Reviews and Comments on Engaging Emergence

On Amazon:

  • A Rationale for Hope by Charles Thrasher
    A few years ago this book would probably have been incomprehensible to me–at most, academically interesting, chaos and complexity theory, the human ability to self-organize. Then Mid-Eastern dictatorships began to fall enabled by a network of communications as complex as a nervous systems. The abstract became real with a force like rolling thunder.
  • Dealing with Complexity by P. Elvy
    This is a book you’ll want to own if you lead teams or participate in change efforts where the issues and opportunities you’re facing are complex…
  • Chaos is good by R. Lubensky
    This is the sort of easy-to-read book that you want to leave lying around so others will find it accidentally…
  • Wisdom for Staying Grounded in Uncharted Territory by Stephanie Nestlerode
    From my perspective, what distinguishes Peggy Holman’s work and makes it invaluable is the expanse that it covers …

From Penny Walker, who supports sustainable development change agents to be more effective: Engaging Emergence: First Impressions:

I read it in bursts, and every chapter has something comforting and challenging in it.

From change facilitator, Jon Harvey, in his list of books/films that inspire great leadership:

…sets out the source code for how to tackle wicked problems. A must read in these austere times…

From Kevin Buck at Emergent Success

Scroll to page 3 for a book review of Engaging Emergence.  An excerpt:

This is an interesting read and Peggy Holman does a masterful job of distilling her own study and experience of/with whole system change processes.  As a practitioner within the field, I can tell you that the real work will be: creating the space within you to host emergent change, seeing change as a creative ally, and trusting the collective wisdom of the group to co-innovate.  The music of change is always playing.  Partner up and move beyond know the steps — enjoy the dance.

From Chris Chapman, at Change Exploratory

There’s a handy new book around called “Engaging Emergence – Turning Upheaval into Opportunity” by Peggy Holman.  Emergence can be a difficult concept to grasp.  Peggy offers two definitions – a simple one : ‘order arising out of chaos’ and a less simple one : ‘higher order complexity arising out of chaos in which novel, coherent structures coalesce through interactions among the diverse entities of a system’.  OK ?

Developing the ability to work with emergence is a key challenge for lots of people who are used to a world that assumes predictability and where vast resources have been consumed developing strategic plans, milestones, key performance indicators etc etc etc.  If the world isn’t going to be like that (at least for the next while !), then what might it look like and how does our thinking about change need to change ?

From Dee EndlemanKEYS Organizational Consulting:

I just wanted to let you know that I loved reading Engaging Emergence.

I remember when we were working on the OSR Conference two years ago when you said that your next book about change would be thin compared to The Change Handbook.  Wow!  You so beautifully boiled nurturing emergence down to its essence while keeping personal and process practices in there to give people some guidance.  As I read it, I felt myself saying, again and again, “Of course!  This is something I know” although I’d never pulled the thoughts together in the natural and useful way that you did.  And the storytelling helped embody everything so beautifully.

Thank you!  I am already more intentionally using ideas around invitation, diversity, trust and questions now that I’ve read Engaging Emergence.  Such a great contribution to the field!

On Heartland Circle by Craig Neal:

I choose to be curious about chaos and breakdown. It offers me the best chance of more than just surviving. As things fall apart, it creates the space for something good to happen. Chaos creates a diversity of opportunity for people.

On Blog Business World by Wayne Hurlbert:

Peggy Holman turns the entire theory of change management upside down. In place of the usual concepts of controlled change and a managed future, the author invites open disruption that leads to unexpected and more creative results.

From Tenneson Woolf:

In particular, I’m appreciating some of her early framing. All beneath the umbrella of “emergence,” I can hear Peggy offers some simple invitations:

  1. To notice the relationship between complexity and breakthrough.
  2. To give focus to what I would call “our job” as we engage emergence.
  3. To welcome the benefits of emergence.