By Jan Phillips

The Art of Original Thinking

Google summary:


Socially, economically, politically, and technologically our world is evolving in ways we could scarcely imagine even a few years ago. Now, more than ever, we need to close the gap between our professional and personal lives, bridge commerce to compassion, sustainability to profitability, and move from insight to action. This book is a brilliant guide to original thinking, inspired living, and visionary leadership – a hands-on guide to becoming a thought leader. Phillips challenges us to question assumptions, free ourselves from illusions, dispel myths, and question the origins of our thoughts. Phillips’ artful blend of storytelling, real-world examples, insightful interviews, and research sheds light on people, groups, and businesses around the world that are profiting exponentially through conscious choices and creative collaborations.

Introduction from the book:

Calling this book The Art of Original Thinking—The Making of a Thought Leader is a way of acknowledging that originality is a practice that can be learned, or rather rediscovered, reclaimed, with a certain amount of attention and surrender. As with any creative endeavor, originality in thinking, in being, requires a heightened state of alertness, a bridging of the poles, a show of fearlessness and willingness to forfeit the known for the unknown, the learned for the experienced. It requires a trust deeper than the sea, for what it asks for is a letting go, an unmooring from the safe harbor of certainty for a journey into the mists of mystery and possibility.

The compass is not the mind, but the heart, and the journey takes us away from what was and toward what can be. The old adage “Leaders are born, not made” represents a style of thinking that’s dualistic, argumentative, polarizing. It’s an either/or, right or wrong proposition. Someone decides it’s one way or the other and you have to choose. It’s that kind of thinking we’re leaving at the shore as we sail toward the possibility of unitive thinking: that leaders are born and made.

The premise of this book is that we are here to advance the evolution of thought, of human sensibility, of our own personal potential to be more than anyone ever said we could be. Its intention is to inspire thought leaders who are willing to be visible, vocal agents of evolutionary thinking for the global good. Its reach is both deep and wide. It will guide you on a journey into your own thought patterns and processes, helping you free yourself from obstacles to original thinking. And once you begin to think from your genuine center, once you begin to experience your own pure, uncontaminated thoughts, you will feel rising up from within you a calling, a challenge to be of use, an idea that needs you in order to become real in the world.

And it is this idea, your own original thought, that will guide you, empower you, enable you to take your place as a thought leader and catalyst for creative action.

Those who came before us did the best they could do, educating us to conform, to honor tradition, to study and sing and recite the appropriate creeds, anthems, and pledges. The instruction was never how to think, but what to think. Millions of us grew up believing everything we were told by people we trusted, abdicating our power to the proper authorities, and allowing our own creative powers to atrophy. Only now is it becoming clear to us what happened and what a distance we must travel to rediscover and reawaken our own originality.

This book is a road map for that journey. I am approaching it as an artist, hoping to create something that will envelop you in the experience of a new awakening, so that it is not just your mind that is fed, nourished, altered, but the entirety of you. I address you as an artist because I agree with Margaret Wheatley who says, “Start with the assumption that people, like all life, are creative and good at change.” You are an artist at life and whatever you’re making of it is the masterpiece you are working on. So I offer you the best of the poets and artists throughout history who have created words, images, stories to guide us, heal us, nudge us forward on this path of illuminating discovery: the discovery of our very own essence and the embodiment of our very own thoughts.

And I confess to this one desire: that as we each take this journey, we allow ourselves to become synthesizers of each others’ thoughts, and in that wild jumble of imaginations, in that glorious dance of unity and wholeness, we become the thought leaders for a new kind of planetary citizenship. That as we unwind and unfold our own creative DNA, as we unearth our own wisdom, that very act will awaken us to our commonness and common needs. And from that place, with that awareness, we will step into our power to create businesses, organizations, and institutions that thrive because they serve the common good. The solutions to the crises of our time do not lie dormant in one individual. They live like seeds in every one of us. It is not a savior who will rescue us from the plight and perils we face, but a communion of saints who go by our names.

This book is an attempt to awaken in all of us the memory of our vocation, our purpose–that we are here to advance life, to transform every experience into an uttering that is unique, that has never been heard before, that is a clue to the others, a warning, a leading. To be an original thinker is to be a scout on new horizons, an adventurer into new domains, a perpetrator of inspiration, a leader of thought and heartfelt action.

As the philosopher Beatrice Bruteau once wrote: “We cannot wait for the world to turn, for times to change that we might change with them, for the revolution to come and carry us around in its new course. We are the future. We are the revolution.”

This is the time, and we are the ones. Godspeed to us all.

According to a reviewer:

As of Jan Phillips and her emphasis on enriching your life with imagination will be heartened to see that she is now carrying this mission into the business world where far too many CEOs and managers are focused only on the bottom line of profits with little regard for the well-being of people and the planet. In this book, Phillips challenges movers and shakers in the corporate world to become thought leaders, “vocal agents of evolutionary thinking for global good.” She presents a three-step process that involves releasing the past, embracing the present, and creating the future.

Phillips believes that originality is a practice that can be learned, or rather rediscovered, with the engines of attention and surrender. This kind of thinking moves beyond dualities and discovers the connections between people and the oneness of the entire human family. With many illustrations from artists and creative individuals in the corporate world, Phillips reveals how the practice of uniting the opposites makes for a synthesis that makes a difference. Another point she makes is that visionaries must be willing to embrace mysteries and not try to know everything:

“Mysticism is an experience of communion. It is an embodied awareness of oneness, an intuitive recognition that the whole is in all the parts. If religion were intelligence, mysticism would be wisdom. If religion were the recipe, mysticism would be the meal. Mysticism is the outer brought inward. It is not the knowledge of something, but the experience of something.”

Phillips makes a good case for this kind of spiritual intelligence and its role in creating a better world. She quotes philosopher Jacob Needleman, who has written:

“No one person can answer the question of meaning in this world today. It is in thinking together, under the strong conditions of serious search, that a new understanding can be approached. Group communication, group pondering, is the real art form of our time.”

Creativity can be dangerous, and tomorrow’s thought leaders in the corporate world must not be afraid of venturing far from the shores. Phillips fans the flames of our yearning to make a difference in the world and to create a masterpiece with our lives. She agrees with the philosopher Beatrice Bruteau, who said:

“We cannot wait for the world to turn, for times to change that we might change with them, for the revolution to come and carry us around to its new course. We are the future. We are the revolution.”

Important links:


Product details


Publisher : 9th Element Press (December 23, 2008)

Publication date : December 23, 2008

Print length : 248 pages

Best Sellers Rank: #1,977,273 in Kindle Store

#1,656 in Business Ethics (Kindle Store)

#1,898 in Education Leadership

#3,109 in Human Resources & Personnel Management (Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars    28 ratings

AMAZON CATEGORY: Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Education & Teaching

© 2022 - The Black Sheep Community | BvTF houdt kantoor bij Spaces, 
Herengracht 124-128, te Amsterdam \ Kvk: 34280739 \ BTW: NL128052247B01 \ t +31655870636 Terms of use | Privacy policy