Book Review:Evolutionary Leadership

Helen Titchen Beeth

“ I am the universe writing about itself. You are the universe reading about itself. ”

Evolutionary Leadership CoverHelen Tichen BeethRuss Volckmann’s request that I review Peter Merry’s Evolutionary Leadership has been a personal gift to me. It is rare to come across writing that seems interwoven with one’s own heartstrings and core concerns. As far as I am concerned, this book is such.

Outside of Ken Wilber’s own prolific body of work, integral literature is still quite rare, so every offering that comes along tends to be treasured in our thirsty community. Peter Merry’s Evolutionary Leadership is an oasis—a banquet! It is a rare field guide to integral theory in action by one of the most inspired and engaged integral pioneers on the planet. The only problem is…right now it is available only in Dutch!

Peter is an Englishman living and working in the Netherlands. Although he wrote the manuscript in English, the first version published was the Dutch translation, simply because it was a Dutch publisher—being aware at first hand of Peter’s work in the Netherlands—who saw its timeliness and relevance. I, too, am aware of Peter’s work and, having gone over the English manuscript with my editor’s eye several years ago, I am honoured to be reviewing it for you now.

Because the manuscript has not yet been published in English, it makes little sense to review it without also giving an overview of the content. What you will read here is my best shot (over a family Christmas in Sweden) at summarising the plot while giving some commentary as I go. I assume that you, the reader, will have a basic knowledge of integral theory and some familiarity with spiral dynamics. You will find links to background sources at

Who is This Book for?

Unlikely to top the best-seller list, Evolutionary Leadership “ is written for people who are feeling the edge we are on, who sense something is inadequate about the way we are generally organising ourselves, and who are looking to make sense of things again, to find a role for themselves in this context”. Part of Peter’s purpose in writing the book was to “ bring together the experience of being in a space of freedom and wholeness with the hard technologies that we can use to manifest the work in the world.” If either of those quotes resonates with you, then this book is for you. No prior knowledge of integral theory is required.

AQAL Design

First off, Evolutionary Leadership embodies its promise as an integral book, bringing together a plethora of mental models and situating them in arguably the most developed integral framework we have today, Ken Wilber’s AQAL (AQAL stands for ‘all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types’) map. As the work unfolds, each conceptual model is related to the others and to actual practice in the internal and external world of individuals and collectives that we know and love as MESSY REALITY.

Paradoxes abound: this is a very personal book, written from a first-person autobiographical perspective, and yet the nature of the material being treated—covering the whole spectrum of some 13 billion years of evolution—makes it archetypically impersonal as well. The subject matter is hair-raisingly complex, so it is a mercy that Peter writes like he speaks, using layman’s terms, making this dense and intense reading experience refreshingly intimate and light.

The book is suitably dedicated: “For the good of the whole”, and each section is headed up with a poem written by Peter’s brother Tim Merry—conscious slam—intended to be read out loud, uniquely creative, challenging, profound.

The introduction opens with a call for informed realism in this age of fragmentation where the need is for reconnection. It is time to really understand the context that we are part of, to learn from all we have discovered as a species about the nature of life, and to align ourselves with that. Inquiring into the nature of life shows us that we live in a world that is evolving, not randomly, but towards ever greater complexity on the outside and compassion on the inside. So reconnecting to our world means connecting to evolution, understanding some of its general trends and aligning ourselves with them.

This book does that in both its form and its content, offering a range of maps, models and perspectives that direct our attention to these underlying patterns of evolutionary unfolding, without giving a comprehensive description of each (but always referencing the original sources) but pointing to their essence in order to highlight the deeper field from which they emerge. As the orienting design for his book, Peter uses Ken Wilber’s four quadrants—the interior and exterior of the individual and the collective—since evolution is all about the spiral dance between these four aspects in constant interaction.

The book is structured in seven chapters: (1) universal evolutionary tendencies; (2) our evolutionary story and current context; (3-6) what it means to lead from an evolutionary perspective in each of the four quadrants; (7) engaging in the world. In a nutshell, what we have here is one man’s highly competent leadership perspective on the shift from first to second tier in all four quadrants.

How It All Hangs Together (Chapter 1)

Peter starts by giving an overview of some of the underlying mechanisms involved in the vast process that is the evolutionary unfolding of the universe. At the heart of evolutionary leadership lies an understanding and feeling for these dynamics. I must be necessarily brief, since a summary of this kind cannot hope to do justice to the complexity of the subject matter—I hope to give you a taste of the approach Peter uses and a glimpse of how he combines different maps to good effect. The evolutionary trends he signals are the change cycle, inclusion and repression and the directionality of evolution.

