By @SimonCocking review of Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life, by Bob Rosen, Emma-Kate Swann, ISBN: 978-1-119-50846-5, Jul 2018, 272 pages. Available here.

Conscious is a deeply human approach to personal change

Our world is changing faster than our ability to adapt. Ambushed by speed, complexity, and uncertainty, many of us are unprepared for this acceleration. We act on autopilot as new challenges confront us. We are too reactive to problems and miss out on opportunities. We get hijacked by conflicting values and polarizing relationships. We face uncertainty with fear and mistrust. Stress and burnout are pervasive as many of us do not perform up to our potential.

Organizations are not adapting well either. Seventy percent of change efforts fail. Slow execution, unrealized growth, unhealthy cultures, and obsession with short-term results undermine long-term success. Inside communities, there is more tension, diminishing trust in our institutions, and a growing inability to solve our most complex social problems. The primary culprit for these maladies is our lack of awareness.

It does feel, more and more like what was once the ‘New Age’ movement of the hippies of the 70s, and the Buddhist teaching from the Dai Lai Lama and Soygal Rinpoche, Thich Nhat Hanh and their peers have now gone mainstream.  What was once a more niche worldview is becoming more and more part of everyday life, to the point where we don’t even question the need or importance of being ‘conscious’, ’emotionally intelligent’ or self-aware. We’re not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is impressive now to consider the now almost relentless flood of books looking to dip into this perspective and worldview.

If you are OK with this perspective then this is a well written and thoughtful book. It will require you to develop your levels of empathy and awareness to actually see what is going down around you. Naturally, in some ways, this seems like a world away from the current occupant of the Whitehouse and their preferred method of governing but maybe that is the call to arms that is needed, to make people question and articulate what they do, and don’t believe in. The response of ‘Fake News’ feels not dissimilar to the final, shrill denouncements of Joe McCarthy back in the 1950s, whose response when questioned or challenged was to then denounce those people as communists too.

Perhaps books like this may be more helpful than we realise, hopefully. It is a legitimate point to counter that many govern in ways completely opposed to this approach, but perhaps, hopefully this path outlined here is the more sustainable, ethical and helpful route to follow.

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