And the Beat Goes On


In this issue:
1. Reader Comments
2. Newsbits
3. December Editorial: “And the Beat Goes On”
4. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
5. Quote of the Month – Anita Roddick
6. Hot Link of the Month
7. Want to Blog?
8. “Click and Play” of the Month


Stewart Levine sent this excerpt from Sam Keen after reading last month’s editorial on fatal reasonableness:

In every society, however, there are extraordinary men and women who, for a variety of reasons, stand outside the social consensus, shatter the norms, and challenge the status quo. These iconoclasts – profits, rebels, revolutionaries, reformers, shamans, visionaries, mystics, artists, madmen, geniuses, schizophrenics – trouble the waters and disturb the majority but bring new creative energies into society. As the pathfinders of new ways of being and seeing, they pay a high personal price. They are often painfully self-conscious and lonely, and are both stranger and stronger than average folk.

Our age cries out for men filled with prophetic rage, men daring and political enough to husband the fragile and succulent earth and protect the weak and disenfranchised. In the mythology of Buddhism the ideal man, the bodhisattva, takes a vow to save or heal , all sentient beings. It requires a bit of madness and a lot of compassion to aspire to such a goal. But as long as we are talking about ideals, shouldn’t our reach exceed our grasp?

Robert White, founder of Lifespring and ARC International and present Chairman at Extraordinary People LLC, sent me this unsolicited endorsement a couple of weeks ago: “John Renesch is a unique talent — previously an editor of important books and anthologies, the founder and editor of the best newsletter on leadership ever produced, a thoughtful and insightful futurist and a man who walks his talk. He’s the first person I think of when I want ‘straight talk’ about organizations in the twenty-first century and my role as a leader.” Am I blushing or what? Many thanks, Robert, coming from you this means a lot to me.

Desmod Berghofer writes from Canada, “If we come at things from this perspective, we might more readily see that much of what we think is reasonable is not truly so (because it harms/hurts someone somewhere). Likewise, being unreasonable can also do harm.”

And thanks to Peg Noonan from Southern California for her nice email about last month’s editorial. Peg and I met at Anita Roddick’s home in Scotland more than a decade ago.


My Speaker’s Site Has Been Transformed…Come Look!
My keynote speaking pages have a new look. The new pages include two videos, one of my talk last year about Willis Harman, the inspiration for the Int’l Spirit at Work Awards. The other is a series of short excerpts from two talks I did in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the Ethos Institute’s annual conference on Business and Social Responsibility.

Where in the World Do Subscribers Live?
Here are some of the resident countries of your fellow subscribers, at least those where this information is obvious from their email addresses: Click here. Check and see ….let me know if you don’t see your country listed and we’ll add it.

“Fourth Sector Economy” Article in Ode Magazine
My friend and socially responsible investing pioneer Terry Mollner has an article in this month’s Ode Magazine in which he addresses corporations with social agendas.

Around Labor Day I met a colleague for lunch at Enrico’s restaurant on Broadway in the area of San Francisco that gave birth to the Beat Generation. Enrico Banducci was a rare impresario, the founder of the famous Hungry I night club which offered many talented performers their first chance. He is no longer associated with the restaurant which has passed through several hands over the years. The place still reminds me of those times when the Beat Generation was born. Kerouac, Ginsberg, poetry readings, tie-dyed tee shirts, psychedelic posters and all that. Enrico’s is a stone’s throw from City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio’s bar across the alley, “ground zero” for that era according to many Beat survivors.


Nonconformity, revolution, music, drugs and beatnik poetry were all part of the scene in the day of the Beat, the 1950s, leading up to the Summer of Love and the flower children of the sixties. Coincidentally, I walked past a new addition to the neighborhood a few doors away, the Beat Museum, which opened about a year earlier. I could not resist the temptation to browse the collections of posters, tee shirts and priceless photographs from the era.

On the previous weekend in Golden Gate Park there had been a free concert to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love, stirring memories of the Haight Ashbury, ground zero for the successor generation, the hippy era. Suddenly I was aware of being immersed in beatnikness, unplanned but nonetheless unquestionable.

Returning home after my lunch I was struck with the rebellious nature of those poets, artists, writers, and thinkers. I recalled the huge social revolution fuelled by a sense of hopelessness, directionlessness, meaninglessness and injustice. Students started demanding instead of knuckling under. Ordinary citizens marched against a war that seemed senseless to many and proved to be so as time passed after we left Vietnam.

The Beat Generation planted the seeds of change, a peaceful coup of convention, compliance and conformity. It is no secret that the human potential movement followed in the late sixties and early seventies. Many of us who survived that era are now elders in the movement to create more functional organizations, sustainable enterprises, environmental sanity, social justice and spiritual fulfillment.

We are standing on the shoulders of many rebellious, creative and courageous people who were fueled by their refusal to “fit in” and conform. They actually identified with being different, refusing to repeat their parents’ lifestyles. Their stands, their courage and their willingness to be seen as oddballs created the atmosphere of enormous creativity, unique visions and indomitable spirits that make up Northern California. Is it any wonder that Silicon Valley was born here a decade later?

So hats off to all those beatniks we may have ridiculed. Enjoy your Social Security and Medicare benefits as you can wax nostalgically about those days of free love, rebellion and unrestrained living. Thanks for paving the way! Thanks for promoting the Age of Aquarius, great music and helping to define freedom.

Now let us demonstrate a bit of that chutzpah demonstrated by the Beat Generation and their rebelliousness. Let us become revolutionaries and create a coup of consciousness for a better world.
(L-R) Ginsberg, Kerouac, The Hungry I, Vesuvio’s BookStore
4. NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “When Doing the Right Thing Becomes the Smart Thing To Do”


“This is no dress rehearsal. You’ve got one life, so just lead it and try to be remarkable.” – Anita Roddick

The Global Dialogue Center: a virtual gathering place for people throughout the world with a focus on leadership, professional and personal development — a place to think, question, explore new ideas, learn and connect with a purpose: helping us all become more effective leaders of our organizations, communities, schools, governments and families; John has participated in several GDC programs, archived on its website..
My blog – “Exploring the Better Future” – is located at the Global Dialogues Center; take a look and post your comments. I’d love to hear from some of you subscribers!

8. “CLICK & PLAY” OF THE MONTH: (see Audio and Videos, including Humorous, Provocative and Inspiring Videos)
Global Dialogue Center presents “Moments of Insight” with John Renesch, six 2-3 minute podcasts.

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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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