Book Review: Salmon of Knowledge

August 2009 / Book Reviews

Nick Owen’s Salmon of Knowledge

salmon of knowledgekeith bellamyAll it takes are six little words to catch and hold an individual’s attention. “Let me tell you a story.”

No matter our age, from infant to nonagenarian, the thought of hearing or telling a story acts at the deepest level of our neural structures and prepares us for a shift in consciousness – sometimes slight, sometimes profound. Telling and listening to stories are acts that define and distinguish us from most of the animal kingdom. Our stories reflect our humanity and our sense of being. Without stories, we would not be sitting at the current pinnacle of our development.

Nobody understands this better than Nick Owen. A master storyteller in his own right, he seeks out stories and records them in his own inimitable style, sometimes remaining true to the original text, other times tweaking them to ensure that they resonate with a modern listener or reader. More importantly, his finely tuned radar is ever watchful for the stories that evolve out of everyday happenings in his life and in the lives of those that he interacts with. Like the Maggid, the travelling storyteller of Jewish Chassidic times, he captures these stories without any purpose or intent other than knowing that they are gifts that he will be able to use at some future point in time.

Nick understands better than most that stories are the most powerful of the tools available to him in his life’s work of helping individuals and organizations transform themselves. In the Salmon of Knowledge, he has brought together another fabulous collection of short stories that anybody who is serious about transforming their lives, workplaces, families, communities or even the world should not be without. Some are old friends that we welcome back warmly, others are new or twists on a theme that take us, even momentarily, to some new place of thinking; a place where things will be different because that story is now part of our story.

Yet, if we are to make real change and real transformation we need to overcome a malaise that is upon us. In a world dominated by rational thinking, our stories strive to be factual with a mechanistic purpose and intent from the teller to the listener/reader. Important as rational thinking is, it pales into insignificance compared to the potential that can be unlocked by moving individuals into a post rational consciousness. To achieve this through stories requires that we learn how to unpack the stories, to read between the lines to understand the intentions and wisdom that exist at multiple levels of consciousness.

The second gift that the Salmon delivers to us is a framework to help individuals to unpack the stories presented not only in the book but also in their everyday life. Enjoy the stories in this book by all means, but more importantly take the framework offered and start using it to view life differently. Adapt it, modify it, extend it, throw away parts that don’t work for you, in short make it your own. If you follow this path, you will notice that your stories grow richer, at the same time you will start to see greater depth in all the stories of those around you.

As Heraclitus said, “A man can never step into the same river twice – for it is never the same river, and he is not the same man.” Similarly, with Nick Owen’s assistance and the Salmon’s Knowledge, you will never step into the same story twice. And that, my friends, can only be for the better.

Keith Bellamy
Independent Futurist
April 2009

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References

  • Adizes, I. (1988). Corporate lifecycles : How and Why Corporations Grow and Die and What To Do About It. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Adizes, I. (1999). Managing Corporate Lifecycles. Paramus, N.J.: Prentice Hall Press.
  • Benson, R. (2009). The Quest Effect: Mastering Breakthrough in Your Organization. Unpublished manuscript, forthcoming.
  • Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New York: Pantheon Books.
  • Connors, R.; Smith T.; Hickman C. (1994). The Oz Principle: Getting Results through Individual and Organizational Accountability. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall Press.
  • Graves, C. (2005). The Never Ending Quest: A Treatise on an Emergent Cyclical Conception of Adult Behavioral Systems and their Development, C. Cowan And N. Todorovic, eds. Santa Barbara, CA: ECLET Publishers.
  • Laszlo, E. (1996). Evolution: The General Theory. Cresskill, N.J: Hampton
  • Pasternak, C. (2004). Quest : The Essence of Humanity. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Peterson, J. (1999). Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. New York: Routledge.
  • Stacey, R. (1996). Complexity and Creativity in Organizations. San Francisco : Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Tice, L. (2009). Lou Tice Live seminar. Seattle.
  • Wilber, K. (2007). The Integral Vision: A Very Short Introduction to the Revolutionary Integral Approach to Life, God, the Universe, and Everything. Boston : Shambhala.
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Randall Benson has guided organizations through transformation and complex change for over 25 years. He is the principle consultant of Benson Consulting and author of The Quest Effect®. He developed the corporate quest, an approach to breakthrough, transformation and renewal that is based on repeating cycles of discovery and application. Randall has guided leaders in manufacturing, service, government and healthcare in their application of the corporate quest. He is also a frequent speaker, seminar presenter, and workshop facilitator. His work has been referenced in over 60 news articles and media spots. He lives in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.

For more information visit his blog at www.questeffect.com or his web site at www.bensonconsulting.com, or send a message torbenson@bensonconsulting.com.