"John Renesch, renowned futurist and prolific author, has written a deeply provocative book to inspire the evolution of a new humanity. The Great Growing Up brilliantly captures the critical importance of the present moment and outlines a trajectory for achieving a mature, peaceful future for all. John¹s roadmap to our collective future is clear, compelling, and transformative. His new book is important and empowering. I highly recommend it." -- Lynne Twist, co-founder, The Pachamama Alliance
"Like a master painter, John Renesch provides a broad interpretive mural of the last half-century along with a sweeping and sense-making depiction of how humankind has encumbered itself with less than a fully human milieu. But he does not leave us in stoicism or anomie. He encourages hope that we can rebuild our future through new forms of conscious leadership. One is left with both an understanding of our past and a renewed sense of mission regarding a future on which mankind's very survival depends." -- Andre L. Delbecq, J. Thomas and Kathleen L. McCarthy University Professor, Santa Clara University
"John Renesch is a Renaissance Man who lives in the twenty-first century. In The Great Growing Up he shows how, through conscious evolution, we can put our predatory past behind us and create a dignitarian world. Prophetic yet practical, The Great Growing Up integrates science, philosophy, spirituality, and psychology into a compelling vision of a world that will work for everyone." -- Robert W. Fuller, former president, Oberlin College, author of All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity
"This book is about the art of the possible despite all odds in these turbulent times. It is a manifesto for all of us as humans to lead rather than follow our own evolution." -- Mark Thompson, bestselling coauthor of Success Built to Last
"In his new book - The Great Growing Up - John Renesch challenges us with authority, humanity, energy and optimism, to address the key issues facing society today, both globally and personally - and these two dimensions are closely linked. It is full of valuable insights, as well as being a call to action. These messages need urgent attention if we are to survive this century, let alone see a better world in the years ahead. Time is not on our side." -- Bruce Lloyd, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management, London South Bank University
"Ever the optimistic realist, John Renesch makes clear from the beginning that The Great Growing Up intends to make us uncomfortable with the lies we tell ourselves about our world and our place in it. In debunking the myths that we think guide us, John offers a transformative manifesto of what is possible for humanity with the emphasis on "human.” But this is not new age mumbo jumbo; John's background in business and the physical sciences is evident throughout. Read this book and share it." -- James A. Autry, author of The Servant Leader and Looking Around for God
"In The Great Growing Up, John Renesch meticulously describes today's dysfunctional societies and the dissatisfactions they have created. However, a well-functioning society is possible through 'conscious evolution,' the use of human intention to create alternative money systems, transformative learning, gender parity, energy independence, and a host of other paradigm changes. The Great Growing Up contains a vivid description of contemporary society that is as accurate as it is depressing; however, Renesch gives his readers a 'Great Dream' for the future that is rooted in the writings of the founders of the United States, yet rebooted for the tattered world of the 21st century . . . a splendid book." -- Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University, coauthor of Personal Mythology
"John Renesch has been a pioneer and visionary in the search for human values based on reciprocity and relationship rather than self interest and dominance. His search has led him to the threshold of a new awareness that he aptly calls The Great Growing Up. His book is an invitation to cross that threshold and together remake the world." -- Alan Briskin, author of The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace and coauthor of The Power of Collective Wisdom
"John's thinking and work about the direction we humans have to take is both challenging and timely. In The Great Growing Up we are given authentic hope. This book provides both an analysis and template for deep contemplation and action." -- David Kyle, author of The Four Powers of Leadership
"Inspiring, practical and thought provoking . . . The Great Growing Up challenges each of us to develop and stretch our capacities to generate a global reality that secures a preferred future 'that works for everyone'." -- Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., cultural anthropologist, author of The Four-Fold Way and Second Half of Life
