Best Selling, Multi-Award Winning Author of
The Oldest and Best Researched Way to Create Real Change
Most Change Theory and Practices are based on false, error filled, and unproven premises.
In spite of claims. And yet they get passed along as Best Practices. Books are written, programs are developed, by thought leaders, and sold by the thousands, only to fall short of promises leading the business or person to moves on to the next program.
Indirect Work offers you clear and practical approaches to test any change theory or programs for your organization, community efforts or personal growth, before you start or to examine what you do now. It can even help you make sense of past failures. Indirect Work strongly challenges the validity of pop psychology and the damage it causes to human psyche and soul, ultimately, impacting the quality of our Society.
Indirect Work is translated and tested with study of thousands of years of effective change based on:
- Indigenous ways of living in community and on the planet from across the world
- Threads that run through wisdom of all lineage teachers across the world
- Quantum Cosmology about how the universe works on individual, social, and plenary level.
All with case stories to illustrate application coupled with the reflections of decades of use in the last six decades.
You will have never read a book like this. In content and process of engaging. It teaches you how to read and reflect to disrupt your current certainties and see old situations in new ways…as you read. Indirect Work is written in the way that you experience what it is teaching. It demands a different way of reading and engaging. That is accomplished through intermezzos, exercises you pause to incorporate, which is like a workbook within a book. See the reflections from the pre-readers on how effective it was for them and the specific effect it had. They say they will never read a book the same way again.
“Start with the right mind, which means starting with the right paradigm or reality base.”
– Carol Sanford | Indirect Work
Prices | Bonuses for Buying Books in Bulk
Prices of Books
Print on Demand (paperback): $15
Audible: $20 (estimate, TBD by Audible)
Any format or mix of formats qualifies for a bonus. To qualify for bonuses, please send your scanned receipts or screenshots to firstname.lastname@example.org
Purchase One Book
Download a pdf Self-Assessment for Regenerative Integrity.
Purchase Two Books
Join a 90-minute Q&A on Indirect Work with Carol Sanford
Event Date: May 2, 10am PT
Purchase 5 Books & promote Indirect Work on social media
All previous bonuses plus — Join a 90-minute event led by Carol on building a regenerative community (otherwise available only with $1000 SEED Community annual membership.)
Event Date: May 9, 10am PT
Purchase 10 Books
All previous bonuses plus — Download a copy of 7 regenerative organization case stories (otherwise available only with $1000 annual membership in a Regenerative Paradigm Community.)
Purchase 15 books
All previous bonuses plus – Attend a live webinar with Carol on working with the Regenerative Integrity Self-Assessment, an instrument for individuals and organizations.
Event Date: May 16, 10am PT (or access a recording of this event)
Purchase 20 books
All previous bonuses plus – Attend a live webinar with Carol on 5 regenerative organization case stories and the foundational approach behind the stories, including a Q&A session.
Event Date: May 23, 10am PT (or access a recording of this event)
Purchase 25 Books
All previous bonuses plus – Six months access to A Carol Sanford workshop recording: choose Regenerative Parenting (4 sessions), Underpinning of Racism (4 sessions), or Regenerative Governing Bodies: Guidance for Boards of Directors (4 sessions). Stream sessions on your own time.
Value: $2500+ (Members of Carol’s communities pay $2500 per webinar)
Purchase 50 Books
An Indirect Work workbook for unlimited use with your organization or book club.
Purchase 75 Books
All previous bonuses plus — Participate in a live, two-hour fishbowl session. Carol works with participants who have big questions, challenging and helps them evolve their projects and roles in real time. Bring a question or listen in on these sessions can raise the level of your thinking, giving you access to new ideas and approaches. (Fishbowls are accessible only with membership in one of Carol’s communities.)
Event Date: June 6, 9am PT
Purchase 125 books
All previous bonuses plus – A 50% discount on books and you get an Essence Reveal for yourself or your company, at a mutually convenient time.
