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Empowering Public Wisdom - A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics

Tom Atlee shows us how we can harness our collective wisdom to discern the way forward in these complex and challenging times.  Inspiring and highly recommended! — William Ury, co-author, GETTING TO YES and author, THE THIRD SIDE

This book suggests new forms that can embed a wise public voice in real-world democratic governance ­ a wise and important development for the democracy movement. — Hawaii State Senator Les Ihara, Jr., Senate Majority Policy Leader

In this book you will find how diverse citizens can generate a coherent, shared “voice of the people,” infusing the political process with wise common sense by learning about, reflecting on, and discussing what needs to be considered to produce long-term, inclusive benefits. Doing this together moves us beyond partisanship to a place of collective responsibility for our shared destiny.

To buy Empowering Public wisdom, 280 pages for $14.95, click here. To learn more about it, click here.


The Tao of Democracy

Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All

by Tom Atlee

Here-and-now practices showing what's possible in our immediate future. An important gift for our small, challenged planet! -- Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet, co-author of Hope's Edge

About the most important thing that's happening at the beginning of the twenty-first century. -- Paul H. Ray, Ph.D, co-author of The Cultural Creatives

FIVE STARS: A basic book for humanity. -- Robert D. Steele, Top 100 Reviewer at

Much of the key material on this website -- and more -- is contained in these 334 pages. To find out more about The Tao of Democracy, click here. To order it now, click here.


Reflections on Evolutionary Activism

Essays, Poems and Prayers from an Emerging Field of Sacred Social Change

Tom Atlee offers a fresh, and penetrating perspective — connecting our understanding of evolution, consciousness, and activism into a new and compelling synthesis for making a difference in today's challenged world. —Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, The World Café

An inspiring manifesto, a handbook, a gift of love and truth like no other. —Robert Steele, #1 Amazon non-fiction reviewer

Evolution, the most ancient, complex and self-organized of all change processes, has been going on for 13.7 billion years. We are now part of that process becoming conscious. Inspired by the Great Story of evolution and our role in it, and guided by our increasing understanding of evolutionary dynamics, we can co-create wiser social systems, cultures, consciousness, and technologies. Much of the material on this site is part of this co-creative adventure.

To buy Reflections on Evolutionary Activism, 360 pages for $15, click here. To download a free PDF of the complete book, click here.



Bibliography of other Co-Intelligence-Related Literature
(not available from the Co-Intelligence Institute)

Methods to nurture collective intelligence
Holism, the new sciences and cultural transformation
Democracy and the new activism
New economics
Approaches to multi-modal intelligence and personality diversity


The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future, edited by Peggy Holman and Tom Devane (Berrett-Koehler, 1999). Describes 18 different approaches, including dialogue, future search, open space, appreciative inquiry and participative design, in doable detail -- with thoughts on the future and a unique matrix chart comparing all the methods described.
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge (Doubleday Currency, 1990). This book introduced the world to the idea of an organization that can learn. It was followed by the The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, by Senge, et. al. (Doubleday Currency, 1994), jam-packed with strategies, tools and exercises to help us build such organizations.
Future Search, by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff (Berrett-Koehler, 1995). A how-to book for finding common ground and co-creating the future of organizations and communities -
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion, by Marshall B. Rosenberg (PuddleDancer Press, 1999) - Good for interpersonal communication and thinking about human needs.
Open Space Technology, by Harrison Owen (Berrett-Koehler, 1997). The how-to manual for one of the simplest, most powerful self-organized collective processes we have.
Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, by Sam Kaner, et al. (New Society, 1996). A detailed guide to facilitated consensus process, organized so pieces can be copied and used by the group.
Dialogue: Rediscovering the Transforming Power of Conversation, by Linda Ellinor and Glenna Gerard (J. Wiley and Sons, 1998).
The Joy of Conversation, by Jaida N'ha Sandra (Utne, 1997). The Utne Reader-sponsored guide to co-creative salons of all types. Excellent writeups on study circles, listening circles, etc. -
Study Circles, by Len Oliver (Seven Locks, 1987). The history and practice of small-group, democratic, adult education and social learning.
Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture, by Christina Baldwin (Bantam 1998). A spiritual approach to talking/listening circles. .
The Leader as Martial Artist, by Arnold Mindell (HarperSF, 1992). The Aikido of conflict resolution, relationship and change.
Confessions of Empowering Organizations, by Redburn, Ray, et al. (Association for Quality and Participation, 1991). 92 case studies of partnership and empowerment, self-managed work crews, self-directed reorganizations -- with names and phone numbers.
Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and Willima Ury (Penguin, 1981). The classic introduction to principled negotiation. (See review of Roger Fisher's books by Rowan Smith and William Ury's GETTING TO PEACE.)

