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Posted December 27, 2005
Authors David Isaacs and Juanita Brown came up with the idea for the World Café when they tried to rescue a meeting in their home that was threatening to turn into a disaster. Leaders from the Skandia Corporation were supposed to have a discussion on their northern California home¿s beautiful patio. Unfortunately, it was pouring. Brown and Isaacs had to squeeze 24 Swedes into their living room. They hastily covered small TV tables with sheets of newsprint anchored with small flower vases. Soon, the place looked like a coffee shop. The delighted guests began conversing immediately, eventually moving among the small groups to hear what others had to say. Thus, the World Café movement was born. Isaacs and Brown include many stories about ways that organizations have used World Café conversations. They provide lists, drawings and discussion questions. Brown¿s commentary on process and principles weaves all this together. She makes grand claims for this approach, believing that conversation is the wave of the future and the best way for people to learn and change. Jargon alert: the authors truly adore New Age gobbledygook. One example suffices: 'Optimum learning and development occur in systems in which there is a rich web of interactions, along with an environment of novelty where new opportunities and spaces of possibility can be explored.' Despite such warm-hearted mush, we recommend this book to managers who are willing to experiment with an innovative meeting format that lets them synthesize experts¿ ideas with the experiences of their own people.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 5, 2005
This book is amazingly thorough. It includes the theory as well as the process of The World Cafe. This process enables people to enter into conversations that generate shared meaning, new ideas and deeper relationships. I have participated in World cafes and am delighted that a book is now available. Stories from around the world convey the many varieties of World cafes possible. The book alsosheds light on the metaphor of World cafe -- the way we as humans literally shape our future through networks of meaningful conversation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.