Reviews

Recent additions to Context Institute's library

One of the articles in Good Medicine (IC#39)
Originally published in Fall 1994 on page 61
Copyright (c)1994, 1997 by Context Institute


ECOLOGICAL DESIGN: INVENTING THE FUTURE
A film about integrating Nature, Technology and Humanity

Video available from The Ecological Design Project, 225 Sterling Place #3J, Brooklyn, NY 11238, 1994

This outstanding one-hour documentary, illuminating the emergence of ecological design in the 20th century, includes interviews, ideas, and prototypes from pioneering designers who have trail-blazed the development of sustainable architecture, cities, energy systems, transport, and industry.

Included on the film are R. Buckminster Fuller, Paul MacCready, Paolo Soleri, Peter Calthorpe, James Wines, William McDonough, Ian McHarg, Andropogon, Edmund Bacon, Jay Baldwin, Mary Catherine Bateson, Ted Nelson, Hazel Henderson, Hunter and Amory Lovins, John Todd, Stewart Brand, and more. Unifying concepts include: design as a way of life, creating new forms of wealth, designing with nature, regenerative design, the biosphere, and the technosphere. The challenges, rewards, and aesthetics of the design process are woven throughout the film.

– Diane Gilman


CONFRONTING VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITIES: A Guide For Involving Citizens In Public Dialogue And Problem Solving

edited by Martha L. McCoy
The Study Circles Resource Center
P.O. Box 203, Pomfret, CT 06258,
203/ 928-2616
1994, 35 pp, $5.00 (paper)

This excellent booklet is designed to assist community leaders looking for ways to involve citizens in finding solutions to crime and violence. In addition to background materials, including a substantial bibliography, the guide offers a format for four discussion sessions that help participants address how violence affects their lives, the reasons for violence in our society, what can be done about violence in their neighborhoods, and violence in their schools.

The Study Circles Resource Center is offering up to 100 free copies to large-scale, community-wide crime prevention projects. The Center also offers an abbreviated version of the guide consisting of the core discussion material, entitled The Busy Citizen’s Discussion Guide: Violence in Our Communities ($1.00).

Jane Engel


THE END OF BUREAUCRACY AND THE RISE OF THE INTELLIGENT ORGANIZATION

Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot
Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco
399 pp, index, $25 (hardback) 1993

In their last book, the Pinchots described the concept of "intrapeuring," making change from within a corporation. In this book, they take another step, describing what bureaucracy does to an organization, and what it means to develop an "intelligent" organization that effectively taps the talents and capabilities of all employees. The book is revolutionary; the implications of fully empowering employees go far beyond the bottom line.

– Sarah van Gelder


MAVERICK: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace

Ricardo Semler
Warner Books, New York
1993, 335 pp., $22.95 (hardback)

If you want to stretch your sense of what’s possible in business, read this book. Semler took over his father’s Brazilian manufacturing company at age 21 and proceeded to treat his co-workers like (gasp!) adults, introducing freedom and empowerment that even many employee-owned businesses don’t provide. Readable and useable; highly recommended.

– Robert Gilman


SPIRITUAL POLITICS

Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson
Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. New York, NY
421 pp. $12.95 Paper. 1994

The authors make the case that politics has been given a bad name because it has become equated with "partisan power struggle." But politics is really the art of governance. "Spiritual politics" is focused not on competing interests and the demand for rights, but rather on the next evolutionary step for each individual and group. It directs our attention to resources and structures that will help citizens meet their own needs, while learning to embody the virtues common to all religions and systems of ethics – compassion, honesty, and the sharing of skills and resources.

Spiritual politics means seeing the soul, the highest potential in each person, whether friend or adversary, while not being blind to individual personalities and problems.

It is an approach that turns inward for understanding and inspiration, then brings this inspiration into the world to create new, more effective forms and institutions. Spiritual Politics is an exceptional book that addresses our collective discouragement while encouraging readers to cast off the old blinders of "consensual reality" and to explore the deeper causes of events.

– Jack Carlson

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