Tom Atlee was raised in a progressive Quaker activist family and left Antioch College in 1968 to do anti-war work. After a decade in a spiritual community, Atlee's peace work led to the 1986 cross-country Great Peace March, a watershed experience of collective intelligence in a self-organized mobile community. That experience inspired him to study innovations that help groups, organizations, and communities function in a collectively intelligent manner. As an integrative thinker, Atlee wove these innovations into coherent theories of holistic intelligence and wise democracy.
In 1996 Atlee founded the non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute and in 1998 created its vast and very popular website, co-intelligence.org, including many materials on using social crises for personal and social transformation.
His activism ceased to be partisan and became targeted at increasing the ability of society to make wise decisions on all the issues it faces. In 2003 he published THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY: USING CO-INTELLIGENCE TO CREATE A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL. He became a leading figure in the development of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and in its creation of the 2009 "Core Principles of Public Engagement", which is now the leading set of guidelines in the field of citizen participation.
In 2005 he became closely involved with the evolutionary spirituality work of Rev. Michael Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow. Atlee realized that his co-intelligence work was part of a larger evolutionary development -- the formation of a functioning global life-form embracing nature, humanity, and human technologies.
Atlee sees potential for a more activist, social change dimension in the "conscious evolution" work of Dowd, Barlow, and others, who focus more on celebration, personal development, and shifting the dominant cultural story. Atlee feels that conscious evolution implies a coherent and powerful role for a new form of activism that can stimulate evolutionary leaps in social systems. This led to his 2009 book REFLECTIONS ON EVOLUTIONARY ACTIVISM.
At 62 Atlee lives in a cooperative house in Eugene, Oregon, currently with nine other people, three cats and two dogs. While mostly occupied with his research, writing and networking, he occasionally speaks and advises professionals and officials on group process and community engagement. He enjoys movies, playing guitar and occasionally relaxing in nature.