The Change Cycle

Ichak Adizes ’ life cycle of systems, although created for working with organisations, can be applied to all the quadrants. A system first develops in response to a need then, if it has done a good job of meeting that need, there will be excess energy left over to engage with broader horizons and new, emerging needs. At this point, the system must choose between opening up to the new need and then accepting change, or closing down, denying the new and refusing change. Adize’s life cycle shows what happens when a system fails to adapt: its ‘fitness’ – literally, its fit with its environment – disappears and it disintegrates and dies.

The key for evolutionary living systems lies at that choice point: how to facilitate the emergence of a new system by listening to the feedback of the world around us while staying true to our own essential inner voice. In this context, Peter introduces the s-curve, an evolutionary pattern that has been identified in different specialisations (psychological and technological development, for example), showing how the new system co-exists for a while with the old one before replacing it. This is a critical phase, seemingly ruled by chaos but in reality held in a more subtle order where small stimuli have an amplified impact that can pull us towards breakdown or propel us toward breakthrough.

Peter goes on to combine the s-curve with the underlying patterns in Adizes’ life cycle and the spiral dynamics stages (explained in chapter 2) to identify detailed steps that a system goes through on the s-curve and to show how the stages repeat themselves in each new system and s-curve. There is a general deep pattern to each stage that remains the same, while manifesting differently in each system. The decline of a system is just an unhealthy version of the healthy ascent.

Two other models introduced under this heading are Beck and Cowan’s change state indicator, which maps the perceived fit of a system to its life conditions (alpha through delta) as it matures over time in an evolutionary context, and Howard Bloom’s five systemic players: conformity enforcers, diversity generators, resource shifters, inner judges and intergroup tournaments. Peter walks us through the unfolding complexity, showing how each model interacts and reinforces the others in a way that brings the whole to life and connects it with our experience. The exercise illustrates how important it is for evolutionary leaders to know as clearly as possible what situation we are facing in order to know what action is called for.

Inclusion Versus Repression

Evolution involves differentiating the old from the new. Dissociation is the push against the old which gives rise to the new. For healthy transition to occur, it is not enough to differentiate from the old—we need to re-embrace the healthy parts of the old system and carry them with us into the new. After all, the old system originally emerged to solve real problems, so it must have some validity. Unfortunately, human systems often go too far, and instead of differentiating from and then integrating the old, they dissociate and repress it, leading to various forms ofpathology, depending on the particular phase that was repressed. Accordingly, evolutionary leaders do what they can to foster the conditions for transcendence and inclusion.

Directionality of Evolution

While ‘direction’ suggests a place that evolution is trying to reach, ‘directionality’ suggests the trends that it follows as it unfolds. These trends are of increasing exterior complexity and increasing interior compassion. The former is easy to see in the evolutionary trajectory of the universe since the big bang, with the ordering of parts coming together into ever greater wholes, from hydrogen to human beings, along a path of gradual transcending and including. A key insight is that as each new level emerges, there is a further refinement of the relationships between the levels and between the parts at each level, creating better order and more efficient distribution of roles, so that the increasing complexity also miraculously creates greater simplicity.

The expanding interior compassion of the evolving universe is easiest to grasp in the unfolding of our own human consciousness. Each emerging stage—from egocentric to ethnocentric to world-centric to kosmocentric transcends and includes the previous ones, widening awareness to identify with ever more of the universe and extending compassion to ever more of life.

An important message here is that although we can notice this directionality, there is no guarantee that any form of life will succeed in perpetuating itself, nor can we predict what the surface manifestations of the deeper patterns of the successive stages will be. There is no pre-determined path, and as we struggle with life’s challenges, we are co-creating the future. Us. Here. Now. Always.

Where We’re At (Chapter 2)

On the broad canvas of universal evolution, what is the more specific evolutionary context of the critical phase we now find ourselves in? The great story that started 13.7 billion years ago is depicted as the nested hierarchy within which our human civilisation sits.

Peter uses the spiral dynamics integral model to illustrate our collective evolutionary journey, explaining how our individual consciousness, collective worldviews and civilisational forms are co-evolving in interaction with each other. This is an excellent introduction to the true complexity of the spiral, with some rather enlightening insights into the sticking points and pathologies that we have collected on our path. One point that becomes important as the book unfolds is the fact that in any individual or collective, there will normally be three systems gathered around the ‘centre of gravity’ at any time: an old one that is exiting, a dominant one, and a new one which is entering.

