Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
In the field of personal growth, it is easy to get lost among the dozens of new books that get published each year, and the hundreds of books that already exist.
One discovery that helped me see more clearly in the field, and understand the world better and more accurately was Integral Theory.
If you haven’t heard of it or are unfamiliar with it, I would recommend the following resources:
- Intro to Ken Wilber’s integral theory [part 1 ; part 2 ; part 3]
- Talk @ESSEC Business School: Introduction to Integral Theory
- An Overview of Integral Theory – by Sean Esbjörn Hargens
Based on the idea that Consciousness evolves through stages of maturity, I thought about trying to map methods and books of personal growth based on the stage of consciousness that they each address.
Indeed, in my own search for personal growth and development, I noticed that I had phases where I was more interested in some topics than others:
For instance, at times, I was really into studying and experimenting with different forms of diets, encouraged by Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Body. At others, I was into survival trainings, reading Xavier Maniguet’s Survivre: Vaincre en Milieu Hostile. During another period, I was more into interpersonal communication, NLP, and even understanding how to manipulate people and how to avoid being manipulated (with R-V Joule and J-L Beauvois’s reference book in French: Petit Traité de Manipulation à l’usage des honnêtes gens).
I have classified these books based on the worldview / stage of consciousness for which it was been written. (Often, the author has outgrown the contents of their book, but the book can be helpful for readers at an earlier stage of development.)
Based on the Transcend and Include principle dear to Ken Wilber, you need to include what you learned previously, but transcend it to move to your next stage of development.
If you accidentally moved too fast, you can hit a plateau in your evolution, and you might need to do some integration work, maybe browsing back to some of the books and experiences from an earlier stage to integrate their concepts and embody them more fully.
I have limited this article to books, however, if you are interested in looking at practices, I would recommend looking at Integral Life Practice by Ken Wilber, Adam Leonard, Terry Patten and Marco Morelli.
Before I share the map, I have to state that it has limitations:
First of all, it is certainly not an exhaustive, nor even an extended list. It is merely an attempt to classify a few books I read. For instance, I mentioned Sri Aurobindo’s books as Ultra-Violet Post-Integral, but I don’t think he is the only one displaying this wisdom. There are sages from many other traditions, simply I haven’t studied them enough to know. I would guess that H.H. The Dalai-Lama also operates at this level of consciousness, although his books are much more mainstream (maybe touching the green level of people to open their hearts from orange to green or from green to above).
Second, Wilber’s theory has been widely critiqued and other worldviews have been proposed in the field of Integral, such as Jorge Ferrer’s Participatory Vision. Based on my understanding, the Participatory Vision does undermine the validity of larger/more expanded worldviews (based on a developmental unfolding of the individual), thus allowing us to see some books as more expansive in consciousness than others. These books would appear “higher” on the map, however, it does not mean they are “better” than books closer to the basis. It simply means that their worldview is more expansive and inclusive. For example, a book on basic survival tips from the SAS does not talk about transcendence or spirituality, whereas books at the Turquoise-Integral stage do mention survival as a necessary evolutionary step.
Without further due, here is the map, based on the Altitudes of Development map from the Daily Evolver:
The mapping is provisional (it can evolve over time), incomplete (I’d love to work on a more expanded version later on), and open to discussion (please feel free to email me at: email@example.com for feedback and comments).
Below, I have created a bibliography with a list of references.
Sometimes, I have added a note in bold under a reference to explain why I have placed it where I placed it on the map or give additional information.
Bibliography and Notes
Aurobindo, S. (2020). Savitri.
Ghose, A. (1939). The life divine.
Katie, B., & Mitchell, S. (2008). Loving what is: Four questions that can change your life. Random House.
Ferrer, J. N. (2001). Revisioning transpersonal theory: A participatory vision of human spirituality. Suny Press.
Hawkins, D. R. (2014). Power vs. force. Hay House, Inc.
Huguelit, L. (2013). The Shamanic Path to Quantum Consciousness: The Eight Circuits of Creative Power. Simon and Schuster.
Kelly, S. (2010). Coming home: The birth & transformation of the planetary era. SteinerBooks.
Tarnas, R. (2006). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a new world view. Penguin.
Wilber, K. (2001). Sex, ecology, spirituality: The spirit of evolution. Shambhala Publications.
Wilber, K. (1996). A brief history of everything. Shambhala Publications.
Note the Glimpses of Ultra Violet at the end of each chapter.
Dethmer, J. (2014). The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success.
Laloux, F. (2016). Reinventing organizations. Nelson-Parker.
Morin, E. (2015). Introduction à la pensée complexe. Média Diffusion.
Wilber, K., Patten, T., Leonard, A., & Morelli, M. (2008). Integral life practice: A 21st-century blueprint for physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening. Shambhala Publications.
Chapman, G. The 5 Love Languages.
Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.
Rosenberg, M. B. (2002). Nonviolent communication: A language of compassion. Encinitas, CA: Puddledancer press.
Ruiz, D. M., & Mills, J. (1997). The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. Hay House, Inc.
Collins, J. (2009). Good to Great – Why some companies make the leap and others don’t.
Ferris, T. (2007). The 4-hour workweek. Fortune Small Business, 17(4), 84.
Ferriss, T. (2010). The 4-hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. Harmony.
Greene, R. (2010). The Art Of Seduction (Vol. 1). Profile Books.
Greene, R. (2013). Mastery. Penguin.
Michalowicz, M. (2017). Profit first: Transform your business from a cash-eating monster to a money-making machine. Penguin.
Robbins, T. (2008). Unlimited power: The new science of personal achievement. Simon and Schuster.
Robbins, T. (2012). Awaken the giant within. Simon and Schuster.
Robbins, T. (2014). Money master the Game: 7 simple steps to financial freedom. Simon and Schuster.
Sharma, R. (2019). 5am Club: Own your Morning. Elevate your Life. Harper Collins.
Strauss, N. (2006). The game. Canongate Books.
Peterson, J. B. (2018). 12 rules for life: An antidote to chaos. Penguin UK.
I view this great work by Jordan Peterson as a set of Amber (traditional) rules with Orange (scientific) explanations.
Griffin F. and Krauss, E. (2010). Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat. William Morrow ed.
Greene, R. (2000). The 48 laws of power. Penguin.
Here is an extract from the Wikipedia article on the 48 Laws, which explains why I put it in the Red stage of development:
“Greene’s books are sometimes described as manipulative and amoral. The Sunday Times noted that The 48 Laws of Power has become the “Hollywood back-stabber’s bible” and that although the book is reportedly used by some business executives, it is difficult to find people who publicly acknowledge its influence because of the book’s controversial nature. Greene responds to this sentiment by stating, “These laws… people might say, ‘Oh they’re wicked’, but they’re practiced day in and day out by businesspeople. You’re always trying to get rid of your competition and it can be pretty bloodthirsty, and that’s just the reality.”
Maniguet, D. X. (2016). Survivre: comment vaincre en milieu hostile. Albin Michel.
Wiseman, J. (1986). The SAS survival handbook. London: Collins Harvill.