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The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A powerful pocket guide for practitioners that distills all of the research and materials found in Otto Scharmer's seminal texts Theory U and Leading from the Emerging Future.

Creating a Better Future

This book offers a concise, accessible guide to the key concepts and applications in Otto Scharmer's classic Theory U. Scharmer argues that our capacity to pay attention coshap
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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Lisa Kosak
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Over ten issues ago Theory U was published, and it was over 500 pages that contained numerous tables, graphs, and other insights. The author C. Otto Scharmer just released a condensed version of his original book called The Essentials of Theory U – Core Principles and Applications. This version of the book is only 157 pages and has some great insights for leaders and is the perfect size with wisdom to keep handy as you meet daily challenges.

Theory U encourages us to look at the world with fresh
Eugene Pustoshkin
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is a brief summary of the key points of the Theory U framework and presencing. It can be seen as an introductory companion to the larger book Theory U. Otto Scharmer is a good writer, and reading his books gives pleasure.
Rick Lindeman
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: facilitation
Toen Otto Scharmer na de val van de Berlijnse muur in de archieven van de Stasi mocht kijken wat over hem was geschreven in zijn dossier, stond er eigenlijk maar weinig. Maar wat er stond trof hem: 'Hij inspireert leiders van de [West-Duitse] oppositiebeweging'. En dat doet Scharmer eigenlijk nog steeds. Hij inspireert mensen die verandering proberen te brengen.

Er zijn veel manieren om je zijn Theorie-U eigen te maken. Zo is er een razend succesvolle MOOC (Massive online open course), waar mense
Dec 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Wow... I had Theory of U queued up since a long time, but given its length I was happy to see a "condensed/intro" book on Scharmer (MIT, came highly recommended).

But holly-molly, does the emperor have no clothes!

This is a terrible intro to anything - it is not systematic, terms (all "*-ings") are often used without much explanation and even if it short it manages to repeat and meander enough.
Nonetheless what comes across is a kind of hip, but empty conceptual frameworks (to locate it vaguely in
Eduardo Taylor
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked it concepts and practical approach towards its implementation but (and this applies to everything in life) it depends solely on the individual's determination to believe in that change. People with a want of trying new approaches to organisational structures will love this.

I agree that evolving into a co-evolution mindset would improve almost all human social processes. It presents a practical challenge that can be implemented in almost every situation because its core relies on
Garry Turner
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This truly is a must read for anyone that has an interesting in reversing the over-consumption of our current society.

This book walks you through background context (such as 8 billionaires owning as much wealth as half of the rest of humanity on earth), offers processes & systems to help enact change and finally leaves you feeling that you really do have the power to be part of transformational change.

This book really is accessible and open to anybody. Those that work in change, OD, HR or leader
B Smith
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otto Scharmer's ability to "see the system" - a key success factor in being able to change the system - and his useful framing and tools to let go of the broken parts and embrace the emergent new-and-improved make this a must read for all of us working towards creating the future we want.

I consider this book a great companion to the Presencing Institute's web resources ( as well as Scharmer's Medium posts (
Harry Keller
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
There are lots of compelling ideas here, but they are wrapped in so much terminology, charts and procedures that it’s incredibly hard to hold it all in your head and “get it”. Maybe that’s normal for the condensed version. While I enjoyed reading it and while I’ve probably subconsciously absorbed aspects and integrated them into my thinking, I couldn’t explain theory U to anyone. It remains quite convoluted and not very accessible to me.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se debe de leer

Este libro ejemplifica lo que está sucediendo a lo largo de distintos sectores que influyen nuestras vidas, a pesar de estar en un momento de cambio aun se necesita mayor conciencia y el autor nos regala ejemplos prácticos para lograrlo.
Rebecca Epting
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a really beautiful book about making systemic change. I never really understood how mindfulness could be connected to large system changes, but this book does it beautifully. Very meta, but very empowering.
Carl Lens
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Next level tree hugging. A bit out of my comfort zone. I feel not capable of understanding this which makes it fascinating. Only three stars because I can’t make enough sense of it. I will reread later and revise judgment.
Amine Delage
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Open eye and heart book

I loved the theory and shares cases
Insightful References
A paradigm shift to create a better world
I certainly recommend this book to executives coaches, supervisors and leaders who want to be part of a better future world
Design Thinking in anderen Worten mit einem Aufruf zu mehr social entrepreneurship. Leider hinten raus viel Werbung in eigener Sache
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A great view on change and how to implement it by continuing to follow what you believe. Professor Scharmer does a good job of explaining Theory U and how to implement it in our own lives properly.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: career
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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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“The problem with our current societal eco-systems is the broken feedback loop between the parts and the whole. Theory U offers a method for relinking the parts and the whole by making it possible for the system to sense and see itself. When that happens, the collective consciousness begins to shift from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness—from a silo view to a systems view.” 0 likes
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