Category Archives: Philosophy

Warning: Deep thoughts ahead.

Death and grief

From an article in Fast Company:
Philosopher and consultant Peter Koestenbaum spends his days exploring truly big questions that have never sounded more relevant. Here, he reflects on what the shock of death teaches us about leadership — and how to move forward without forgetting.

For another way to view it, check out Harrison Owen’s concept of griefwork, which is the process that we as humans go through every time we encounter change. There’s a brief description here, and more in his book Expanding our now.

Book review: Bird by bird

I’ve just added Anne Lamott to my “List of People I’d Really Like To Meet”. Having just read her book Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life, I think she’s a nice person, interesting to be around and very wise.

The book contains many, many tips for the aspiring writer. Not on the technical stuff, like how to put the words together or how to sell your finished book to a publisher, but more on how to live as a writer. She makes the excellent point, that a writer’s main ambition should not be to be published but to write, since that is what a writer does most of the time.
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Book review: Man’s search for meaning

This is a very unusual book, spanning topics rarely encountered in one and the same volume. The author, Viktor E. Frankl, was a pshychologist and he spent most of world war 2 in Auschwitz and other concentration camps. And these two backgrounds have gone into this book which is both an account of his experiences in the concentration camps, a psychological analysis of how people react under such extreme conditions and a short introduction to his psychological school called Logotherapy.

The basic underlying theme here is meaning (logos in greek). Frankl argues, that what made some people endure the trials of the concentration camps, while many others gave up, was their ability to see meaning in their suffering. And in general, Frankl sees the drive to discover meaning as our most basic need, and he believes that many psychological problems (from neuroses to alcoholism) stem from a lack of meaning in peoples lives.
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What’s your world view

Everybody has a world view. It’s the glasses through which you look at the world. Your world view will help you see some things clearly, but may also distort other things. One thing that is important though, is to know the assumptions inherent in your world view. When you think what you think, what assumptions is this based on?

I do not claim to have the Answers (notice the capital A), but here’s some of the questions. These questions are totally basic, and can be found at the foundation of most world views. Most of these questions can probably not be answered conclusively, but which ever answer you choose to believe, will hold some implications for your world view.

Obviously I did not come up with these questions. Many of them have been hotly debated for thousands of years; this is just a list of the ones I could think of. Let me know what you think, did I leave some questions out, and where do you stand on the answers?
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Book review: Freedom and accountability at work

Can the business world learn anything from existential philosophy? Do concepts such as freedom, good and evil, accountability and anxiety have any meaning in a corporate setting?

After reading this book by Peter Koestenbaum and Peter Block, I have no doubt whatsoever that the answer is a resounding yes. The subtitle “Applying philosophical insight to the real world” is beautifully realized throughout the book.
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Quote

The decisive question for man is: Is he related to the infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance.
– Carl Jung

Book review: A simpler way

This book by Margaret Wheatley is without a doubt the most beautiful and unconventional business-related book I’ve ever read. It conveys it’s message not only through prose, but also in poems and photographs.

And the message itself is simple and beautiful, namely that:
There is a simpler way to organize human endeavour. It requires a new way of being in the world. It requires being in the world without fear. Being in the world with play and creativity. Seeking after what’s possible. Being willing to learn and to be surprised.

So what is this simpler way?
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