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Going Deep

by Ian Percy

Reading Going Deep is akin to plunging into the dark pool of water featured on the cover. At first, there’s a shock of alien cold as the reader gets acclimatized to Ian Percy’s terminology and way of thinking, followed by a sense of refreshing clarity the longer one stays in.

When Percy started his speaking career, he was repeatedly warned by speakers’ bureaus and agencies not to use the “S” word (spirituality). But Percy didn’t listen; 25 years later, he’s one of Canada’s top speakers, focusing on corporate spirituality, something many consider an oxymoron.

According to Percy, an egocentric base of power is the major issue holding corporations back. Percy, who considers himself spiritual, talks about two different levels of experience that he refers to as the “First World” and the “Second World.” The First World comprises our physical and intellectual experiences and the Second World is made up of our spiritual experiences. While we live in both worlds, the real meaning of life is to integrate the two levels. In his existential approach, Percy urges us to keep pushing past comfort zones, to ask ourselves tough questions and to not accept the first answer.

For example, Percy cites a pharmaceutical company that developed a new medicine to cure a serious heart problem. At an annual conference, the company’s president enthusiastically talked about hitting $100-million in sales before the year 2000. When Percy got up to speak, he suggested the company rethink its mission statement to consider how many human lives the medicine will save.

In Going Deep, Percy claims that there’s an awakening happening in the corporate world. He asks corporations to look for a change of heart, to have a spiritual turnaround. How does he get away with this? In part, because he’s paid his dues in the corporate world and developed a sense of credibility. As well, it’s hard to deny that his view is sensible. Percy holds up the model of a British corporation that has a policy of turning off the office lights at six p.m. to encourage workaholics to go home.

Any book that calls for a sense of community within corporations and insists that they give employees more autonomy should be soundly applauded.


Reviewer: Cathleen Fillmore

Publisher: Macmillan


Price: $29.95

Page Count: 247 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 0-7715-7552-1

Released: Dec.

Issue Date: 1998-2

Categories: Health & Self-help