We live in a time of increasing polarization and irrationality, like a Tower of Babel with no distinction between fact and opinion, where information no longer changes minds. In cyberspace, we are bombarded with constant distractions and narcissistic self-making activities. Instant judgment and blame have replaced rational thinking. Organizations are bloated by bureaucracy and meaningless measures. Those working for positive change become exhausted, ill, and heartsick as their good work is ignored, underfunded, or attacked.
We need to acknowledge that we’re lost in a world far different than we hoped for. We need new maps to navigate our brave new world. In Leadership and the New Science, Wheatley provided encouraging maps for how to design organizations based on living systems’ capacity for inclusion, change, and adaptation. But in the twenty years since that book’s publication, she’s seen that in spite of our best efforts, the world that has emerged is on a destructive trajectory that won’t be reversed by our working harder, finding new methods, or forming better networks.
But Wheatley has not written a book to increase our despair. Quite the contrary. Her intention is to inspire us to do our work with greater resolve and energy, using maps that won’t mislead us. So Far from Home offers maps of two kinds. Using the newest of the new sciences, Wheatley shows how different dynamics interacted to create this harsh new world. A second kind of map invites us to choose a new role for ourselves as warriors for the human spirit. We develop the skills we need most—insight, bravery, decency, compassion—as we look honestly at this complex, difficult world. Clarity gives us enduring strength to discover our right work and create meaningful lives in this dark time.
So Far from Home is a startlingly honest, profoundly reflective, and yet paradoxically down-to-earth book rooted in the day-to-day experiences we all share but seen with fresh eyes. It is both affirming and provoking, calling us to reexamine our expectations and redefine our role for the work ahead. It is Wheatley’s most personal, heartfelt work to date.