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    1999 Foresight Gathering Leaping the Abyss - Contents

Foresight "Group Genius" Weekend

Leaping the Abyss:

Putting Group Genius to Work

Further Reading

In 1977, the Taylors compiled a list of 500 books that contributed to the basic foundation of their first management center. Books have always been an integral part of the DesignShop environment. Here is a short list to get you started.



Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King, Shlomo Angel. A Pattern Language: Towns Buildings, Construction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Years of extensive research has yielded archetypal language-pattern language-for design of environmental elements ranging from communities and open spaces, to buildings, to areas such as window seats; use of this language gives lay people a practical application of architectural principles.

Alexander, Christopher. A Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

This new theory of architecture uncovers the patterns which bring a room, neighborhood, town, city, or region to life and give it unique identity.

Boulton, Alexander O. Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect: An Illustrated Biography. New York: Rizzoli, 1993.

Boulton traces the life and work of the twentieth-century American architect who called his innovative ideas "organic architecture."

Brand, Stewart. How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built. New York: Viking, 1994.

Buildings improve with time-if they're allowed. Brand shows how to work with time rather than against it.

Hall, Edward T. Hidden Dimension. New York: Anchor Books, 1990.

Hall introduces the science of proxemics to demonstrate how our use of space can affect personal and business relations, cross-cultural interactions, architecture, city planning, and urban renewal.

Hiss, Tony. The Experience of Place: A Completely New Way of Looking At and Dealing With Our Radically Changing Cities and Countryside. New York: Knopf, 1990.

"Simultaneous perception" allows our surroundings to disturb or soothe us as we engage in our tasks; computer simulations can determine the effect of simultaneous perception and aid in careful urban planning which will allow our environments to enrich the lives of future generations.


Organizational Strategy

Schwartz, Peter. The Art of the Long View: Paths to Strategic Insight for Yourself and Your Company. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

How to use scenario planning for developing strategic vision, navigating the future.

Stack, Jack with Bo Burlingham, ed. The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company. New York: Doubleday Currency, 1992.

Employee teams will focus and perform best if they perform like owners-with full information on the business including all financial matters.

Wing, R. L. The Art of Strategy: A New Translation of Sun Tzu's Classic, The Art of War. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

The fifty-two passages contained in this translation of classic essays can be used as worksheets showing the way to a clean and aesthetic triumph over life's obstacles by observing, calculating, outwitting and out-maneuvering adversaries and avoiding battles.


Complexity and Emergent Systems

Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. New York: Dutton, 1979.

Bateson applies his research on cybernetics and information theory to anthropology in an early venture into bringing the human and technological realms together.

Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. San Francisco: Chandler Publishing Co., 1972.

This collection includes a wide range of Bateson's early journal publications and speeches, and including his metalogues (dialogues with his daughter), his theory of schizophrenia, and his research on aquatic mammals and on semantics.

Jantsch, Erich.The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution. New York: Pergamon Press, 1980.

For many years the de facto landmark publication on self- organization, this book includes a heavy focus on dissipative structures and autopoietic theory.

Johanssom, Borje, Charlie Karlsson, Lars Westin, eds. Patterns of a Network Economy. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1994.

The advances in spatial and network concepts of economics, and the technological innovations that power them, have wide-ranging implications for international trade and the global economy.

Kauffman, Stuart. At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Darwinian selection alone cannot explain the complex systems and general laws that define the universe; another force, the emergence of self-organized order from chaos, is a concept we are just beginning to understand and apply to complex social and economic phenomena.

Kelly, Kevin. Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization. New York: Addison Wesley, 1994. (Also available on the Internet.)

In the new era, robust adaptability and autonomy of living organisms becomes a model for human systems from telecommunications to the global economy to drug design.

Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

In this landmark book-initiating the concept of paradigm shift-the author hypothesizes that scientific progress does not come only by evolution, but by a series of interludes of gradual progress punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions.

Minsky, Marvin. The Society of Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

A seminal book on the role of agents in cognition, language, and a unified theory of the mind.

Resnick, Mitchel. Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994.

Exploring the counterintuitive world of decentralized systems and self-organizing phenomena, Resnick examines how people resist decentralized ideas and proposes an innovative computer language that helps develop powerful new ways of thinking.

Toffler, Alvin. Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century. New York: Bantam Books, 1990. Also available on audio cassette.

The next century will herald a new system of high-tech wealth creation, and a tremendous upheaval as a new system, with workers owning the "tools of production" in the form of knowledge, become the "prosumers" who define the market.

Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave. New York: Morrow, 1980.

The second of Toffler's trilogy, Third Wave traces the nature and rate of social change from the Agricultural Era of the hunter-gatherers through the second wave or industrial revolution, to the third wave-the information revolution in which we are now participating-and its implications on human production and society.

Waldrop, Mitchell. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Waldrop traces the development of the emerging science of complexity and its implications to our organizational and economic systems through a multi-disciplinary focus, from biology to mathematics to emergent economic systems.


Learning and Organizations

Axelrod, Robert. The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books, 1984.

Axelrod explores the balance between egoism and social interaction and its implication in our changing social structures in areas such as cooperation, mathematical and strategic games, conflict management, and consensus-building.

Nonaka, Ikujiro and Hiro Takeuchi. The Knowledge Creating Company. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

The success of Japanese companies is in creating explicit knowledge (manuals, procedures, etc.) from tacit (experiential) knowledge through the work of middle managers who bridge the gap between top management ideas and the chaotic realities of the front line.

Senge, Peter. Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday/Currency, 1990.

Five "component technologies" provide the vital dimensions necessary to build organizations that continually enhance their capacity to realize high goals: personal mastery, shared vision, mental models, team learning, and systems thinking.

Weiner, Norbert. The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954.

"The purpose of this book is to explain the potentialities of the machine in fields which up to now have been taken to be purely human and to warn against the dangers of a purely selfish exploitation of these possibilities in a world in which to human beings, human beings are all-important."

Wilson, Robert Anton. The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science. Phoenix, AZ; Falcon Press, 1986.

An off-beat look at skepticism, knowledge, science, philosophy, materialism and 'rational science' in the context of twentieth-century society.



Asimov, Isaac. The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation's Edge,.....) New York: Caedmon, 1982. (Available as a sound recording read by the author.)

Asimov weaves the futuristic story of galactic history in the time between two empires as thinkers struggle to reduce 10,000 years of chaos to 1,000.

Bailey, James. After Thought: The Computer Challenge to Human Intelligence. New York: Basic Books, 1996.

New, more powerful computers will "think" in terms of pictures and paths, not numbers, challenging the primacy of humans as reasoners.

Brand, Stewart. The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT. New York, Viking, 1987.

A look at the work of one of the most exciting R&D labs in the world, and how it is individualizing tomorrow's media.

Drexler, K. Eric. Engines of Creation. New York: Doubleday, 1987.

A broad look at a future with nanotechnology, space development, machine intelligence, hypertext publishing, Engines calls for improved ways of debating technology policy.

Drexler, K. Eric. Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation. New York: Wiley, 1992.

The first hard-core textbook giving the analysis behind the case for molecular nanotechnology-challenging but helpful, even if all you read are the illustrations.

Drexler, K. Eric and Chris Peterson with Gayle Pergamit. Unbounding the Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution. New York: Quill, 1991.

Manipulation of matter at the molecular level to create new products with atom-by-atom precision will impinge on every part of our lives and revolutionize the whole world.

Fuller, R. Buckminster. Ideas and Integrities, A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure. Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Prentice-Hall, 1963.

The pioneer of designs and concepts such as the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion world map, and countless other structures that have changed the face of the world describes the development of his creative innovations and demonstrates how we may harvest technological advances to benefit all humanity.

Negroponte, Nicholas. Being Digital. New York: Knopf, 1995.

With bits replacing atoms as the basic commodity of human interaction, the revolution in information technology is liberating computers from the confines of keyboards and fundamentally altering how we learn, work, and entertain ourselves.

Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. New York: Harperperennial Library, 1994. (Also online.)

It is our essential task to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures if human evolution is to proceed; Rheingold is making those steps with millions of others via the electronic media, an ecosystem of subcultures made possible by rapidly expanding technologies.

Weiner, Norbert. Invention: The Care and Feeding of Ideas. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.

The father of cybernetics looks at the history of ideas and inventions, some of the social and economic patterns related to those inventions, and the innovation and change that are required if future technologies are to serve all segments of the world's population.

Weiner, Norbert. The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954.

"The purpose of this book is to explain the potentialities of the machine in fields which up to now have been taken to be purely human and to warn against the dangers of a purely selfish exploitation of these possibilities in a world in which to human beings, human beings are all-important."

Wieners, Brad and David Pescovitz. Reality Check. San Francisco: Hardwired, 1996.

Compilation from Wired magazine of technological projections, listed by date of expected arrival.