"Have you ever wondered whether our planet is engaged in some epic transition to a better society? One where individuals, due to massive new technological and social interdependences, come to see themselves as part of a single integrated 'organism' or 'global brain,' as well as free, individual moral actors? Teilhard de Chardin called this coming event 'Planetization' and some foresight scholars see it as part of the natural developmental future of Earth. If we are to responsibly integrate our incredible new powers for self- and environmental change, and protect against ongoing environmental degradation and destruction, such a consciousness shift must occur. Read this sublime book, and start being the change yourself, every day. You'll find very few routes to deeper universal insight, peace and happiness that are as direct and valuable as this book." -- John Smart, President, Acceleration Studies Foundation
"John Renesch is not only a smart man, but also a wise one. The Great Growing Up offers a conscious choice for the kind of future we want to create and the role we each want to play in bringing it about. Don't just read this book - do it!" -- Alan M. Webber, cofounder, Fast Company magazine
"The Great Growing Up gives us vital and wise guidelines to the unprecedented emergence of ourselves as cocreators of our world. It is an important work for our own conscious evolution, self and social." -- Barbara Marx Hubbard, founder, Foundation for Conscious Evolution
"In The Great Growing Up, John Renesch has given us an astute diagnosis of what ails us as individuals and as a global community. He then gives us a prescription for treatment. But rather than a bitter pill to swallow, we have a recipe filled with hope for a renewed spirit." -- Gregg Magrane, Ph.D., geneticist, University of California San Francisco
"In The Great Growing Up John Renesch has brought together an impressive range of sources to provide a readable overview of our prospects for a renewed civilization. He manages to capture the essence of many concepts and ideas and to make them accessible. You don't need a Ph.D. to read this book - merely an open mind and a willing spirit." -- Richard Slaughter, futurist, Foresight International, Brisbane, Australia
"This is a beautiful easy-to-read book. Renesch weaves together the external and inner challenges humanity faces - ageing, inequity, gender imbalances, spiritual poverty, lack of reflection - and provides us with solutions forward. Humanity is like an adolescent, the transition to adulthood is not always easy, but through the work of John Renesch we are given an exploratory map on how this could be possible, and even more important, his book provides us with a pause, a time to reflect, on how each one of us can play a role in the transformation ahead, now." -- Professor Sohail Inayatullah, Tamkang University, Taiwan and the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
"The American Dream is under siege instead of being seized and society is at a significant crossroads. The Great Growing Up not only warns us of the destructive path our world is heading down, it provides a vision for a brighter, better future that our children can inherit. The good news is that we are still in control: we each can make a difference and John Renesch shows us how." -- Brian Feinblum, Planned Television Arts, Chief Marketing Officer, VP
"John Renesch challenges us to examine where we are in our evolution and squarely face the challenges confronting us as a species. Then he offers us the opportunity to transcend our conditions and engage in a global transformation of epic proportions. Will we squander this opportunity or act on it? Provocative, engaging and, most importantly, essential to the conscious evolution of humankind." -- Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., best-selling author of sixteen books, including With Purpose: From Success to Significance in Work and Life
"I welcome this important book which maps the unprecedented challenges and opportunities for humanity in this era. John Renesch, as always, is an expert guide to this phase of human development and he lays out our options with deep understanding and compassion." -- Hazel Henderson, President, Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil), author of Ethical Markets: Growing The Green Economy and Beyond Globalization
"Once again, John Renesch gives us the benefit of his accumulated wisdom and experience with The Great Growing Up. He points the way to a new vision of infinite possibilities, which is available to everyone. If you're interested in changing the world for the better, then The Great Growing Up is a must read. You'll be glad you did!" -- Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions Radio; author of the bestselling An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms and True Work: Doing What You Love and Loving What You Do
"In his new book, The Great Growing Up, John Renesch explodes the myths that have kept us bound to a dying world and awakens us - our minds and spirits - to the new possibilities. His deep reflections help us regain our inherent balance between how we choose to use the resources of the world and the resources of the spirit within - choices which allow us to 'take a stand,' standing on both feet, and walk into a new and more alive world. Congratulations on creating a really excellent book for our time!" -- Pat Lynch, Founder and CEO, Women's Online Media and Education Network