Value: $10,000 (price on a stand-alone basis or as part of a multiple-year change effort)
Event Date: May 23, 10am PT (or access a recording of this event)
Purchase Indirect Work on Amazon or other outlet and take a screenshot of your receipt. Twenty (20) more books qualify for discounts for paper formats. Contact carol directly to arrange at email@example.com.
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Thank you for letting me be part of a great and fun discovery. This book is designed to disrupt you and give you a way to engage in deep reflection. If all goes well, you will start to question a few things.
“Once you are grounded in a living systems reality, you make different choices, not only about the way you work but also about what you choose to work on.”
– Carol Sanford | Indirect Work
Praise for Indirect Work
“If you want to make a difference in or change the world, you have to be much more focused on ‘deeper’, rather than just the (easier) solutions at hand. Go deep, very deep into your core assumptions and beliefs and challenge yourself all the time. Why do you believe what you believe and what would be different if you looked at the same challenges through many different lenses and from different angles? In todays’ fast paced, complex and at times polarized world, investing in the capacity for critical thinking (capability, consciousness and culture, is necessary. This book will help grow your capacity to do that. “
– Michiel Bakker, VP Global Workplace Programs, Google
“Not only does this book clarity the need for indirect work and the core shifts that must evolve so we can create changes and sustain them, Carol has also provided moments within the book so the reader, the participant, can begin that work on themselves. This is uncomfortable, yet intriguingly effective.”
– Jodi Smits Anderson, AIA, LEED-AP BD+C, WELL-AP
DASNY, Director Sustainability Programs
“The book “Indirect Work” helps me to re-calibrate myself, re-think and re-flect on me and my work as well as to see traps or shortfalls earlier and more clearly. It is an inspiration. And a good gift for friends searching for inspiration.”
– Ina Paschen, Coach
“There are so many ideas worth mentioning. The way Sanford makes them actionable is something quite unique and valuable. In an introduction, she wrote, “Prepare your mindset for pre-reading”,: “Take it as a mini-workshop that you are doing for yourself. “ Indeed, this is really how I feel about this experience. “
– Jean-Denis Giguère, COO, Anagraph
“Along with being consciously elevated from reading Indirect Work, my chosen path of acting toward a better world is confirmed in the message conveyed. The fear that has been stopping me has yielded to the inspiration of building along with others. Now, I see myself co-creating the world with other beings and things who have agency and are willing collaborators in fulfilling their highest aspirations. I carry gratitude in my heart.”
– Eric Finlayson, Engineering and Technology Faculty, Cuesta College
“Sanford asked us to become conscious of how we were reading, I challenged myself to read with more equanimity, more curiosity, more receptivity and inner peace.. I enjoyed extending myself in this way even as I noticed how challenging it was not to immediately “integrate” and “apply” what I was reading, but rather to watch myself squirm in the attempt to be more present to the ideas and images as they came towards me. Meanwhile, I found myself feeling more clarity about Sanford’s approach than I did after reading her previous book or watching the webinars. In and of itself, the title “Indirect Work” was a highly resonant concept that brought together much of what I had glimpsed from Sanford’s thinking previously. I felt like the ideas came together under that title, and I see how really r/evolutionary and counter-cultural it is to work indirectly.”
– Jessica Prentice, School Director, Berkeley Rose Waldorf School
“One of the joys of Sanford’s work is that it goes beyond how you see the world and affects how you be in the world– a new way. The way is a current to be drawn from and to move with when acting at all levels–from building social movements to cultivating team and individual capability to do the work. I am better equipped to do that because this book pulled me into a meta-consciousness from which I could identify the thought patterns that detract from or generate goodness. “
– Tanner Starbard, Director of Operations, Mad Agriculture
“Indirect Work continues Carol Sanford’s focus on living system frameworks. It is not a blueprint for what to do on Monday morning; rather, it is about changing who you are — how your mind works and how you manage your inner psychological states. You can’t tell what a frog is up to by dissecting it, but by watching it. One of the stories she tells is about a basketball coach who concentrated on showing his players how to think about the game as a whole in real time, not the limited mechanics of individual skill. Indirect work is letting the system evolve with freedom, but with encouragement along the way. It presents a new way to see the world by cultivating an inner witness that honors the uniqueness of all life — a lesson from her native Mohawk grandfather.”