Education, Learning, and Creativity

Bolt, Lawrence G. Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design. New York: Arkana, 1993.

This innovative, unconventional, and profoundly practical career guide attacks the conventional thinking and describes new approaches to the twentieth century workplace.

Briggs, John. Fire in the Crucible: The Alchemy of Creative Genius. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

The author discusses the roots and development of genius and creative ability.

Leonard, George. Education and Ecstasy. New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. (also available from San Francisco: Big Sur Recordings, 1970. Cassette.)

The highest form of personal fulfillment is education.

Leonard, George. Mastery: The Keys to Long-Term Success and Fulfillment. New York: Plume, 1991.

The five keys to mastery are Instruction, Practice, Surrender (being a student), Intentionality (visualization and exercise), The Edge (pushing the limit); using these keys, people can sustain activity on the plateaus that are necessary until a new level is reached.

Gardner, Howard. Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York: Basic Books, 1993.

The ability to solve problems or fashion products valued in one or more cultures is intelligence, and all people have in varying degrees seven types of intelligence: linguistic, logical, musical, spatial, kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. (In later books, Gardner has added "naturalistic" intelligence, referring to those who can distinguish among and classify features of the environment.)

Halprin, Lawrence and Jim Burns. Taking Part: A Workshop Approach to Collective Creativity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974.

Includes suggestions and examples of enhancing creativity in a wide variety of "disciplines" through group relationships.

Heinlein, Robert. Time Enough for Love. New York: Ace Books, 1994 (reissue).

Through fiction, the author approaches the future and the human potentialities within it; the story about a man who discovers that love and mutual respect are the true reasons for wanting to live forever.

Heller, Steven and Steele, Terry Lee. Monsters and Magical Sticks: There's No Such Thing as Hypnosis? Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press, 1987.

Defining hypnotism as an altered state of mind, the authors take a look at the frequency with which we are all hypnotized, how we accomplish such altered states, and how they can effect our productivity, creativity and overall health, and our personal and organizational orientations to future possibilities.


Expanding Your Learning Power

Adler, Mortimer J. and Charles van Doren. How to Read a Book. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.

In this popular revision of the original classic, the authors describe how to achieve higher levels of reading, how to determine quickly the author's point of view; they present the various ways to get the most out of reading different types of material.

Buzan, Tony and Barry Buzan. The Mind Map Book. New York, Dutton, 1994.

Graphics can free your ideas to grow and expand constantly; graphic techniques such as mind mapping can help you mirror and magnify your brain's patterns of perception and significantly increase your ability to learn, think, and create and to join with others to pool thinking productively.

Kistler, Mark. Draw Squad. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Step-by-step, the author takes us through principles, examples, and exercises that enable the least "visual" of us to draw quickly and confidently.

Koberg, Don and Jim Bagnall. The Universal Traveler: A Soft-systems Guide to Creativity, Problem-Solving, and the Process of Design. Los Altos, CA: W. Kaufmann, 1974.

The authors identify essential types of questions that must be asked if problems are to be solved efficiently-questions concerning the nature, origin, and complexity of the problem to be addressed, and the resources and change needed to address it.


Leadership and Communication

Bennis, Warren and Patricia Biederman. Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997.

A leadership expert examines how the leaders of six Great Groups created a 'collaborative advantage'.

Greenleaf, Robert. Servant Leadership: A Journey in to the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New York: Paulist Press, 1977.

Greenleaf's hypotheses-true leaders are chosen by their followers based on skills in awareness, foresight, listening, and ability to use power to benefit the organization-has influenced an entire generation of management experts and institutional leaders in determining the true servant roles of their organizations.

Hall, Edward T. The Silent Language. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959.

We can understand complex cultural data only when we understand various Primary Message Systems-so enculturated that we are not aware of the extent to which our responses are build upon it-including cultural aspects of interaction, association, subsistence, bisexuality, territoriality, temporality, learning, play, defense, and exploitation.

Block, Peter. Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1993.

Applying the principles of stewardship will radically change all areas of organizations from governance to management; organizations will succeed in their marketplaces by choosing stewardship over self-interest and redistributing purpose and wealth; individuals will choose responsibility over entitlement, holding themselves accountable to those over whom they exercise power.

Hesselbein, Frances, Marshall Goldsmith, Richard Beckhard, eds. The Leader of the Future: New Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the Next Era. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996.

A collection of essays based on four principles: a leader is someone who has followers, who produces results, who sets examples, and who takes full responsibility.

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Leaping the Abyss - Table of Contents


1999 Foresight Gathering

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