"The freedom of the warrior is a freedom for the tribe, not a freedom from restrictions."

In this slim but powerful volume and Amazon #1 best-seller, award-winning business educator Sanford builds upon her five previous books and over three decades of research into human consciousness via time-honored indigenous teachings, lineage teachings, and quantum cosmology. Her timely reflections on how change occurs demonstrate that groups, businesses, institutions, and even individuals can facilitate and nurture transformation. As a concrete example of her philosophy of indirect teaching in this book, Sanford often refers to Phil Jackson, who developed similar strategies in his coaching philosophy with the Chicago Bulls. His work brought the team from a long losing streak to remarkable success by guiding players, including the inimitable Michael Jordan, to "develop consciousness of the interdependence of individual and team," as Sanford describes it. Later, Jackson also employed his techniques with the Los Angeles Lakers and helped shape the careers of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, and many others.

The familiar and popular basketball team allegories help illustrate the principles that Sanford clearly and methodically presents in the eight chapters and eight intermezzos. Sanford's musical and theatrical term for the reflective breaks encourages readers to respond in writing to specific questions related to each chapter narrative to develop self-observation and self-discovery connected to the readings. The author emphasizes the importance of doing these creative exercises before moving on to the next chapter. In addition to stressing the importance of the intermezzos, the first chapter, "A New Map," explores the theory of change, first from her viewpoint of examining her old teaching strategies versus interpreting what she was seeing her client participants achieving via non-hierarchical, shared purposes and the indirect work of inner transformation.

Although the concepts Sanford shares are based upon action research on four continents over three decades and could be opaque and difficult for the average reader to understand, she explains these clearly. The prose is informal, and each chapter's structure makes the narrative easy to follow. For example, the second chapter, "A Story of Change," begins with a narrative about Jackson's efforts to explore the unified mind in the aggressively individualistic world of sports. He expanded from his strict Pentecostal Christian experiences in childhood into his interests in Zen Buddhism and his study with Lakota elders. Sanford points out that "profound change rarely comes from direct interventions in the world, but rather indirectly through people's self-development and inner transformation. Transformation can occur when minds move beyond a mechanistic interpretation of the world and shift into less conditioned behaviors.

As the subject matter becomes more philosophically complex, the author clarifies the terminology in plain language. For instance, epistemology, the study of theories comprising how humans learn, is explored as related to inner development and the regenerative theory of knowing. She describes the levels of knowing focused on what she calls "borrowed ideas" and delves into her work with transforming global businesses to reshape impacts on society and the planet, a process that must move from binary, polarized thinking to a three-dimensional (or more) understanding of the world. The author believes that generating insights similar to Coach Jackson's work in basketball is fundamental to creating the cultural change that many people and cultures are now seeking. Because cultures shape human identity, those operating on binary assumptions can also trap people into expressing unexamined beliefs.

Consciousness is presented in the seventh chapter as the "necessary antidote to our overwhelming tendency to engage in automatic habits of thought and behavior." Sanford proposes using her Seven First Principles of Regeneration to step outside mechanistic thinking. In the eighth chapter, the author helpfully summarizes how her ideas can be applied to regenerate both organizations and personal lives. She recognizes the blind spots that readers of her work display that prevent full understanding: failure to recognize what is new, failure to recognize that their states of being have on their receptivity, failure to recognize their ingrained habits about accepting or rejecting new ideas, and lastly, lack of humility, and the necessity of stepping out of the mechanistic worldview.

In addition to the post-chapter intermezzos, the text is enhanced by several visual aids that illustrate certain principles. The four hidden variables of the regenerative theory of change, the triad of disciplines (consciousness, capability, culture), the order of effects, the culture tetrad (plus two visual aids for applying the tetrad), and the Socratic Pentad are among the illustrations that assist readers in visualizing and understanding the concepts presented. This book has the potential to inspire anyone interested in consciousness and the transformation of self and communities to reach for the regenerative change that is so desperately needed in this era of polarized politics.

Sanford's No More Feedback was a 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Montaigne Medal Finalist.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home