ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - November 2001


Issue Highlight — Actions That Might Matter
- In Actions That Might Matter, Peter Block challenges us to rethink our well-intended and often automatic urge during difficult times to just "Do Something!" Think instead, he asks, about authentic change, shifting consciousness, relationships, and reconciliation.

I In This Issue...
Global Quality from Johnsonville, WI, to Durban, South Africa, with Jennifer James
The Drugs Are in the Mail
Virtually Amazing
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along
What Did You Just Say?

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Brief Cases

Return to NFC Index

    Pageturners        Book Reviews with a Twist

Freedom and Accountability at Work: Applying Philosophic Insight to the Real World
By Peter Koestenbaum, Peter Block
Hardcover — 464 pages (July 2001) Jossey-Bass.

If we made a list of the most evocative leadership thinkers, speakers, writers, consultants, or people we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, Peter Block and Peter Koestenbaum would be at the top of the heap! Whenever we think of the phrase, “The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off,” we think of these two!

  Read this book. Each turn of the page in Freedom and Accountability at Work turns up a challenge to assumptions you never even knew you had, or a shove into thinking about things you maybe never even wanted to know you knew. Sometimes there is the necessity of just putting the book down and closing your eyes in order to breathe. Even the glossary provokes; “Maturity (is) choosing accountability. You want to be held accountable. It gives you dignity.”

  The book is in four parts: The Power and Structure of Freedom; The Potential of Anxiety; Speaking of Death and Evil; and Fully Human Organizations. Are they kidding? Where are the “how-to” steps? Do these two really think we have the capacity to figure it out ourselves? Do they really think we’re ready to act like we believe in the concepts of free will, responsibility, and accountability? Let’s hope so.

  If ever there was a time in human history when all of us needed to grow up, it must be now. If ever we needed to know that in every moment, we choose our actions, it must be now.

  Living out of free will, responsibility, and accountability means that “We must always remind ourselves that whatever another person may do, and regardless of how blameworthy the actions of another may be, we must nonetheless freely assume full responsibility for all our own actions, omissions, attitudes, and their consequences.” Escaping free will, “leads to cowardice where courage is essential, or to foolhardiness when restraint is in order.”

  Do you really want to know what we think about the book? We hope you will:

  • Read it today!
  • Talk about it with your friends and family and colleagues.
  • Take on your own personal and professional, moment-to-moment practice of freedom and accountability.
  • Then read it again next year when your newfound desire for maturity permits you to move even more deeply into the realization of your own human dignity.

Our favorite quote:
“We exist on the interface between good and evil. Our freedom chooses which side to take and how far to go. And this choice defines who we are.”

  Freedom and Accountability at Work: Applying Philosophic Insight to the Real World by Peter Koestenbaum, Peter Block. Hardcover - 464 pages (July 2001) Jossey-Bass; ISBN: 0787955949.

Reviewed by Carole and David Schwinn

Book Ratings:

= Pick it up today
  **** = Overnight it
*** = Snail mail it
** = At a library?
        * = Never mind

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