Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart

Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart

by Donald Scherer, Carolyn Jabs

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Overview

Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart by Donald Scherer, Carolyn Jabs

Why, despite their best efforts, do good people find themselves in conflict? Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart introduces a novel approach to ethics that consistently dissolves conflict, restores goodwill, builds common purpose, and helps people thrive. Developed from years of scholarship and proven practice, this insightful approach to conflict resolution is effective in boardrooms and family rooms, classrooms and committees, faith communities and government agencies.

Rooted in rigorous ethical thinking, Cooperative Wisdom is highly readable. Written as a spirited exchange between an acclaimed philosopher and an inquisitive journalist, it has the energetic, inviting feel of a great conversation. Dr. Donald Scherer sets forth the human virtues that promote sustainability in natural and social environments. Award-winning journalist Carolyn Jabs asks the tough and pointed questions a smart reader would raise. Their collaboration distills a lifetime of research and analysis into practical principles that crack open stubborn problems and reveal cooperative solutions to persistent conflicts.

Cooperative Wisdom starts with the observation that human beings flourish in settings where cooperation produces mutual benefits. That's why people put so much effort into creating strong marriages, resilient families, robust associations, responsible companies, progressive communities, and effective governments. When change threatens these systems-as it inevitably does-cooperators find themselves in conflict even though they sincerely tried to do the right thing.
The authors then introduce readers to five social virtues: habits of thought and action that sustain cooperation despite change and conflict.
• Proactive compassion anticipates and responds to vulnerability.
• Deep discernment uncovers bedrock values.
• Intentional imagination expands our sense of what's possible.
• Inclusive integrity reworks cooperative structures so everyone can thrive.
• Creative courage embraces the risks of engagement.
For each virtue, the book recommends three practical strategies that will help readers learn how to apply the virtues in their own lives. Readers gain insight into how these practices work through examples drawn from history, current events, family life, and even scripture.
During his long and distinguished career as an environmental ethicist, Dr. Scherer has witnessed the power of these social virtues and practices. Both he and students he has trained have shown them to be effective in a wide range of personal, social, political, and environmental settings-from beta testing electric vehicles to securing the safety of donated blood supplies, from restoring a degraded ecosystem in Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley to helping parents find safe online environments for kids.

Cooperative Wisdom will appeal to anyone frustrated by disruptive change and apparently intractable disputes. The social virtues it describes open up promising paths where there seem to be nothing but dead ends. Providing clear, practical guidance that expands our understanding of what it means to be and do good in a complex world, this book equips readers to respond constructively to change, transcend conflict, and strengthen the communities on which our well-being depends.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997166811
Publisher: Green Wave Books
Publication date: 05/15/2016
Pages: 236
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dr. Donald Scherer is Professor Emeritus in the Philosophy Department of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. For more than 40 years, he has thought deeply about environmental ethics and social environments in which people can thrive. Cooperative Wisdom distills insights gleaned from his research and writing, teaching and mentoring.

Dr. Scherer has also put his ideas into practice, winning national respect for devising innovative partnerships that respond effectively to incipient conflict. He has consulted with businesses, faith communities, volunteer organizations, and educational institutions including Georgia State University where he facilitated cooperation between the university and the surrounding metropolitan area and Santa Clara University where he worked to improve regional water management.

Among other projects, he has advised the World Wildlife Fund on enlisting Fortune 500 corporations in ecological restoration, promoted interfaith dialogue through the World Council of Churches, developed ethical guidelines for minimizing the harm associated with responding to oil spills with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), devised plans for exotic species management with regional park systems, and consulted with various cities on innovative design for urban corridors.

Dr. Scherer served as past president of Green Energy Ohio. He is the lead author of Upstream/Downstream: Issues in Environmental Ethics and co-author with Dr. James Child of Two Paths towards Peace. He lives with his wife, Char, in a wind-powered home in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Carolyn Jabs, MA, is an experienced professional writer with a reputation for insight and sensitivity in dealing with complex social issues. She has written hundreds of articles about families, ethics, environmental issues, and the Internet.

Her work has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, Newsweek, Working Mother, and Family PC. Her award-winning column, Growing Up Online, is featured in regional parenting publications across the country. She is the author of The Heirloom Gardener and a contributor to Children and Nature: Making Connections.