Evolutionary leadership becomes possible when individuals develop beyond the first six systems in the spiral and on into the second tier. Because they understanding developmental depth, 2nd tier systems can more easily engage with the world as it is, in all its deep diversity, rather than as we would like it to be. The 2nd tier imperative is to meet people wherever they are, help create the conditions where they can be most fully themselves in a way that benefits the whole and then facilitate emergence when people are ready to move on.

Peter draws interesting parallels between the 1st and 2nd tier systems that have manifested in the world so far. The themes of the first tier are echoed in the second, so while Beige is concerned with survival of the individual, Yellow’s concern is for the survival and wellbeing of humanity and the planet; while Purple was mystical due to emerging mind in the world of the body and matter, Turquoise is mystical due to emerging soul in the world of mind.

Because the 3rd and 4th second tier systems (Coral and Teal) are also starting to show up on our radar now, Peter includes these in his analysis. Where Red expresses self without fear or shame for the sake of its ego-centric self, Coral – representing the birth of the self beyond ego – does so for the good of the whole. Where Blue’s passion for order and truth is ethnocentric, Teal’s is universal. It finds ways to take into account all that we know so far, without exclusion, and dedicates itself to service of the whole. Another reason why the emergence of Coral and Teal is so important is that real passion and clarity are primarily present in the two central systems of each tier. For the moment, the only place where people can find the sense of purpose and greater truth they yearn for in this world—morally adrift in so many ways—are the radical, often extremist, movements centred in ethnocentric Red and Blue.

Taken in this context, it is easy to see how evolutionary leadership comes from 2nd tier perspectives. At this stage in our story we need leaders who can see the complexity and deep patterns, who are no longer attached to their own ego-driven needs and who are driven by passion to work in service of the evolving whole.

We look to facilitate healthy expressions of the different systems we find in the world—as opposed to unhealthy ones (defined as those which limit the expression and development of another system). In this work there can be no compromise—if we are properly transcending and including, no one should have to sacrifice their deeper needs for the good of the whole. It goes without saying that in order to do this work, we must have come to terms with each of the 1st tier systems in ourselves. Without a healthy relationship to the spiral inside us, we cannot work healthily with the spiral in the world.

Being an Evolutionary Leader (Chapter 3)

What might it be like, as an evolutionary leader, to lead oneself from a 2nd tier perspective? This is the interior felt experience, Wilber’s upper left quadrant. In sharing his personal experience, Peter’s description is subjective, but there are common themes with which many of us might resonate.

He starts with a reminder that no matter how personal and subjective our experience on this edge, this is nevertheless a most impersonal affair: what unfolds in any of us as we explore our inner space is the universe unfolding through us and as us. If the key to our next evolutionary move is about relationship and connection, now that we have achieved the necessary sense of unique selfhood that has characterised our evolutionary journey thus far, it is time to move on.

Peter’s analysis suggests that there are two steps needed to accomplish the next step: firstly to develop our sense of interconnectedness to everything else, and then, once that is done, to re-engage in our evolving world, while carrying that awareness of interconnectedness with us.

Our first work then is to reconnect with the ground of being. It is time to stop struggling and accept what is. If we carry our evolutionary awareness with us, we will realise that everything is the way it is right now because it has co-evolved out of our 13.7 billion year history. To resist it in anyway is profoundly unrealistic and evolutionary leaders don’t waste their energy on resisting what is! The technology of choice for overcoming lingering resistance is meditation. Coming into the present, the connection is simply there, and all is fundamentally well. We become able to see things as they are, with greater clarity, caring and compassion. The joy and suffering of life are intensified, and we are big enough to hold them both. Compassion with the world’s pain and insight into the interdependence of all things are the alchemical blend that fuels the passionate engagement of the evolutionary leader.

“ Out of this ground emerges a new being…that is fully alive and engaged in the world that is. A being of lightness and playfulness. A being of centredness and groundedness, of commitment and responsibility. A being who chooses at every moment to do what the universe calls them to do, in full realisation of what is, here and now. What needs to be done next is done with grace and efficiency. A Being, rather than a Doing.”