– Charles G. Chandler, Ph.D., host of The Age of Organizational Effectiveness podcast
“This book provides a new doorway… a shift in awareness. I was able to see and feel what I knew, didn’t know, what I wanted to build on, what I committed to practice more deeply. The way the book is written and the reflective aspects conveyed and brought forward trust. What a beautiful gift when reading. “
– Erin Dayl
“Anyone serious about changing the world should have this book, and read it more than once. Don’t be fooled by the short length of it: this is deep, uplifting, and serious work. Carol Sanford has outdone herself, in her usual brilliant disruptive way.”
– Didi Pershouse, Founder of the Land and Leadership Initiative, and Author of The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities
“A most powerful and clear, almost a how-to guide, to create the change, that we, in service desire to effect. This brilliant and concise manuscript is the key to a better future for all. A must read.”
– Catherine Fraise, Founder, President, 100roads.org
“Working with Carol Sanford has forever changed the way I live and lead. The human technologies she has developed to actualize the potential of people and systems are both precise and profound, and of all her books, this one comes closest to the experience of working with Carol personally. This is an essential self-development guide for those who are ready to make a quantum leap in their ability to transform businesses and the world. “
– Lara L. Lee, Independent Director, WD-40 Company, Marrone Bio Innovations, The Sill, Inc.
“Indirect Work is more than a book. It is a solid framework that accompanies the reader through a journey of self discovery, moving away from content to context into the workings of one’s mind. This book helps create the level of awareness necessary to transform our internal program towards the regenerative paradigm. It will serve change agents, business leaders, coaches, community builders, designers, educators, teachers and any individual or groups eager to reach their highest potential, to channel their intent to be a force for good into the continuum of conscious & creative actions. I personally experienced it like a deep conversation with myself in a way no other book had ever worked with me.”
– Sahar Schwaninger, Founder Human Harbours – Leadership Transformation & Mindset Shift consultancy for business
“There are so many ideas worth mentioning. The way Sanford makes them actionable is something quite unique and valuable. In an introduction, she wrote,Indirect Work was a remarkable dive into the nature of being. I found the exercises in this book, when committed to, became profoundly useful for myself as a leader, which has already had clarifying impacts for our team and way of working. The team has shared how these effects have begun to ripple out into their households and their own wellbeing as well. This work is a must-do for all people wanting to create a real difference in the world. “Prepare your mindset for pre-reading”,: “Take it as a mini-workshop that you are doing for yourself. “ Indeed, this is really how I feel about this experience. “
– Jaime Hogan, Director, Place Philosophy
“This book is exactly what I needed right now as I prepare to shift my focus away from my 30+ per year, financially driven career to a different path where I hope to maximize my positive impact on the world. Thinking about my past endeavors through the lens of this book has provided a lot of insights regarding opportunities for me to develop a more effective approach.”
– Kim Tennican, Principal, Berntson Porter & Company
“Sanford’s book was a pleasure to read, in the same way that a good hike or a long swim is: refreshing, challenging, invigorating, and ultimately, strengthens not just what you set out to strengthen but all the core aspects of spirit, mind, and the underlying fabric that makes us not only who we think we are but also, a part of all we don’t know.”
– Susan Cousineau, Evolutionary Agroecology & Regenerative Polyculture Design
“As with all of Sanford’s books, this one on Indirect Work, expanded my ability to hold complex ideas and emotions in a context that gives meaning and deepens my awareness of how everyday events, activities, frustrations, and challenges can be used to deepen our personal agency and ability to be of service in the world. “Those who have eyes to see will see”. But what we are able to see takes guidance and practice. This book offers both.”
