Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt

Pearson, Carol S. & Seivert, Sharon, Magic at Work: Camelot, Creative Leadership and Everyday Miracles, New York, NY: Currency-Doubleday, 1995, ISBN 0-385-41729-2, 360 pp


This is the book to read when you are in need of some inspiration. It will reveal to you the magic in your life that you didnít even realize was there.

Carol Pearson is the author of The Hero Within and Awakening the Heros Within. Both of these books are on Archetypes and Carol gave a talk on Archetypes: The Next Step After Type at the 1999 APT Conference in Phoenix.

The authors use the Arthurian legend and the story of the Holy Grail to show how work can become magic even in these tough times of change. We have been in the Warrior Archetype too long. The win/lose mentality ultimately doesnít last. We need to begin to use our Magician Archetype and find win/win solutions. The Warrior emphasizes: tough either/or choices, majority rules, specialized disciplinary thinking, meritocracy, competition, and hierarchical and adversarial relationships. The Magician seeks: vision, consensus, systemic, contextual thinking, utilization of individual talents, and conventional relationships.

Combining the concept of the five elements and the Camelot story, the authors look at the five stages needed to transform the world of work into a truly magical event. The element air represent the stage of initiation, fire is the trail by fire, ether is the call, water represents the stage of illumination, and earth is the stage of mastery. (The fifth element ether represents the spiritual aspect of life.)

Each section begins with a part of the Camelot story and then the authors use this to look at the process of finding your calling in a unique way. For example:The trial by fire stage of the Magicianís journey is illustrated by the story of King Arthur. Arthurís life demonstrates the virtue of action in the service of a higher cause, accepting his destiny, finding his purpose and mission, achieving goals by enlisting others, and anticipating potential defeat.

The book contains several quizzes in the appendices, including Carolís The Heroic Myth Index (HMI) Form E. This helps identify which is your strongest Archetype of the twelve that Carol has identified.

I found the book an interesting read as well as being inspirational. It helped me see how the mythic stories are relevant to the world of work as well as to oneís personal life. In fact we donít leave our personal lives behind when we go to work. They go with us to the office and unless companies begin to see the whole person in each of their workers, they will be poorer for it. In todayís world the way of the Warrior is crumbling apart. Companies that try to succeed by brute force are eventually sidelined. Only by helping each employee use his or her full talents can an organization hope to succeed.

The book is essentially a workshop that you as an individual could use or you could lead a team of workers through the process. It would also make a useful book to use as a study guide for an interested group. The materials are all there. As Carol Pearson say, the understanding of Archetypes is the next step in the study of Type.

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List of Articles by Jack Falt