Learning to Read the Signs
Reclaiming Pragmatism for the Practice of Sustainable Management
Edition: 2

Paper: 978-1-906093-79-2 / $37.50
Published: August 2013  

Cloth: 978-1-907643-90-3 / $100.00
Published: August 2013  

Publisher: Greenleaf
218 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/5"
It's not what we know, but how we learn. This is the key that Learning to Read the Signs uses in order to evaluate and apply ideas and facts to one's organization life. The book asks the reader to go back to and reclaim pragmatism: an activity of thought involving four parts: Investigation, Hypothesis, Action, and Testing. Pragmatism is a method of interpretation or inquiry which offers to the thoughtful business practitioner a way to better understand the reality in which we operate, to think critically and creatively, and for business people to think together to make the best use of all our perspectives and talents. Questions raised in this book include: What are the signs telling us? Where are we headed and why? Why are things going the way they are? What is our purpose?

Table of Contents:
Foreword to the Second Edition by Georg Kell

Foreword to the First Edition by Robert N. Bellah

Preface to the Second Edition: Nearly a generation later

Preface to the First Edition


Part I Begin

1. Why reclaim pragmatism for organizations?

Part II Explore

2. The filtered view from the corporate tower

3. The nature and purpose of business: Is it time to change our view?

4. How our filters came to be

Part III Interpret

5. Pragmatism: A community of inquirers

6. Extending Peirce beyond science: Diverse voices and corporate change

Part IV Decide – Hypothesize

7. Pragmatism from theory to practice: A PathFinder for organizations

8. Pragmatism in business: Lessons learned

Part V Act: The path ahead

9. The creative community

10. The still, small voice within

Epilogue: The story of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education by Jonas Haertle

Appendix I: UN PRME 3rd Global Forum Participants Guide

Appendix II: UN models and Pragmatic Inquiry Model

Appendix III: The PathFinder Lab Journal - Field Notebook

Selected bibliography


About the author


Reviews & Endorsements:
"This idea of pragmatism goes far beyond the conventional uses of today, but is a historically enduring principle that harnesses the deep intuition of our own perceptions and experiences and integrates it with the rapidly changing currents that surround us. Ron Nahser’s remarkable effort to resurrect this profound philosophy in the business world is a bold and noble move and, when applied effectively, will bring forth better, more significant decisions that will enhance both our physical and our spiritual well-being."
- Dr Stephen R. Covey, author, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
"[I]f only all business executives were to read and comprehend Learning to Read the Signs, the world would be a dramatically better place, and corporations would be far more resilient and better prepared to manage present and future challenges."
- Georg Kell, Executive Director , UN Global Compact
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