We are at that very point in time when a 400-year-old age is dying and another is struggling to be born–a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of regeneration of individuality, liberty, community and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another and with the divine intelligence such as the world has always dreamed. Unfortunately, ahead lies equal possibility of massive institutional failure, enormous social and envIronmental carnage, and regression into another dark age of tyranny.
These words from Birth of the Chaordic Age are not those of a theoretical dreamer but the pragmatic founder and CEO Emeritus of the largest commercial enterprise on earth–VISA Inc. Annual volume of transactions under the VISA name and marks now approaches $8 trillion. Birth of the Chaordic Age is the inside story of VISA's creation, and how people and institutions of every conceivable language, culture, currency, race, economic practice. and political persuasion were linked together in an organization in which they simultaneously engaged in the most intense cooperation and fierce competition. It weaves together the story of VISA, my own unusual life story, and a visionary philosophy describing a new form of chaordic organization of which VISA was an archetype. It was written to constructively challenge beliefs about the nature of our world and the extent of personal, commercial, and societal change essential to a livable world in the twenty-first century.
"Every now and then a book breaks through to new ground in discovery. Looking at business and innovation together, Dee Hock offers an exciting look at the role of creative thinking in a sustainable future. I was quite simply stunned at how this man broke old, staid rules in defining a new theory of social economics: accessible, personal, and deeply inspiring."
----- Robert Redford
"From the military, to commerce, to the arts, our first priority is new models for effectively organizing human endeavor to match the wildly altered times. Dee Hock's books are the most original and apt approach to organizing we have been offered so far. It clearly fits the 'must read, must absorb' category for leaders in every sector.'' -
---- Tom Peters
"Entrenched, rigid bureaucracy is the common chain around mankind in the corporate, private and public sectors. Dee Hock knows how to replace it trans-culturally with generic, adaptable structures that breathe, innovate, respond, and recover as if reality and their loftier purposes matter first and foremost. Dee Hock's book is an organizational revolution that the world ignores at its stagnant peril."
----- Ralph Nader
"Dee Hock, practical visionary extraordinaire, has rearranged our mental furniture. If you think you already know how we think, organize ourselves, and achieve breakthrough results, be prepared to be surprised by this remarkable book."
----- Amory Lovins Founder and CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute
"Dee Hock has had a profound impact on my thinking and on my view of governance and problem solving in America. After 24 years in elective office, including two terms as Governor of Oregon, I have seen firsthand the need for the kind of new organizational structures described in this remarkable book. It is a must read for anyone who is serious about meeting the challenge of institutional failure in the United States."
----- John Kitzhaber, Oregon Governor
"Hock is a gentle giant who successfully challenged traditional management and organization of a global industry. His new way of thinking can change the way all of us approach our own lives and institutional structures."
----- Linda Golodner, President, National Consumers league.
"Dee Hock offers a vision that can transform any organization. His insights are brilliant and humane, his prescription is smart and workable. This is a book that aspiring leaders need to embrace."
----- Alan M. Webber, Founding Editor, Fast Company magazine
"Nothing is as important in today's world than for humanity to understand itself as a living system and move forward into the cooperative, chaordic age Dee Hock pioneered and interprets for us so eloquently. Read this fascinating book and take action."
----- Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph. D., evolution biologist and futurist, author of Earth Dance.
Far more than a riveting inside story of the creation of VISA—now the largest commercial enterprise on earth—One from Many is an absorbing story of personal and institutional transformation. Lyrical, profound, often humorous, it explores the complex societal problems and failing institutions that confront us all. It chronicles the emergence of a new form of Chaordic organization that blends chaos and order, which may be critical to a livable future, and shows how it is emerging in such effective organizations as VISA, the Internet, World Weather Watch, and open source software. A blend of history, biography, and philosophy, One from Many not only challenges the way we think about organizations, management, and our relationship to the natural world, it's a rollicking fine story as well.
"Dee Hock describes a new organizational culture that might well spell the difference between a smooth, orderly transition to a more salubrious, sustainable society and the chaos and anarchy some see in our near term future.''
----- Willis Harmon, founder World Business Academy and President, Institute of Noetic Sciences
"The originality and profundity of Dee Hock's wisdom can and does revolutionize institutions. I can bear witness to that in terms of his counsel in the creation of the United Religions Initiative. He made it possible for URI to flourish."
----- The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of California, President of the United Religions Initiative.
"There are very few people who have changed the world. Dee Hock is one of them. His book is a celebration of the redesign of human ego-systems and eco-systems including the most visceral and urgent form of communication--currency. There are very few books that can change one's life; this is one of them. A person with ideas that can change the world, whose book can change your mind. I have read it twice, sent copies to my friends, and that is not enough."
----- William McDonough, architect, designer, futurist. Principal McDonough Consulting. Author, Cradle to Cradle.
"Dee Hock's work will do for organization theory in the post-industrial age what the steam engine did for the industrial age."
----- Bernard Lietaer, Chairman, Access Foundation, and author of The Future of Money
"One From Many is about a new organizational form (chaordic) for human systems in harmony with the principles of nature and life itself. Anyone who imagines living in such a future will be captivated by the wisdom of this book. It maps our journey to purposeful, life-affirming organizations essential for a sustainable future."
----- Stephanie Pace Marshall, Ph.D., Founding President, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
"One From Many is quite simply the most important organizational leadership book of this century. If we manage to survive this century with the Earth's ecosystems, climate, water, biodiversity, and societies intact, it will be in no small part due to the rapid adoption of the vital ideas in this book."
----- Molly Harriss Olson, Founder, National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development
"This book is a rarity! The ideas and experiences in One From Many changed the way the world works. Read it at the risk of ending complacency and inaction. Buy a case now and save the trouble of replacing it each time you feel compelled to give your copy to someone who cares about making a difference."
----- Greg Steltenpohl, Founder, Odwalla, Inc.
"Hock describes the context and chaordic process present in the creative forces of nature that similarly apply to humankind's efforts to reach our fullest potential. In no discipline will application of this vision be more critical for achieving the interconnectivity, decision support, and transformational clinical integration needed for the 21st century than in health care. Read this book!"
----- Jack Lewin, M.D., CEO, California Medical Association
"The leaders of today's most outstanding schools understand that top-down leadership does not create the kind of collaborative learning teams that every school needs. Hock's seminal book should be read by everyone who wishes to create environments in which all students and teachers are successful."
----- Dee Dickinson, Founder, New Horizons for Learning
"Dee Hock's genius and vision has made it possible for organizations of all types and sizes to re-envision themselves in new ways. One From Many encompasses quantum physics, chaos theory, cellular biology, the butterfly effect, the natural world, and common sense. One From Many is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the organization of the future."
----- Michael Toms, Founding President and Executive Producer/Host, New Dimensions Radio
"Dee Hock's work has become required reading for academic medicine. Once it is clear that improving patient care is the only purpose that matters, smart people begin to act smart again. Talent that had been paralyzed by dysfunctional systems becomes unleashed and is available to do the work of medicine and teaching."
----- David C. Leach, M.D., Executive Director, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medicine Education
Autobiography of a Restless Mind (2013)
Autobiography of a Restless Mind is a fascinating, exceptionally diverse collection of observations and reflections written over the past twenty-five years by one of the most innovative thinkers, writers, and leaders of the past half century. Witty and wise, playful and profound, prophetic and immensely quotable, it is a companion no thinking, caring person should be without.