I started reading Margaret Wheatley’s work thirty years ago and still find it fascinating. In this, her most recent book, she explores how leaders and others can help make the transition from the “old” paradigm based on hierarchy, linear thought, reductionism and the like to a new or emerging one based on systems thinking and more. Unlike most of her earlier books, Who Do You Choose To Be is written on the assumption that we cannot realistically hope to change the entire world at least from the vantage point of 2017 when the book was published.
Instead, all we can do is create what she calls “islands of sanity” in which we, as individuals, create communities, organizations, and even families that are in sync with an interconnected and networked world. While I don’t share her pessimism about the prospects for large scale social change, the book is worth reading because her idea of islands of sanity and her tools for creating them are right on target.
As is always the case with her books, she buttresses her case with lots of examples, both from her own work and from projects others have carried out around the world. As is also always the case with her books, this one is written on the assumption that social change has to start with the individual, in other words, with me.
On that front, I couldn’t agree with her more.