not only simplifies and explain
Stephen Joyce
Nov 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: change
important but , in my humble opinion, very poorly written book - the work of Graves did not deserve to be buried in such a shambling text - it made an extremely useful and creative model of human development into something obscure and elitist ( for really smarty people who have university education) - the KEY to these ideas can be found in 'A Theory of Everything' by Wilbur - who managed to make the theory much more accessible to everyone. ...more
K.M. Weiland
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blew my mind. Incredibly insightful paradigm for personal and social growth. Much of the book is focused on large-scale “spirals,” applicable to business and global infrastructures. I would have found a more intimate focus on spirals in personal development to be more pertinent. But it still provided some amazing food for thought.
David Dvali
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Absolutely shocking model. For me was hard to read mindfully first part of the book, but model is shocking. When reading was thinking that it is story of my life through this stages. Every people must know this model. I think it will help us to understand what we are doing when we are developing ourselves. And every person is doing it no matter if he lives in jungle or not knowing what self-development is
Eugene Pustoshkin
SPIRAL DYNAMICS is a truly unique book. I mean you won’t find similar books around. Specifically, I mean that it is written in a style which belongs to this book only, as far as I am aware. It doesn’t look like anything else, I assure you.

(One good advice that some readers give is to start reading with chapter 3 or 4 and then come back to the beginning chapters.)

Spiral Dynamics (SD) tracks down the evolutionary spiral of human consciousness and its value systems in a very pragmatic (atheoretiz
Jeremy Garber
A fascinating typological model for how individuals, groups, and societies react to pressures in their environment based on their primary mode of existing in the world. Based on the research of Dr. Clare Graves, a psychology professor at Union in New York, Don Beck and Christopher Cowan present a dynamic model of the progress of societies from the earliest days of survival to the present complex age. The Spiral Dynamics model offers a range of what they call "vMEMES" that persons use to react to ...more
Ruben Gorseman-Mes
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I have struggled tremendously with this book. Though, allow me to elaborate on this.

I give this book 3 stars instead of 4 or 5 because of several things.

Firstly, it's quite outdated and many of the geopolitical situations described where of a time when I was only a baby. It's almost 30 years ago. And besides the fact that I don't know many of the situations, I'm also way more interested in our current situation (2020, covid + black lives matter).

Another point that made this a slug fest is that
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Well, I finally read this one, after 6 month, as it's not a book to be read in absence of tangible proof and real-life examples. Overall, it could be summarized as recommendations for management, which, like any other recommendation shouldn't be taken to the letter, and certainly shouln't be implemented completely.
I have previously mentioned the book downside - excessive use of clichée literary embellishments and thesaurus, peppered by very informal speech - it hurts the overall credibility of t
Krzysztof Herdzik
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great theory to be applied for individuals, teams, groups, societies and countries. Helps to understand not only what happened in society and individual development but also helps to predict where human development goes.

Helps to understand changes in organisations, development of people based on their values. Helps finally to design leadership of XXI century.

One minus star for the language used - Texan, low quality literature style...
Natasa Tovornik
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-dynamics
I love the priciple fo Spiral Dynamics, find it a powerful tool and a great model to understand different dynamics and needs for change.
The book itself is quite complex, written in a complex language. It can take a while to read it. As well, I would appreciate an update, as the book was written in 1995 and many things that are described as future, actually lay in the past.
Francis White
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Brilliant theory, check the Wikipedia entry and leave the Introduction until after you have read it!
Mario Luef
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book describing the different personal value levels and the shift between them in the life of a person. This book will make you think - you will rethink your decisions.
Dina Alieva
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
Well-rounded concept which may be applied to nations, communities and individuals and gives a hint into further development stages. The book itself is poorly written, though.
Feb 22, 2019 is currently reading it
Page 16
At each stage of human existence the adult man is off on his quest of his holy grail, the way of life he seeks by which to live. At his first level he is on a quest for automatic physiological satisfaction. At the second level he seeks a safe mode of living, and this is followed in turn, by a search for heroic status, for power and glory, by a search for ultimate peace; a search for material pleasure, a search for affectionate relations, a search for respect of self, and a search for peac
Elizabeth Schwartz
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grown-up-books
Although written in a business context, it holds a philosophy about the parallels of human socio-evolution and individual growth which are mind-blowing.

