Saturday, October 22, 2011

Theory U and Other Textbooks For Rent

 I'm trying to catch up with older unfinished posts. This one's from the George Washington University bookstore in DC from our Labor Day visit for a post-wedding reception for B&J's DC friends and relatives.

University bookstores are always interesting and in the short time I was let off the leash, I perused a couple of shelves.

Maybe most noteworthy is that students can rent their books these days. The rental price wasn't a whole lot different from the used prices, but I guess it saves the hassle of trying to sell it back. And, of course, there are also digital books available online.

Here are a few that were on the shelves.  Note, I'm not recommending any of these because I haven't read them.  I'm just throwing you some brain candy.

"The Theory U (also called "U" methodology) is a change management method targeting leadership as process of inner knowing and social innovation developed by Otto Scharmer and originally based on a process known as the U-process or U-procedure (also called 'bath tub' and 'U Way') developed by Dr Friedrich Glasl and Dirk Lemson of the NPI (Netherlands Pedagogical Institute) in 1968 (Bos, 1974 and Friedrich Glasl & Leo de la Houssaye, 1975) and presented systematically from the 1980s. It has been a valuable tool in organisation development and social development since that time (Allison, 2008, GOSH Trust, Büchele, U). Recently it has been elaborated as Theory U by Otto Scharmer.
"The initial method developed by Glasl and Lemson involved a social process involving a few or many co-workers, managers and/or policymakers proceeding from diagnosis of the present state of the organisation plans for the future. They described a process in a U formation consisting of three levels (technical and instrumental subsystem, social subsystem and cultural subsystem) and seven stages beginning with the observation of organisational phenomena, workflows, resources etc., and concluding with specific decisions about desired future processes and phenomena. The method draws on the Goethean techniques described by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, transforming observations into intuitions and judgements about the present state of the organisation and decisions about the future."  (From Wikipedia)

Barnett (2001) in his theory-laden book The Meaning of Environmental Security, looks at the increasingly global recognition of environmental problems by examining what he calls the “collision of environment and security.” He places the concept in the realm of politics, though embedded in an increasing awareness of the interconnectedness of modern problems. The traditional approach, which Barnett calls a view of environment and security, is that the state is the object to be secured, and this view is consistent with strategic concerns about warfare and territorial defense and is influenced by political and international relations theory.

The alternative approach of including the environment as a dimension of security advocates the security of the biosphere and its ecosystems as a means of protecting the habitat of all life on Earth, emphasizing that it is the eco-systems and ecological processes that must be secured (that is, their health, integrity, and functioning maintained). By shifting the focus to the ecosystem, the concept of ecological security concerns the overall welfare of the planet. (From Haven D. Cook, "Transboundary Natural Area Protection: Broadening the Definition of National Security")

Just Give Money to the Poor:
Amid all the complicated economic theories about the causes and solutions to poverty, one idea is so basic it seems radical: just give money to the poor. Despite its skeptics, researchers have found again and again that cash transfers given to significant portions of the population transform the lives of recipients. Countries from Mexico to South Africa to Indonesia are giving money directly to the poor and discovering that they use it wisely – to send their children to school, to start a business and to feed their families. (from Kumarian Press)

The publisher of Irony has this quote from Barack Obama on its website:
“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama

 From The Irony of American History which was first published in 1952:
 Our dreams of bringing the whole of human history under the control of the human will are ironically refuted by the fact that no group of idealists can easily move the pattern of history toward the desired goal of peace and justice. The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning. Our own nation, always a vivid symbol of the most characteristic attitudes of a bourgeois culture, is less potent to do what it wants in the hour of its greatest strength than it was in the days of its infancy. The infant is more secure in his world than the mature man is in his wider world. The pattern of the historical drama grows more quickly than the strength of even the most powerful man or nation.  [Copyright notice: Excerpt from pages 1–11 of The Irony of American History by Reinhold Niebuhr, published by the University of Chicago Press. ©1952 by the Estate of Reinhold Niebuhr. All rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that this entire notice, including copyright information, is carried and provided that the University of Chicago Press is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the University of Chicago Press. (Footnotes and other references included in the book may have been removed from this online version of the text.)]

And here's where they'll gladly take your money.


  1. I've been seeing more and more college bookstores offering the option to rent textbooks, which I definitely think is a pretty awesome thing for students.

  2. This is a great idea i.e textbooks for rent! Instead of buying an expensive textbook, using it for a couple of months, and selling it back at a huge loss, why not just pay a small rental fee at the beginning of the term, return the textbook at the end, and save yourself the hassle.

  3. Both of these are on the line between legit and illegit comments based on my standards here. One was three weeks ago, which I decided to allow, on the possibility that the link was just giving an example and not a blatant ad. And now this second one from someone in India. That's enough now. The next one with a rentabook link I'll delete. Anyone reading this gets the idea.


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