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Complexity, by M. Waldrop (Simon & Schuster, 1992). This book opened my eyes to the way nature generates totally new phenomena through the co-evolution of complex synergies.
Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley (Berrett-Koelher, 1999). How to relate to organizations as natural systems.
Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: Timeless Wisdom from the Science of Change, by John Briggs and David Peat (HarperCollins, 1999) - A brief layman's introduction to chaos theory and how it applies to life.
The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, by Fritjof Capra (Doubleday, 1996). Our favorite all-around introduction to the new sciences.
Seeing Nature: Deliberate encounters with the visible world, by Paul Krapfel (Chelsea Green, 1999) - Engaging examples of nature dancing entropy into life, and how we humans can join that dance.
The Aquarian Conspiracy, by Marilyn Ferguson (Tarcher,1980). The book on the holistic "new paradigm" revolution which laid the groundwork for co-intelligence.
Necessary Wisdom, by Charles Johnston (ICD Press, POB 85631, Seattle, WA 98145; 1991). The dance of opposites into creative co-evolution; building living bridges between us, where we come alive together.
Transforming Human Culture, by Jay Earley (SUNY, 1997). Tracking the evolution of integral culture from prehistory into the 21st Century.
Reworking Success, by Robert Theobald (New Society, 1997). An accessible re-examination of how to make communities and societies work better in the 21st Century.
New World, New Mind, by Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich (Touchstone, 1989). One of the biggest obstacles to social change is that our human nervous system, wired for life in nature, leaves us unable to directly perceive and respond to the many "invisible" threats generated by civilization.

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The New State by Mary Parker Follett. This 1918 classic explains the first vision of holistic democracy and has a greater density of quotable material on this subject than anything we know of. Follett coined the term "power-with." It is available in full online.
Society's Breakthrough: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
by Jim Rough (1stBooks, 2002). The creator of Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council weaves them into an innovative political vision that could make a real difference.
Heart Politics
, by Fran Peavey (New Society, 1986). One of the most creative inquiries into what it means to live a life trying to change things for the better, sensitive to the interconnectedness, mystery, beauty and quirkiness of life.
The Quickening of America, by Frances Moore Lappé and Paul Du Bois (Jossey-Bass, 1994). Powerful examples and new theory about how Americans are "doing democracy."
Democracy and Technology, by Richard Sclove (Guilford, 1995). Shows how technologies support and undermine democracy, and asks: "What role should democracy have in the development of technology?"
The Double Helix: Technology and Democracy in the American Future by E. Wenk (Ablex,1999). Describes the threats to democracy from technological innovation, focusing on those that require a political rather than technological solution.
Resource Manual for a Living Revolution, by Virginia Coover, Ellen Deacon, Charles Esser, and Christopher Moore (New Society Press, 1978) - Vision, analysis and practices from the Movement for a New Society who brought consensus and affinity groups broadly into activist movements.
A House Divided: Six Belief Systems Struggling for America's Soul, by Mark Gerzon (Tarcher/Putnam 1996). The divisions in America and how a new brand of patriots are trying to bridge those chasms.

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The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, by David C. Korten (Berrett-Koehler, 1999). A vision to move beyond corporatism to "eliminate the economic pathology that plagues us and create truly democratic, market-based, life-centered societies."
The Ecology of Commerce, by Paul Hawken (HarperBusiness, 1993). How an economy would work that fully collaborated with nature.
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, by Paul Hawken, L. Hunter Lovins, Amory Lovins (Back Bay Books, Oct 2000) - More about a nature-based economy, including powerful technical developments.
Who's Counting: Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies, and Global Economics - A very moving film about the measurables and immeasurables in our lives, and how economic measurements and policies affect them.
Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, edited by Hazel Henderson, Jon Lickerman, and Patrice Flynn. Here are detailed, sensible ways to measure a dozen diverse aspects of our national well-being, so we as citizens can tell if things are getting better or worse, and take action.

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Creating Community Anywhere, by Carolyn Shaffer and Kristin Anundsen (Tarcher/Perigree, 1993). "The most comprehensive book I know of about the community movement." -- M. Scott Peck. Building community with friends, family, support groups, neighborhoods, co-workers, cyber-companions, shared households and visionary communities. Excellent guidance on conflict, decision-making, celebrations, communication and dealing with community evolution and "shadow side."
Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets, by John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight (Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, 1993; $15 from ACTA Publications [800] 397-2282)
The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society, by Amitai Etzioni (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1993). The kick-off of the communitarian movement.
Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, by Robert N. Bellah, et al (U of California, 1985). A breakthrough classic on the nature of American community.
A Different Drum by N. Scott Peck. Tells us what needs to happen for us to feel like we're in community.
The Power in our Hands: Neighborhood-Based World Shaking, by Tony Gibson (Jon Carpenter, UK,1996). How-tos and stories for those who want to make a creative difference in their communities.
Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age, by Michael H. Shuman (The Free Press, 1998). The title says it.
Self-Reliant Cities, by David Morris (Sierra Club Books,1982). The classic visionary text on the relationships of American cities to energy. This and many other books on that topic can be found at

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Who Do You Think You Are? by Keith Harary and Eileen Donahue. (HarperSF, 1994). How to use The Berkeley Personality Profile, which explores human differences without "typing" people.
The Three Faces of Mind by Elaine de Beauport (Quest, 1996). An integrated theory of multi-modal intelligence based on the functions of the three parts of the human brain.
Frames of Mind by Howard Gardner (Basic Books, 1993). The first fully-researched theory of multiple intelligences that opened the door to expanded views of intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (Bantam, 1995). How we deal with our (and others') emotions can be a greater indicator of success than our IQ. A direct and successful challenge to the "cult of IQ."
The HeartMath Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin (HarperSF, 1999). Scientific evidence of the intuitive problem-solving capacity of the heart, and how to access it.
Seven Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Many Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong (Plume, 1993). An accessible, useful popularization of Howard Gardner's ideas.
Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso (Houghton Mifflin, 1987). An introduction to one of the most popular personality typing systems.
LifeTypes by Sandra Hirsch and Jean Kummerow (Warner, 1989). A popularization of the widely-used Myers-Briggs system of typing based on Carl Jung's analysis of personality.

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