– Mary Emeny
“Carol’s work, through her many books, has been a journey that lifts a lid each time on another rich layer of the cake of consciousness. This book may be one of the most important and foundational layers of that cake. It contains the whole rich recipe which underpins all her work. It offers wonderful transparency and insight into the complexity and commitment for the work of regenerative development. And most especially because – if you allow yourself – it acts upon you as you read, giving you a felt and embodied experience of what it takes to cross a threshold from one mind to another mind.”
– Jenny Anderssen, Founder, Really Regenerative CIC
“I read and reflected on Indirect Work with a great deal of pleasure. I approached it with real anticipation of new thinking, stimulation, and challenge. I read it with unbridled curiosity. I was rewarded with new thinking, stimulation, challenge, and hope. I was also rewarded by much that I recognized, and insights that I could relate to my own patterns of thinking and mindset; and those of my colleagues.”
– Marje Russ, Technical Director Environment and Sustainable Business
Tonkin & Taylor Ltd
“From its provocative title, to its rich content and the pace (the intermezzos) you suggest, this thoughtful addition to Sanford’s body of work gently illuminates the complexities of many things, chief among them, the individual self. “
– Mayra Porrata, MEd, The Flourishing Way
“I read and recommend strongly all six books written by Carol. However, “Indirect Work” brings more clarity for understanding and practicing through self-observation and reflection, Carol’s theory of change of a living evolving universe.”
– Cristina Redko, PhD
“The key is to enable a team’s ability to lift itself up by cultivating the capacity for reflection. “
– Carol Sanford | Indirect Work
FOREWORD BY Rahim Ahmed | Co-Founder, Numi, OSC, and The Collective
Growing up, trying to integrate between two very different cultures—coming from the Cradle of Civilization, where a deep sense of belonging is instilled in everyone, to a culture where rugged individualism is most prized—I chose a professional journey as an artist and explorer of culture and community. I could not have predicted that someday I would become an entrepreneur, but once there, I had to learn quickly how to swim in the turbulent waters of commerce, competition, and finance. In time, having adopted the identity of CEO of a fast-growing business, my response was to do what I thought successful business leaders are supposed to do: set goals, be decisive, and drive results (measured chiefly in financial terms). While this approach seemed to work well by traditional measures, it didn’t satisfy my ongoing search for deeper meaning.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been curious to understand the why and the how, to discover the hidden layers in each experience, and to learn how to deepen my relationship with others and the larger world. But how this all worked together and how it could be applied to my everyday experience lived mostly in the realm of intuition; that is, until I had the chance to work with Carol Sanford.
By reading Carol’s earlier books, The Regenerative Business and The Regenerative Life, and working with her personally, and by helping to launch several organizations (Numi, OSC, The Collective, Numi Foundation, and others), I’ve had the opportunity to stop and deeply reflect on patterns within myself and to heighten my state of awareness of what it means to be part of, and in service to, a regenerative living system. The lessons have been many, and they continue to unfold: how to get out of my own way by rewiring the thoughts and behaviors I’ve unconsciously adopted; how to move beyond a linear way of thinking and a desire for certainty toward embracing the present moment and recognizing the dynamic, systemic nature of life; and how to dissolve my awareness of self and recognize that, in everything I do, I am part of a collective, playing my unique role and helping to strengthen the greater whole.
Carol’s lessons don’t stop at ideas. She provides practical steps for tapping into one’s purpose and living life as an extension of one’s genuine essence. Over the years, as I put her guidance to work, I have shifted my approach to leadership, focusing more on building cultural values, asking questions with openness, advising rather than directing, collaborating, empowering others, creating a sense of belonging, and leaving doors open to creativity and magic. This has made a remarkable difference in the effectiveness and impact of the organizations I am privileged to steward and in the quality of life of those who are touched by them, including my own. Carol’s insights and practices have also helped me shift my energy. I am more present in the moment, more trusting of the collective and accepting of the ups and downs that are part of the journey, and better able to stay connected to my essence.