Carolyn and her husband, David, live in Santa Barbara, California where she participates in the Women's Fund, serves on the Board of the local chapter of the Association for Women in Communications and practices tai chi.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Five Virtues that Dissolve Conflict and Restore Cooperation

Chapter 1
Being Good Is Not Enough:
Why We Need Social Virtues Now More than Ever

Chapter 2
Proactive Compassion:
Anticipating and Responding to Vulnerabilities
Practices:
1. Respond to risks revealed by specialization
2. Intercept harms triggered by change
3. Address gaps between assigned responsibilities

Chapter 3
Deep Discernment :
Discovering Bedrock Values
Practices:
1. Distinguish values from means
2. Be vigilant about accumulating harms
3. Honor multiple points of view

Chapter 4
Intentional Imagination:
Expanding What's Possible
Practices:
1. Examine assumptions
2. Extend known resources
3. Excavate concealed resources

Chapter 5
Inclusive Integrity:
Reworking Cooperation So Everyone Can Thrive
Practices:
1. Enlist flexible specialists
2. Anticipate predictable weakness
3. Treat every plan as a hypothesis

Chapter 6
Creative Courage:
Embracing the Risks of Engagement
Practices:
1. Address the failing hypothesis
2. Confront imbalanced benefits without undue blame
3. Hold tight to the cooperative vision

