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ICD Press

ICD Press is the publishing arm of the not-for-profit Institute for Creative Development, a Seattle-based think tank and center for advanced leadership training. It primarily publishes the works of psychiatrist and futurist Charles M. Johnston.

Dr. Johnston’s books bring big-picture perspective to essential questions that confront us today. Some focus on new skills, capacities, and ways of understanding needed if we are to effectively address critical challenges ahead for the species (Rethinking How We Think, Hope and the Future, and Cultural Maturity), some on particular issues (On the Evolution of Intimacy), and others on bringing a long-term historical view to the tasks of our time (The Creative Imperative).

ICD Press books have their roots in the thinking of Creative Systems Theory, a comprehensive framework for understanding purpose, change, and interrelationship in human systems developed by Dr. Johnston and colleagues at the Institute. With the concept of Cultural Maturity, the theory provides essential guidance for making sense of our times. CST makes a major contribution to the larger history of ideas.

ICD Press books can be purchased through your local bookstore or though Amazon.com at Charles Johnston’s author page. The more recent books are available on all ebook platforms.


Rethinking How We Think: Integrative Meta-perspective and the Cognitive “Growing up” On Which Our Future Depends

[170 pages—to be released in fall of 2019] Rethinking How We Think brings a cognitive science lens to today’s essential tasks. It addresses how any kind of future we would want to live in will require not just fresh ideas, but an essential kind of cognitive reordering—a necessary “growing up” in how we understand. It also looks at how, when we are ready for them, needed new ways of thinking can feel like common sense. Rethinking How We Think is an exploration of the conceptual underpinnings of the future’s needed new common sense. (See More …)


On the Evolution of Intimacy: A Brief Exploration into the Past, Present, and Future of Gender and Love.

[160 pages—to be released May of 2019] On the Evolution of Intimacy describes an essential new chapter in identity and love, one that in potential takes us beyond the battle of the sexes and brings new depth and maturity to both how we understand ourselves and our capacity for closeness with another. The book examines easily confusing changes today redefining identity and love. By looking at these changes through a historical lens, it offers big-picture perspective for making sense of why we see what we do and what lies ahead. (See More …)


Hope and the Future: Confronting Today’s Crisis of Purpose

[160 pages—2018] Hope and the Future introduces the Creative Systems Theory concept of Cultural Maturity. It is the place to begin for people interested in understanding the critical “growing up” as a species on which our future depends. The book examines critical challenges that today confront us as a species and confronts how effectively addressing them will require new human capacities—new ways of thinking, relating, and acting. And it looks at how Cultural Maturity’s changes make successfully realizing these needed new human capacities possible. (See More …)


Cultural Maturity—A Guidebook for the Future (With an Introduction to the Ideas of Creative Systems Theory)

[600 pages—2016] Cultural Maturity is a comprehensive work intended for people interested in understanding and developing the increasingly sophisticated leadership abilities that moving forward in any part of our personal and collective lives will increasingly require. The book describes how the changes that the concept of Cultural Maturity describes are as significant as those that brought us modern democratic governance 250 years ago. And it argues that if the concept of Cultural Maturity is not essentially correct, it is hard to imagine a healthy—and perhaps even survivable—human future. The book goes on to introduces the Creative Systems Theory notions that underlie the concept of Cultural Maturity. (See More …)


Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions: Creative Systems Theory Explains What It is All About (Really)

[150 pages—2016] Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions takes on many of today’s—and existence’s—most ultimate questions. Among them: Why, at different times, has human understanding taken that forms that it has? How do we best understand the times in which we live? How do we best understand the experience of free will? Are the beliefs of science and religion just different or parts of a larger picture? And what is our place in the larger scheme of things? The book proposes that such ultimate questions have tended to baffle us not because they are inherently difficult, but because they require a maturity of perspective of which we are only now becoming capable. By successfully addressing such questions, Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions provides a persuasive argument for the importance of the concept of Cultural Maturity and the ideas of Creative Systems Theory in understanding’s evolution. (See More)


Pattern and Reality: A Brief Introduction to Creative Systems Theory

[75 pages—1992] Pattern and Reality was developed as a teaching resource for classes at the Institute for Creative Development. It provides a brief introduction to Creative System’s Theory’s core concepts and is appropriate both for people new to the theory and for those interested in a concise overview. Pattern and Reality has been used as a text in classes in psychology, education, dance, leadership, philosophy and systems thinking more generally. Besides offering introductory perspective, the book includes a number of early articles that applying the theory to current social issues such as the changing face of love, the effects of modern media, and the need to address human limits. (Order at author page.)


The Power of Diversity: A Brief Introduction to the Creative Systems Personality Typology.

[65 pages—1992] The Power of Diversity provides an overview of Creative Systems Theory’s framework for understanding human difference. People who have had contact with the Creative Systems Personality Typology generally agree that of frameworks currently available for understanding personality and learning style diversity, it represents the most sophisticated and nuanced. The typology provides important insight into the powerfully creative outcomes that can result when we respect temperament differences and learn to engage them in more conscious and collaborative ways. The Power of Diversity was developed as a learning resource at the Institute. It has been used as a text for classes on leadership, education, psychology, and systemic thinking. (Order at author page.)


Necessary Wisdom: Meeting the Challenge of a New Cultural Maturity

[255 pages—1991] Necessary Wisdom draws on one of the most accessible ways to makes sense of where culturally mature understanding takes us. It looks deeply at polarities that in times past have divided how we think—either/ors such as “us” versus “them,” mind versus body, political Left versus political Right, and masculine and feminine. It examines both why thinking in either/or terms has historically served us and also why in the future it cannot. It also examines how thinking in more complete and systemic ways is something of which we are becoming capable and the implications for the choices we make in spheres as diverse as global relations, medicine, education, and love. (Order at author page.)


The Creative Imperative: Human Growth and Planetary Evolution

[407 pages—1984] The Creative Imperative first introduced the concept of Cultural Maturity and the ideas of Creative Systems Theory and is still the place to go to find the most detailed presentation of many of the theory’s core concepts. The book brings particular nuance to the theory’s developmental thesis, how we can see parallel dynamics in the way human systems of all sorts—individuals, relationships, organizations, and cultural systems—grow and change. For many people it remains a definitive source. (Order at author page.)


ICD Press’s various books share a common purpose: to help people make sense of the times we live in and make good—even wise—choices. By coming at this essential purpose in diverse ways, ICD Press books make needed understandings more accessible. They also make needed insights more readily applied both in our individual lives and in the decisions we make as societies and as a species.