Much of Peter’s capacity to engage in the world as an evolutionary leader has come from practicing the five tenets of Andrew Cohen’s evolutionary enlightenment teaching. The five tenets are:

  1. Clarity of intention: wanting to be free and whole more than anything else. Without holding this as our primary intention, it is easy to slip back into self-centredeness.
  2. The Law of Volitionality: at every moment we are free to choose to act from our highest self, or to be dominated by our ego. We either choose to be free and whole, or not.
  3. Face everything and avoid nothing: We cannot be free and whole while we are hiding from things. If we are avoiding things “out there”, we are avoiding parts of our self.
  4. The Law of Impersonality: All of our experience is impersonal. It is not we, as unique individuals, who create our experiences, but the universe unfolding through us and as us. This attitude helps us stay humble and ordinary.
  5. For the good of the whole: due to our deep interconnectedness, everything we do at every moment has an impact on the whole.

To the extent that we live by these tenets, the yin and yang of our autonomy as free individuals and our communion with the planetary and universal mutually enhance each other. Our purity of motive and understanding of natural hierarchy (where everything we encounter is both part and whole in an evolving dance) produce spontaneous integrity of action and an ever-present evolutionary tension. As soon as we reach a place of clarity, the next questions begin to emerge: we are aligned with the natural workings of the universe and can live in that flow. “ The work really begins when our soul begins to walk the path that our mind can see”.

Looking After Ourselves (Chapter 4)

Given our intention to be free and whole in the world, how can we support our inner state by taking care of our physical organism (the upper right quadrant in Wilber’s system)? Since everything that exists (including our bodies) is both a part and a whole (a holon), fitness is about how it all fits together, all the way up and all the way down. Our physical body is the base and the ground for our mind and our soul. If evolutionary fitness is about adapting and responding to the world around us, how can we create the conditions in our bodies that can make us most responsive to emerging needs?

So much has been written about care of the body in both integral and more conventional circles, that Peter restricts himself to sharing the story of his own learning journey, and invites us to think about our own organism with this perspective of evolutionary fitness. He briefly recounts his own relationship with diet as a healer and balancer, exploring also the importance of water (quoting the studies by Dr. Masaru Emoto). Another aspect briefly but creatively covered is subtle energy, represented by the chakras, how they connect us into the world around us at different levels and the practices and stimuli that we can use to activate and balance these energies in ourselves.

I was particularly delighted by Peter’s insights about alkaline and acid as a metaphor of how the patterns within ourselves are fractals of the patterns in the world. All the things we tend to think of as unhealthy trigger acidity in our bodies: caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, stress, electrosmog…acidity creates illness and decay. It is not surprising, then, that our acidic social environment is also decaying! A brief chemistry lesson shows us how it works: acidic ions are missing an electron, and this makes them hungry. To find balance, they seek to take electrons from other substances (thereby causing decay). Alkaline ions, by contrast, have an extra electron, which they are looking to give away. Intriguingly, Peter relates this to the dance of yin and yang up the evolutionary spiral, likening yin to the sacrifice-self systems which try to fit into the world, giving in order to connect (alkaline) and yang to the express-self systems which try to fit the world to them, taking in order to feel whole (acid). Interestingly, the natural level of our blood plasma is not neutral (pH 7) but slightly alkaline (pH7.4). It seems that life needs an imbalance to keep it moving, and in us, that imbalance is towards the alkaline, the yin, self-sacrifice for connection. Despite the continual dance of the yin and the yang, could we be ultimately more inclined towards connectedness and community?

In these busiest of times, when taking the time to care for the body is all too often something we sacrifice, Peter’s message is that it’s up to us to find what suits us, just so long as we do it! My personal New Year’s resolutions are all inspired by this chapter.

Experiencing Collective Evolutionary Leadership (Chapter 5)

What happens when a group of people, all acting from a place beyond the separate sense of self, come together for the good of the whole? This exploration of Wilber’s lower left quadrant—the We space—is of special fascination to me. This is the intersubjective space: relationship is not any of the individuals involved. It is what lies between us.

This is where much of our deepest work must be done. Work that we cannot do alone. As we engage with others, we are confronted by the deepest parts of ourselves: the way we judge others is a projection of how we judge ourselves. Truly so. After all, we go back 13.7 billion years together. “Me looking at you is the universe looking at itself. What I see is who we are.

Ego relationship involves us in compromise to maintain the illusion of separateness. In relationship beyond ego, there must be no compromise. We give up none of our individual essence or integrity. Instead, we trust that we can all be our highest and fullest selves as we enter into relationship together. As individual evolutionary leaders, part of our practice is to learn to check with ourselves on the source of any discomfort we feel as we enter into relationship with others. We feel compassion for ourselves and the other as we become aware of our own dark corners while maintaining our connection to the ground of being and our deep knowing that nothing is fundamentally wrong.

