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This weeks book list

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World by Michele Gelfand

In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms.

Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?”

In search of a common answer, Gelfand has spent two decades conducting research in more than fifty countries. Across all age groups, family variations, social classes, businesses, states and nationalities, she’s identified a primal pattern that can trigger cooperation or conflict. Her fascinating conclusion: behavior is highly influenced by the perception of threat.

With an approach that is consistently riveting, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers thrusts many of the puzzling attitudes and actions we observe into sudden and surprising clarity.

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Driftology : How to access life’s greatest opportunities by flying on the wings of others by Martin Kalungu-Banda

The first time I met Martin was in 2006 near Johannesburg, at a workshop on leading profound change. After introducing some principles and practices of “presencing” (leading change by sensing and actualizing one’s highest future possibility), I asked the workshop participants to volunteer some of their own experiences. A young man from Zambia stood up and shared his story about drifting and flying on the wings of others, which drew us in quickly and left us enchanted. He took us from a small village in Zambia all the way to the cabinet table of the Zambian government and to the boardrooms of multinational companies and international NGOs. His name, of course, was Martin Kalungu-Banda. Since then, I have seen Martin rise from a remarkably gifted young man to a masterful and highly accomplished practitioner and thought leader in the area of learning and leadership.

Martin talks about the human conditions that we are facing in these troubled times. One, the world is moved by forces beyond our control; that is, we have to continuously suspend our habits of judgment in order to cultivate our Open Mind (drifting). Two, we need to redirect our attention in order to connect to the “highest future possibilities” that the various guardian angels help to hold for us (attending). And three, we need to learn to connect with the present moment, and let come what wants to emerge (flying on the wings of others). As you read this book, I recommend that you use the stories to look at your own life’s journey. What is the drift you are experiencing in your life right now? What guardian angels do you see? If none, what is it that you are missing right now? What do you need to let go of? What do you feel wants to emerge? What is the larger purpose that you want to be in service of, and that, if connected to, might elevate you onto “the wings of others”? Enjoy the journey!

Otto Scharmer

The Mastermind by Evan Ratcliffe

It all started as an online prescription drug network, supplying hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of painkillers to American customers. It would not stop there. Before long, the business had turned into a sprawling multinational conglomerate engaged in almost every conceivable aspect of criminal mayhem. Yachts carrying $100 million in cocaine. Safe houses in Hong Kong filled with gold bars. Shipments of methamphetamine from North Korea. Weapons deals with Iran. Mercenary armies in Somalia. Teams of hit men in the Philippines. Encryption programs so advanced that the government could not break them.

The man behind it all, pulling the strings from a laptop in Manila, was Paul Calder Le Roux—a reclusive programmer turned criminal genius who could only exist in the networked world of the twenty-first century, and the kind of self-made crime boss that American law enforcement had never imagined.

For half a decade, DEA agents played a global game of cat-and-mouse with Le Roux as he left terror and chaos in his wake. Each time they came close, he would slip away. It would take relentless investigative work, and a shocking betrayal from within his organization, to catch him. And when he was finally caught, the story turned again, as Le Roux struck a deal to bring down his own organization and the people he had once employed.

Award-winning investigative journalist Evan Ratliff spent four years piecing together this intricate puzzle, chasing Le Roux’s empire and his shadowy henchmen around the world, conducting hundreds of interviews and uncovering thousands of documents. The result is a riveting, unprecedented account of a crime boss built by and for the digital age.

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