"The Great Growing Up invites you into an inspiring, big-picture vision of a world healed by changes in how we think, work, and live as individuals. John Renesch stands with you before the mirror of time to examine what we have created through our sometimes unconscious, careless freedoms. He plants seeds of change in the process, creating a space for you to discover a deeper sense of contribution through your own personal transformation into The Great Growing Up the world badly needs." -- Debbe Kennedy, founder, Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies, author of Putting Our Differences to Work: The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership, and High Performance
"In his new book, John Renesch makes an insightful and honest assessment of our past and maps the way forward for us as a society and individuals. His call to action is both critical and timely, empowering each of us to create the world we can be proud of - unified, just and profoundly human. The wealth of information and wisdom that is contained in this book is amazing." -- Julia Balandina Jaquier, Ph.D., Head of Sustainable Investment Group, AIG Investments, Zurich
"A powerful visionary beacon for our evolving humanity. John Renesch shows us how to be the change we would like to see - in humanity." -- Debashis Chowdhury, author of In Our Own Image: Humanity's Quest for Divinity via Technology
"With so many of us struggling, we all need a vision of hope that looks at life, business and the dark side of human behavior right in the eye. That's what John Renesch does in this provocative, comprehensive guide to the future - and our role in constructing it." -- Patricia Aburdene, author: Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism
"The Great Growing Up is packed with some of the best thinking this century has to offer about how to secure our future. The book is easy to read and will feed anybody with a hunger for change. Thought provoking, practical and inspiring." -- Mike Zeidler, founder, Association of Sustainability Practitioners, London
"An invitation to participate in an enhanced future for the human species, John Renesch's The Great Growing Up presents frightening evidence of the myths and trends propelling us down our current unsustainable path backed by an eloquent and inspirational vision for achievement of the shared peace, prosperity, and fulfillment that is the promise of all humankind, should we all only have the guts to overcome our fears, embrace meaningful change, and stand our ground." -- Darrell J. Brown, Vice-Chairman and Editor, Leaders Magazine
"An inspiring, visionary book detailing both the dangers and the opportunities before us, John Renesch persuasively shows how, despite the turmoil of our times, we can collectively rise to the occasion and create the society that we all know in our hearts is possible." -- Peter Russell, author of The Global Brain, Waking Up in Time, and other books
"Humanity is bound to live soon through either a breakdown or a breakthrough on an unprecedented scale. The Great Growing Up explores how we can improve the chances for the breakthrough." -- Bernard Lietaer, author of The Future of Money: Creating New Wealth, Work and a Wiser World
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
While we claim to admire people and groups who achieve great things - achievements most people think of as impossible - many of us live quiet lives of desperation, resigned to taking various anesthetics to make things more tolerable. Record amounts of anti-depressants are consumed and addiction to various substances and behaviors is standard fare. Clearly we have become a society that has renounced its idealism and traded it for lives of busy nothingness. The best available explanation is we find it too painful to maintain our idealism; the disappointment is too difficult to handle. But we pay a price for renouncing our idealism. We give up a piece of our soul - as people, as nations, and as citizens of the world.
While we have made huge technological advances in recent years, and have gained widespread wisdom from sages throughout the ages, many of us wonder why we haven't achieved the peaceful and secure existence here on Earth we claim to want. In the past century we have experienced breakthroughs of all kinds that allow us to create the kind of world we want for ourselves. So it isn't a matter of the conditions being right. We have the wherewithal!
The cynic's cry, "it will always be the way it has been.” This a disillusioned perspective, resigned to the present reality being as good as it gets. This is hardly the adventurous human eager to explore the unknown, setting out on the quest for what lies over the horizon. The cynic has lost the spirit of adventure, spirit of exploration and, perhaps, the spirit of being human.
Let us re-engage that inner explorer in us and leave space to NASA and the other outer space experts. Let us leave the oceans to the people already engaged in those explorations and leave the study of subatomic particles to the world's scientists. With all these people and organizations fully engaged in their adventures into these uncharted territories, there are still at least five billion of us who could start exploring who we are and what we want.
We have everything we need to transform society except, perhaps, the will. The first step is to choose. We must decide the promise of humanity is important enough to stand for it…and stand tall for it with all our might! Then we may get closer to answering the question of who we are and start acting more consistently with what we want.