The 8 Laws of Change: How to Be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation

The 8 Laws of Change: How to Be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation

by Stephan A. Schwartz


$15.26 $16.95 Save 10% Current price is $15.26, Original price is $16.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Friday, September 28  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


The 8 Laws of Change: How to Be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation by Stephan A. Schwartz

Scientifically based strategies for enacting successful and enduring change on personal, societal, and global levels, no matter what your background

• 2016 Nautilus Silver Award

• Shares the stories of people who have changed history, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ben Franklin, and Gandhi, detailing how they used the 8 laws of change

• Based on more than 16 years of scientific and historical research as well as the author’s own experiences during the Civil Rights movement

• Explores research in the fields of medicine, neuroscience, biology, and quantum physics to reveal the science of how the 8 laws of change work

Inspired by his own powerful experiences during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and other social movements in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Stephan Schwartz spent 16 years researching successful social transformations, uncovering the science and the patterns behind them all. He found that there are three ways to create social change. The first is the advancement of technology and science. The second—change compelled by physical power—is almost always coercive and violent and, for those reasons, not long lasting. The third avenue of change he discovered—the most successful and enduring—is one brought about by something so subtle it is often not taken seriously: small individual choices based on integrity and shared intention.

Revealing how the dynamics of change are learnable, Schwartz explains the 8 laws of individual and social behavior that can enable any person or small group—even ordinary people without great wealth, official position, or physical power—to bend the arc of history and create successful lasting transformation. He shares the stories of individuals who have actually changed history, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, and Mahatma Gandhi, detailing how they implemented the strategies and tactics of the 8 laws to achieve their success.

The author explores research in the fields of medicine, neuroscience, biology, and quantum physics to reveal the science of how these laws of change work. He explains why compassionate and life-affirming changes have the most enduring impact and shows how each of the 8 laws cultivates a sense of “beingness” in the individual, empowering your integrity and connecting you to something greater than yourself—the key to lasting change on the personal, societal, and global levels.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620554579
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 10/05/2015
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 461,945
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Stephan A. Schwartz is a distinguished consulting faculty member at Saybrook University, a research associate of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research, editor of the daily web publication, and columnist for the peer-reviewed research journal Explore. The author of 4 books and more than 100 technical papers, he has also written articles for Smithsonian, OMNI, American History, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post. He lives in Langley, Washington.

Read an Excerpt

3 Beingness

My friend Sheila, who was a tough-minded New York career newspaperwoman turned magazine writer, prided herself on her cynical view on life and her ability to not be taken in. One day she got an assignment to do a story on Mother Teresa, and she welcomed the opportunity. She saw the piece as an exposé. “I thought she was a fraud, a genius at public relations maybe, but I disliked her conservative theology, which I thought demeaned women, and I found her constant involvement with the rich and famous very suspect.” She explained to me how she arranged to join Mother Teresa and spend more than a week traveling with her and watching her at one of her hospices.

“My first impression never changed,” she said. “I disagreed with almost everything she had to say about religion. I found her views about God depressing, and her vision about the place of women in the church almost medieval. At the same time from the very first moment I was in her presence, I had this overpowering urge to call the magazine and tell them that I wasn’t coming back; that I wanted to give myself to Mother Teresa’s work. It left me confused and ecstatic. I could not resolve my thinking and my feelings.”

No one else in modern history has understood and articulated the approach of beingness better than Mahatma Gandhi. Just before he was assassinated, a reporter had the opportunity to interview Gandhi and asked this question: How did you force the British to leave India?

Britain had dominated the subcontinent for more than a century. Gandhi had no army, no money to speak of, no official position, none of the trappings that normally confer authority and power. Yet he had made the most powerful nation of his day leave its most valuable colonial possession, without a war.

Gandhi answered the question in this way. It perfectly articulates the power of beingness.

“It was not what we did that mattered,” he told the reporter,“although that mattered.

“It was not what we said that mattered,” he added, “although that mattered.

“It was the nature of our character that caused the British to choose to leave India.”

Positive life-affirming beingness is core to a social transformation strategy based on nonviolence. But I want to be clear that an intensity of beingness need not be positive and life affirming. There is a shadow side to this, and it is important to understand and acknowledge its reality. Let me take Gandhi’s antipode.

Albert Speer, Hitler’s favorite architect and later his minister of armaments and munitions, was considered a genius of organization, even by his enemies. The only member of Hitler’s inner circle to plead guilty at the Nuremberg Trials, he was imprisoned until 1966 in Spandau Prison. Interviewed after his release he said, “I ask myself time and again how much of it was a kind of auto-suggestion. One thing is certain: everyone who worked closely with Hitler . . . was exceptionally dependent on him. However powerful they were in their own domain, close to him they became small and timid.”