It is a controversial stipulation because critics say it creates a euro-centric process and assumes all cultures will follow the same process. However the theory relies so much on the nature of human beings to stick with what works until it doesn't any more and to start something new that better meets the essential needs, especially of individua
Sergii Khlivnenko
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the most powerful book I have ever read. I have changed professional direction and lifestyle, after I first time I have heard about Spiral Dynamics in 2014,.
The book describes the idea is about the only way for development of systems: individuals, organizations and societies. There is no short way to the top, but constant vibrations between self expression and self sacrifice straight to new levels of consciousness. Life conditions need the most suitable mindset and values, not the most
Jul 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
another one that's really hard to rate. The content is fantastic, and very useful for anyone wanting to really understand Spiral Dynamics. But if you're not over 50 and Texan, you can hardly read it - because it's not written in English but in Texan! That is a great set back and hopefully something more up to date will be written soon (it is hard to see a writer rave about GM or the banking sector, or the moral excellence of the US military, with no awareness of 9/11 or the massive corporate sca ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! Although it seems the author sees more business applications to its content than anything else, I found that there are some profound implications for fostering understanding between people. We live in such a polarizing society it's nice to be reminded that people and issues are complicated and can rarely be divided into black and white or left and right. If you've ever found yourself desperately trying to figure out how someone could believe a certain thing and genuinely want to ...more
Stefan Bruun
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Puts words to a concept that I would have loved to see described this clearly much earlier. The necessity of going through a particular developmental stage to go to the next is a concept that can be applied so much more broadly in life to improve the understanding of individuals, communities, and societies.
Suzanne Hazelton
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Whilst I love the concept of Spiral Dynamics, I found the book a bit heavy going. For more of a review - including links to a great overview on Spiral Dynamics, take a look at my blog --> January 2012 ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you don't want to get lost in the streets, you will need Google maps like almost every other homo sapiens :)

If you don't want to get lost in your journey of psychological development, this book is written for you
Łukasz Lichota
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiral-dynamics
Very interesting model but it's hard for me to apply it in practice (maybe I'm not yet so intelligent :) ) ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting, but complicated at times
Shaun Vos
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful in understanding world views.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, development
The spiral wizard can understand how the world develops and evolves. This seems to be a very important read for anyone who would be a leader and anyone who wants to know how each individual develops.
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who love to learn for the essence of understanding
Recommended to Brandon by: Self Help Gurus/Spiritual Teachers
Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change, honestly felt like more of a textbook than a standard publication; based in over 40 years of research - its profundity cannot be expressed through these words and funnily enough, its contents do a great job of expounding why you will either find yourself bored in reading, or in accordance, having realised its power in practically recontextualising your entire perception of all of human civilisation up until and going beyond the present mo ...more
Toni Tassani
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-owned
A thinking tool for how people, organisations and society evolve. The authors base their work on Clare Graves work, and are highly influenced by Ken Wilber. They map the stages to colours, in a similar pattern that Frederick Laloux does with his Teal Organisations, but they include a 1st and 2nd tier, with a different level of consciousness.
1st tier:
BEIGE survival
PURPLE magical
RED impulsive (the terrible 2)
BLUE purpuseful (the Ten Commandments)
ORANGE achievement (Wall Street)
GREEN communitarian
Debajyoti Debnath
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spiral Dynamics presents a framework to judge the composition of moral values of the world around us. Its logically precise and clear view of the process of transition of value systems due to changing life conditions is challenging to grasp. I will need to re-read the book to understand how the different concepts are interlinked and how the abstractions presented fit against real world examples. An interesting read, nevertheless.
Roni Matar
Jan 08, 2021 rated it liked it
The Spiral Dynamics model is one of the best models that explain the dynamics of consciousness development in humans. It simplifies the way we communicate and deal with people. The 3 star rating is due to the jargon heavy chapters in the book, it makes it much more complicated and not easy to read.
Ken Wilber delivers the ideas in a much simpler way, and to have a book with more updates examples get "Values and the evolution of consciousness" by Adriana James.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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