Chapter 7
Cooperative Wisdom:
The Social Virtues in Action

Acknowledgments

Appendix:
The Five Virtues and Fifteen Practices That Support Them

Index

About the Authors

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Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MarileeRTorres More than 1 year ago
Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart by Donald Scherer, Carolyn Jabs This is a book can help the reader as an individual, it can be used to help organize and facilitate within small groups, as well as being applicable to global issues. Existence, again for individuals , a nation state, a neighborhood group, or international alliance, is fraught with dilemmas, oppositional perspectives and all manner of challenges. This book offers well tried and studied avenues for dealing with resolving conflict, pushing through challenges to find creative solutions and how to pursue cooperation when so often there are seems to be chasms of division. This book offers ways to build conversation that can be grounded in shared concerns and mutually agreed understanding that will enable divergent sides to bridge the divides that might separate and create dysfunction. The authors help teach the language to allow constructive conversation and the building of communications for better relations. Such skills are needed within interpersonal relations , in the workplace, the community at large and I would dare say it would be helpful if law makers and international actors might read and learn from the wisdom and skills taught through this book The authors help ' lay it out' - the basic tenets , the steps to building conversation and the tools of communication to grow cooperation. This book can help equip one with practical knowledge that is beneficial and applicable to many aspects of their lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The lessons of "Cooperative Wisdom" are timely and profound. If you've ever run into a brick wall while trying to solve problems at home, at work, or in your community, this book is for you! The authors outline an innovative approach to conflict resolution that relies on the development of five virtues--all of which are within the grasp of anyone willing to work at it. The Q&A format that the authors employ draws the reader in and makes it easy to understand the various principles described in the book. Concrete examples bring the concepts to life and serve as proof that the authors' approach works. I enjoyed "Cooperative Wisdom" and have already recommended it to several people!
CJ2277 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars I always go into books like this with a fair bit of skepticism, wondering truly if there will be any new, insightful information brought to the table that isn’t some gimmick, or worse— an insult to my intelligence and common sense. So as I started reading “Cooperative Wisdom” I was fully prepared to see the same red flags, set the book down and call it a night. (I never claimed to be an open-minded guy). So imagine my surprise as I started in with the reading and was struck by how real and informative and just honest it all seemed. I was especially interested in how our viewpoint helped shape how we reacted to the world and the role of the ‘virtues’. The ideas presented here aren’t some abstract notions, but something each of us can do… sometimes it just takes knowing that thinking a certain way can change so much of how you feel inside, no matter your situation. While I won’t claim that everything in this book was for me, I was impressed (to my surprise) with how down to earth and relevant it was. The information here will help many people if they listen to what the authors are saying. An excellent read that I recommend without hesitation.
CodyBCB More than 1 year ago
I really liked the outline and overall construct of “Cooperative Wisdom" by Dr. Donald Scherer, PhD, and Carolyn Jabs. It was a practical read based on the authors’ own decades-long life and professional experiences with conflict resolution and complex social issues, and helps people to understand some personal issues better and hopefully help overcome challenges in life. I recommend it highly to anyone wanting to improve the value of their relationships and how they deal with stress and unhappiness and other emotional and communication barriers to peace. It is a very engaging read because it’s not just lecturing or facts and figures, but relatable stories and interesting scenarios where the authors breaks down their points and uses them in real-world situations that we can all easily understand and apply. Thought the conversation-narrative between the authors was really engaging and helped to keep me interested throughout. Perfect editing and is fast paced - I read the whole thing in one evening, and it was as entertaining as it was informative. Great job!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart by Donald Scherer PhD. and Carolyn Jabs M.A. is an insightful book for readers who prefer to do the right thing for others instead of bad and harmful deeds. Human beings flourish in settings where cooperation produces mutual benefits. The authors speak about the five social virtues, habits of thought and action that sustain cooperation despite change and conflict. The book has three practical strategies for each virtue, which is helpful in guiding readers to apply these virtues in their own lives. The examples drawn from history, family life, and current events show how these practices work and how they can be incorporated into our lives effectively. The book is a good tool for all those who are looking for a better way to approach conflict and change. The book tells readers about the skills they need to develop to produce benefits for everyone involved when it comes to conflict resolution in relationships, families, the corporate world, and the government. It's well written and a good book for readers who want to understand and resolve conflicts in all parts of their lives. It's an engaging read as it is all about ethics and the authors' way of expressing these concepts is simple and easy to comprehend. The book is not only informative, but also educational, and shows how these virtues work very well when put together. It's a perfect book to bring people together and also when things fall apart.
GillianH More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars what I like about this book, “Cooperative Wisdom” is that it isn’t preachy, and the authors do not come across as some arrogant know-it-alls that so many of these types of books seem to attract. Instead they clearly and articulately explained in the form of a conversation with probing questions and insightful, profound answers that broadens our perspectives and makes us think. Not only is it very interesting to read and digest, but it is also very intelligently and coherently constructed in a way that truly engages the reader with thought-provoking questions and real life examples that further illustrates the points they are making. It is so easy to read, like really smart friends are talking to you and you just want to keep listening. Inspiring and relevant, I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking to make a positive change in their life. Suitable for teens on up.
KMatthews More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed and appreciated this book, “Cooperative Wisdom…” by Donald Scherer PhD and Carolyn Jabs M.A, and I’m glad I read it, as it was one of those books that genuinely makes you feel like a better, stronger, more enlightened and educated person for having done so. I thought it was excellently written with near flawless editing and pacing and formatting. It kept my attention from the intriguing opening to the satisfying and inspiring ending, and I liked how it is a mix of vignettes and “conversation-style’ dialogue, not just straight narrative and facts, which can be dry and boring. The authors do a great job of carefully developing the various concepts so that we the readers are totally immersed in the points they make, and I like how they ask the questions or present ideas and then follow through with real life examples (past or present). This is a fabulous well researched and documented book on conflict resolution that almost anyone can benefit from in some form or another. Was almost disappointed when I was done, but the ending gave the emotional satisfaction I look for in a great book, and is motivational as well. Recommend to fans of self-help/ inspirational books where you actually feel like you learned something useful that you can apply in your everyday life right now.
JennaBrewster More than 1 year ago
Holey moley, this book was terrific! Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing—It was all I could do though not to rush it… this isn’t a ‘quick-easy beach read” by any stretch, but more like something you sink back with for a while and let it take over your soul. I enjoyed the authors’ narrative “voice” and style of writing. The various concepts were intelligent, well-developed and easy to relate to, and the various ‘true life’ angles and examples made it all the more applicable and easy to understand. I have to commend the authors on the way that they managed to tell not only a great story with a great, empowering message, but doing so in a way that felt so relatable to everyone, no matter where they come from- culturally or religiously or economically. EVERYONE could use tools for proactive and healthy conflict resolution and learning to work together to be stronger instead of fighting against each other and being weaker and torn apart. Hats off for making such deep and profound observations about a wide range of things, supporting and demnstrating the precepts clearly, and presenting the whole thing in a highly readable and engaging manner. Chuckled a few times and agreed with several points and had more than one profound epiphany! Different from many books that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it… Highly recommend to fans of self-improvement, motivational and communication books.
BrendaMax More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, “Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart” (perfect title!) I thought the best aspect of it was how the principles it teaches and the helpful tips and suggestions can benefit almost everyone on some level, one way or another, regardless of where they are in life or where they came from or what they do. Clear and coherent chapters focus on different angles of handling stress, problems, conflicts, and recognizing how to best assess our own situation and steps on how to change it for the better with strategies that are well defined and easy to follow. I thought the whole book was excellently written and quite inspiring, and I liked that it actually gives some solid solutions and tools that are easily managed, and that can make a huge difference in our lives. I was engaged the whole way through and felt the whole thing from the formatting to the editing to the information was very professional and delivers a valuable message suitable for readers of almost any age. A great addition to the self-help genre.