A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer

My Favorite BookA Hidden Wholeness:  The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

By Parker Palmer

                This book has been one of the biggest influences in my academic life.  I quote it and refer to it constantly.  Anyone who knows me has heard me mention Parker Palmer and the concept of creating a safe place for the soul (Palmer, 2004).  You will see it quoted often in my blogs.  I try to apply this concept with whomever I come in contact with.

In this book Palmer describes the concept of creating “circles of trust” (Palmer, 2004).  These circles are based upon the Quaker concept of clearness committees in which individuals talk out their queries, problems, or issues, and others just listen.  Palmer (2004) states that “the focus person’s goal is to communicate with true self, not with other people” (p. 140).  This is the ultimate use of problem solving skills.  How many times have you approach another person with a problem yet solved it yourself as you told them about it?  Same concept here.  Palmer describes this listening and facilitating process as a challenging kind of leadership.

This books discusses the ethics of trust and truth, being mindful, and the skills of listening nonjudgmentally.  Steps for creating safe, welcoming circles of trust are detailed and a study guide is included in the book.  This book is excellent not only for leaders, but anyone wanting to fully understand how to listen to and reflect with others.  Use this book to understand your own need for finding your “true self” (Palmer, 2004, p. 81).


Palmer, P. (2004).  A hidden wholeness:  The journey toward an undivided life.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.