As individuals, we have limited energy and if relationship is about shifting that limited energy between ourselves (in a ‘finite energy economy’) then that relationship will result in winners and losers and meet nobody’s deepest need. When instead we draw our energy from that higher, unlimited source that comes from our connection to the ground of being, each partner is enhanced, as is the relationship itself. Andrew Cohen’s Law of Volition applies here too: we can chose to relate beyond ego, or not.

When we manage to be together in this kind of space, some form of collective being emerges. It feels as if we are swept up in a spiralling vortex of collective insight and compassion. The individuals channel what is at the centre of the collective circle and the conversation—or co-creation, whatever it is—builds like one whole. Each individual feels enhanced in the process, there are no power games about whose voice is heard the most, for we speak as one. There is surrender and upliftment in the same moment.

These are the spaces we need to create and nurture as evolutionary leaders. Only here can we develop the collective insight and compassion that will take us through the coming turbulence. There are many doorways into this powerful We-fullness. Peter describes his experience of conversation circles, team sports and improvisation theatre. Our ultimate aim is to meet in collective space beyond separation in all our relationships with others.

Leading Evolution in Our Systems and Structures (Chapter 6)

For my money, Peter’s exploration of the evolutionary leader’s toolkit for engaging in Wilber’s lower right quadrant—how to enact these transformative collective spaces and process in practice—is one of the most exciting things I have ever read. Since first reading it two years ago, I have begun exploring this domain in my own work. Returning to reread it now, I get gooseflesh from how uncannily Peter’s descriptions match my experience.

The core question that feeds this exploration is “How can we create living, evolutionary systems?” Don Beck calls it ‘natural design’. We simply support things the way they naturally are and develop, by aligning our systems and structures with the laws of the universe. To be clear about what this means, the basic evolutionary elements at work are auto-poeisis (self-organisation into wholeness—yang), adaptability (partness—yin) andtransformation. Any organisation must have enough order connecting up the parts to hold it together and enough openness and flexibility to pick up and respond to feedback from its environment and context. How do you do all three?

The first step—a core principle of evolutionary leadership—is to meet life as it is. We start by identifying what kind of change is most appropriate based on where the system is in its life-cycle journey along the s-curve (encountered in chapter 1) and up the spiral (chapter 2). The answers to these questions determine the interventions we would make. Peter gives an overview of Clare Graves’s si>change conditions as an excellent tool to help with this diagnosis. Graves’s change variations point to what kind of interventions will be useful in which circumstances – first order change (working on the current system) or second order change (transforming into a new one).

Peter identifies two strategies, depending on where a system is at. Designing fitness works while the system still fits quite well with its environment (alpha). This is the ideal state for an organisation to be in. Facilitating emergence is called for when a system is suffering from the dissonance and stress of the beta and gamma phases. Satisfyingly, these two strategies cover the four capacities of holons, with designing fitness covering agency and communion and facilitating emergence covering self-transcendence and self-immanence.

Designing Fitness

When designing fitness and wholeness for an organisation, we are looking for fitness across all four of Wilber’s quadrants, aligned behind a noble Purpose that serves the world. Of primordial importance for a fit organisation is a need in the world that that organisation aims to meet. This is what defines its purpose. The more the organisation’s purpose resonates with a felt need in the world around it, the more energy it will attract.

Holding the whole together are a set of principles – guidelines for behaviour that, if followed, will enable the organisation to meet its purpose and the need in the world. The principles create the coherence and congruence that will attract people to it. Next comes the search for fitness between people and functions, culture and structures. This is where the spiral comes in, as the different functions inside an organisation tend to fit more or less with the different value systems. A very simplistic illustration would be auditing: Blue; sales/advertising: Orange; human resources/training: Green. People are best motivated when their work is aligned with their deeper evolutionary needs. Once the right people are in the rightfunctions, their habitats or structures can be designed to suit them optimally, with the appropriate physical space, motivational reward systems, and so on.

In short, natural design gives the organisation a clear identity to the outside world, combined with a healthy fitness inside, where people are working in environments which support them to be who they are, behind a clear purpose and guiding principles, for the good of the whole. When people’s energy is not taken up with struggling with systems and structures that go against their nature, they have energy to spare for creativity and innovation, and for dealing with external shocks, while continuing to keep the system running. Those of you familiar with the work of Dee Hock will recognise the chaordic process here.

