The logic applies equally to individuals, organisations, markets and societies, and provides a clear map of their characteristics – positive and negative. In this book, each story focuses on one level of the framework, representing a specific worldview – including values, beliefs and behaviours, and a place where the character upholding that view feels at home.

The content of this book is based on the work of psychology professor Clare W. Graves who worked with Abraham Maslow, among many others. In the 1950s, one of Graves’ students asked him which of all the psychologists was right. This set Graves off on a 35-year research project involving more than 1,000 empirical studies that produced insight critical to future human development. Sadly, Graves died before he could publish his final work. That might be why you have not heard of this incredibly useful framework.

Thankfully, some of his scholars and others picked it up. You may have heard of the Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory (ECLET), Spiral Dynamics, or Ken Wilber’s integral work. These are all excellent, albeit quite theoretical, academic and dense forays into Graves’ work. This book’s lively and colourful approach, however, seeks to inspire readers to delve into the framework and bring it to life.

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