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Richard Farson

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Provocative psychologist, educator and former CEO Richard Farson turns conventional management wisdom on its head with his unique perspective on human relations.

Author of the Business Week bestseller Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership, Farson explores the ways that human behavior is irrational and paradoxical. He contends, for example, that when managers say they want creativity in their organizations, they really mean manageable creativity that doesn’t violate rules, not the dramatic, radical kind that requires real change. Another paradox he points out is “wanting not what we are missing but more of what we already have.” This sets organizations up for trouble as they rely on things they do well while failing to see what really needs to be done.

Farson has advised many organizations on management and human relations issues including IBM, Westinghouse and TRW. He is president of the International Design Conference in Aspen, a leading forum for exploring social, political and environmental issues in design, business and government. He also headed the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute and the Esalen Institute, taught at the Harvard Business School, and was founding dean of the school of environmental design at the California Institute of the Arts.

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