Theory U Book Summary - Theory U Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Theory U summary

C. Otto Scharmer

Leading From the Future as it Emerges

4 (43 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Theory U by C. Otto Scharmer is a management book that explores a process for accessing our deepest sources of creativity and innovation. It offers tools for developing a new level of awareness and leadership necessary for tackling complex global challenges.

Table of Contents

    Theory U
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Society is experiencing three revolutionary shifts that present it with great challenges.

    There are several trends in the world today that seem to be leading to imminent disaster. For example, although the economy is thriving, the number of poor people in the world is rising. Similarly, although we’re investing heavily into agriculture, we’re only using unsustainable mass-production methods to produce our food.

    These trends arise from three major shifts occurring in society.

    First, there’s the technological and economic shift of a globalized economy. Since the collapse of the socialist economies, the whole planet has, for the first time ever, been adhering to similar economic policies like downsizing governments and privatizing state-owned industries.

    This shift presents us with the challenge of how to make the economy more equitable to all, including future generations.

    Second, there’s the shift in international relations as powerful global institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank emerge.

    This challenges us, as we need to find a way to deepen democracy and evolve our political institutions so that everyone can directly participate in the decision-making processes without supranational institutions overruling them.

    Finally, there is a cultural and spiritual shift in the way we see and interact with the world. Non-governmental organizations and civil groups have emerged as global actors, having achieved  nonviolent societal transformations like the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the peace and human rights movements of the 1980s. Also, people are increasingly interested in spiritual topics like personal mastery and flow. One study found that including a spiritual component in employee training significantly raises their productivity.

    This presents us with the challenge of how we can start seeing every human as being on a journey – a journey to become their true, authentic self.

    Because of these major shifts, many leaders and key decision-makers now find themselves feeling lost and powerless.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Theory U?

    Key ideas in Theory U

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Theory U about?

    Today, there are major societal shifts underway, each of which creates major challenges for the leaders of today and tomorrow. Theory U (2016) describes how the so-called U-process can be used to tackle those challenges collectively and implement the solutions quickly. This is achieved by tapping into the blind spot, the source of our deepest creative instincts.

    Who should read Theory U?

    • Leaders and change activists in corporations, public institutions or any other organizations
    • Anyone interested in facilitating problem solving for groups
    • People interested in tapping into their deepest, most profound source of creativity

    About the Author

    Otto Scharmer is a senior lecturer and chairman of the IDEAS program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has worked with several governments and prestigious companies like Google and Fujitsu to create innovation programs for them.

    Categories with Theory U

    Book summaries like Theory U

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial