Psychological Skeleton Key

While Michael J. ate some lunch and Mr. Charlie mumbled about music and elastic time, I rooted around for a book I wanted to mention.
In Over Our Heads; The Mental Demands of Modern Life” by Robert Kegan (Harvard) is an important scholarly psychology book. It is a model of adult development that posits an “advanced postmodern cirriculum” in our culture. Briefly, five stages. Stage three=seeking independence. Stage four=seeking interdependence. Stage five=creating systems of interdependence. This is an “always maturing, never mature” model of development, not tied to intelligence, age or education.
Most people struggle their whole lives to try to make it into stage four. A very few people are able to see beyond their own needs, and the needs of those dependent on them, and work toward creating new sets of related systems. An interesting aspect of the model is that those with more advanced comprehension are obligated to “slow down” and relate to others in a way that makes sense to the other. That is, a stage three person cannot comprehend the language of a stage four person. (Clinton was a stage four person. Bush is stage three.) What this means is that modifying your personal behavior to accomodate others slows you down personally, but speeds evolution of the common good.
A more practical treatment geared toward relations with those in your workplace can be found in “How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work.” Both are highly recommended and were true “before and after” books for me.