Yet in the work of inner and outer transformation, it is hardest to know what you don’t know, to see what you don’t see. This is where Indirect Work comes in. In this latest book, Carol interweaves her teaching with artful intermezzos—exercises for activating one’s inner reflections and creating new ways of thinking and approaching business, relationships, community, and society. It is an exploration, a journey that realizes the often-expressed principle that it’s not the destination but how the journey is approached that matters. This is the critical work, if we are to evolve our individual and organizational capacities to realize our highest purpose. It’s the most exciting process to unravel, guided by pure openness to the present and to the greater collective.
When I reflect on Carol’s total body of work, I see the vast ripples of change that have emanated from the wisdom of her teaching. She has a gift for shifting change-makers’ consciousness and thinking, as she has shown with me and so many of my colleagues, moving us to adopt new ways of being in our work and give flight to bold solutions to the social and environmental imperatives of our time.
I hope this new book, along with all of Carol’s teaching, will enhance your life as it has mine.
FOREWORD BY Pamela J. Hinds | Fortinet Founders Chair and Professor,
Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University
Indirect Work offers a radically different way to think about how to create change. It’s clear to me, as it is to many, that we can’t keep doing things the way we have. Even clearer, the methods that got us into our current ecological, social, and economic predicaments are not likely to get us out of them. Indirect Work presents a unique and powerful way to address the challenges of our time. It offers an in-depth introduction to Carol Sanford’s theory of change, presented here in a compact form that is based on her decades of work as a highly successful educator serving businesses around the world.
This book is directed to change agents in all fields and at all levels, from students to seasoned professionals. The examples and stories are well-told, accessible, and moving, and they do a nice job of drawing readers in and helping them understand the points being made. Carol’s overall message is clear and easy to follow from chapter to chapter. The intermezzos—pauses interspersed among the more theoretical chapters—are fabulously effective. They invited me to reflect on my own experience as a way of engaging more deeply with the material. By giving me real work to do, the intermezzos encouraged me to integrate what Carol has to say about bringing change to the world and apply it to the issues that drive me.
At a higher level, Indirect Work challenges our existing paradigms and theories of change and provides a well-reasoned, documented alternative. We can’t bring about sweeping transformations in our practices and systems by taking them on directly as big problems to solve, as we do now. Indirect Work proposes instead that we make fundamental changes in ourselves and come to know our places as effective agents in ascending orders of living systems. In other words, it gives readers some help knowing how to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Don’t try to tackle what seems most wrong out there; develop the unique potential within yourself and then, through indirect work and in everything you do, be a resource to others and help them to see theirs. This is an iterative process and both an age-old and a brand-new way of bringing about transformation.
In this sense, Indirect Work is a wildly hopeful book. Anyone can read it and get value from it. Based on my own experience, it seems to me that whoever takes time to read the chapters carefully and work through the intermezzos will immediately make changes in the way they’re engaging with issues, and these will inevitably lead to beneficial effects in the world.
I have known and worked with Carol for almost thirty years. What I’ve learned from her has had a big influence on the way I think about the communities and endeavors I am a part of, my role in the world, and what it means to have impact. We have always agreed that our own ongoing learning and development are necessary to the ways that we engage in the world. This is core to the message of Indirect Work—that by helping others develop their own capability, we help to create the conditions for transformative and lasting change in the spheres to which each of them will dedicate their work.
Carol’s focus on capability-building, the core activity in the stories and primary component of indirect work, seemed especially apt to me in my role as teacher. When I work with students at Stanford and elsewhere, I structure my teaching in ways that include exploration and reliance on lived experience, moment to moment. This encourages my students to find their own meanings in what they are learning. Their agency is strengthened, they become capable learners with the ability to develop as capable professionals, and they confirm or begin to know the roles they want to take on in their lives and careers.
I love this latest addition to Carol’s publications, and I look forward to reading it again. It articulates some important aspects of the work I do and illuminates how it is possible for me and others to make real change happen in the world, as individuals and as members of communities and society. The ideas in Indirect Work have triggered in me a profound realization of the importance of working in community and holding in awareness the communities that we affect beyond our own—recognizing effects rippling out from individual and collective contributions. It leaves me with a powerful, enduring, and visceral sense of the incredible possibilities alive in my connections to things larger than myself.