Speer is reported to have told Finance Minister Hjalmar Schacht, “I try so hard, but every time I stand before the Führer, my heart drops into the seat of my pants.”

Historians have debated for centuries what forces produce what they call “The Great Man,” leaders like Napoleon who arise from the mass, and with astonishing rapidity achieve positions of unchallenged power. How does a misfit like Hitler become the leader at a time of high civilization?

I think the answer is beingness. Carl Jung said to appreciate how Hitler came to power, it was necessary to realize that “Hitler did not lead the German people, Hitler was the German people”—the personification of a popular critical consensus.

The transformational power of beingness begins with an individual’s choices. But when that individual beingness is a peculiarly sensitive resonator, social change occurs whether for good or ill. Gandhi represents the life-affirming polarity that resulted in a people gaining their independence without war. Hitler personified and gave voice to the dark pool of anger and humiliation felt by that portion of the human race self-defined as German.

Hitler and Gandhi are extreme examples of the power of individual beingness, and what happens when intensely held individual beingness resonates with a collective gestalt. I am using them precisely because they are so extreme and because they illustrate very clearly that beingness is powerful—whether positive or negative.

As Anthropologist Margaret Mead so famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Ultimately it gets down to individual choice. Everything starts with one person holding an intention and making decisions expressing that intention. As their beingness changes even the most unlikely people can become enormously powerful. This process constitutes one of the least understood social forces in our world.

Consider these socially progressive evolutions in American society:

Public Education
Penal Reform
Women’s Suffrage
Civil Rights
Nuclear Freeze
Environmental Protection

The obvious thing they have in common is that they were all by design nonviolent; movements created mostly by people who did not command power as it is usually understood. Dig deeper and underneath the obvious, and independent of political considerations, there beats a deeper drum, one that is rarely recognized. The most fundamental thing all these changes had in common was that they occurred as the result of a transformation of self in common intention with others. Beingness.

The strategy of violence values immediacy and cares little for collateral damage. It is also vulnerable to violent change itself. The beingness strategy works at a deeper level; more slowly, because it changes people’s hearts. As the intention is expressed throughout the day in unnumbered small mundane individual choices, it produces a change in the worldview of the culture and with the minimum amount of violence and hurt.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The First Priority

1 Two Roads Diverge

2 Quotidian Choices

3 Beingness

4 How Many People Does It Take?

5 BeadforLife

6 Anonymous Power

7 The Power of Nonviolence

8 Taking the Long View

9 Greenpeace

10 The Issue of Authority

11 Nonlocal Consciousness

12 The Social Implications of Nonlocal Linkage and Fear

13 The Psychophysiology of Politics

14 The Power of Intentioned Awareness

15 Happiness Spreads like a Healthful Virus: Become a Carrier

16 Social Values, Social Wellness: Can We Know What Works?

17 Conclusion: Leverage Points





Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The 8 Laws of Change: How to Be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CynthiaSueLarson More than 1 year ago
How to Succeed in Positively Transforming the World and Yourself 8 LAWS OF CHANGE packs centuries of time-tested wisdom about how to successfully effect long-lasting positive change in the world. Schwartz shares insights from five decades of personal experiences, starting with the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, and continuing forward to today. Until 8 LAWS OF CHANGE, those of us striving to achieve social goals with small community groups have relied upon good intentions and good luck when bringing together people of different experiences and viewpoints. To say results are not guaranteed is an understatement! I’m grateful to have been involved in a few successful projects involving a small groups of dedicated individuals working in the face of opposition and with limited resources. People working together to improve the world need help holding a consistent vision of long-term goals without individuals pushing their specific beliefs or agendas— and 8 LAWS OF CHANGE serves as the best book I’ve yet seen that provides a guide for accomplishing that. Schwartz’s 8 LAWS OF CHANGE are key success factors responsible for having brought about change in American society in such areas as: civil rights, women’s suffrage, public education, and environmental protection. Schwartz introduces the 8 LAWS OF CHANGE by expressing astonishment that every successful movement for social change he lists began with “a few Quakers joining together in common intention.” Individuals and the group: share a common intention; have goals but not cherished outcomes; accept they may not see change in their lifetime; accept lack of credit or acknowledgement; enjoy fundamental equality; foreswear all violence; make private selves consistent with public postures; and act from the beingness of life-affirming integrity. Choosing my favorite part of this book is challenging, since it’s so well written, and filled with fascinating accounts and people. Some chapters share a successful case history, and others delve into important topics such as: taking the long view, the power of nonviolence, the issue of authority, the power of intentioned awareness, and nonlocal consciousness. I’m especially fond of investigating matters of nonlocal consciousness and intentioned awareness, and was pleased to see that these chapters provided current research findings and useful practical tips. Highly recommended!