Facilitating Emergence

In our current global context, which are somewhere between well-developed beta and gamma, there is a widespread need for 2nd order change. The processes Peter describes under this heading are approaches that he has used in such contexts.

He starts by setting out a very lucid map of how the future emerges into the present from the causal realm into the subtle realm and then into the gross, material realm. The different stages of consciousness that we grow through also flow through those realms, as they interface with our own selves through our three great states of deep sleep (causal), dreaming (subtle) and waking (gross). To take the spiral dynamics levels as an example, we may see all the levels from Beige to Green in our waking world (that which is an object in our awareness), have Yellow as our dream awareness (that we are still subject to), with Turquoise as the deep sleep ground. What makes up our waking world is what we have transcended, our dream world is so close to us we cannot see it, and our deep sleep world harbours that which will be next to emerge into our consciousness.

When we facilitate emergence in any system, the stage that is next for manifesting in the material realm is already present in the subtle realm, and the space from which we will be able to consciously access that subtle content is the causal realm. Those of you who are familiar with Otto Scharmer’s U-curve process will recognise the concept explained here. Peter’s is the most elegant explanation I have found that not only ties together Theory U, Spiral Dynamics Integral and the states of Wilber’s AQAL model, but also illustrates how we can apply these understandings in facilitating 2nd order change in systems of all sizes. He also synthesises the U-curve with Dee Hock’s Chaordic process, the Adizes life cycle and the S-curve. Every fresh synthesis seems to bring the map closer to the territory.

Peter describes two possible scenario’s for facilitating emergence:

  • the imaginal cells scenario (‘imaginal cell’ is the name which evolutionary biologists give to the cells that enable the butterfly to emerge as the caterpillar dissolves in the cocoon), where a small number of people from a larger organisation or system gather to explore a need they sense for a new way of being, without any of them holding positions of responsibility which would allow them to change structures through their own authority or power;
  • the conscious design scenario, where an individual or group with the necessary authority can initiate whole-systems change involving the people working ‘under’ them in the system.

This section of the book merits a book in itself, and I cannot do it justice here. Briefly, Peter (creatively) uses elements of the chaordic design flow and the U-curve. The first stage is always a dissonance, when people sense a need for change. What is required at this stage is to step outside andsee the old system from a distance, and then to check in with how other people are experiencing the system as it is. The next step is for the people concerned to understand how they themselves are part of the system they are pushing away from, and are co-creating the very system they want to change. They can then take responsibility for their actions and lead by example, with compassion towards the old system, which will ease much of the resistance they would otherwise encounter. At this stage, we are talking about a small number of people, the core group that will begin the chaordic design process to create the emergent system. All this must happen while the old system is still dominant and running the show. This emergent space needs the backing of someone high enough up in the system to protect its boundaries, or it will just get squashed. Creating new purpose and principles happens in quality conversation space. Only once these have been ‘presenced’ and crystallised is it time to look outside the core group for which other people need to be involved in order to take the project further. Then it is time to start exploring aconcept for the new system. Not yet a detailed structure, just a sense of what it will be like to work in. Once a container has been built for the people who are sensing this new need, it must be developed into a space where they can safely do the work they need to do to enable the shift to the new system. This is the imaginal cell. The people in it practice together being the way they would like the rest of the organisation to be. They areprototyping and realising the new system.

Peter gives practical advice and guidance about how to set about each stage in the process, going into some detail about facilitating both chaordic design and the U-process. This is the by far longest chapter in the book and includes a valuable section on communities of practice written by George Pór, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the theory and practice of collective intelligence.

Peter closes the chapter with an overview of the different methods he uses for meaningful conversations, covering circle, world café andopen space technology.

Stepping into the Flow (Chapter 7)

The last section is a call to action. Time to step off the cushion and engage with our world. “ Only if we face what we see in ourselves and in the world, will we become truly transformative evolutionary leaders”.

The book ends with three sections that make the case for evolutionary leadership in three main sectors of society: business, civil society and the public sector. There is also a bibliography and a short section on each of the people referenced, including web links.

For a 150-page manuscript, this book packs a huge punch. As both handbook and roadmap, it is what the integral community perhaps most needs at this point—an AQAL path towards a true global community of evolutionary leaders, a community of practice where we can start to practice, together, being the way we would like the rest of the world to be.

Useful Links– latest links around the book – putting it into practice in the Netherlands – putting into practice at work