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Book Review: “Crazy Wisdom: Tools for Evolving Consciousness”

Tom Thresher is an academic who long ago left the ivory tower. His primary concern is to help people participate in their own spiritual evolution by helping them on the ground to remove all obstacles to desired ends. He has taken the research of Harvard developmental psychologist, Robert Kegan, and applied it to a model he developed called Transformational Inquiry. Kegan calls his model Immunity to Change, but Thresher adds a step or two, and very effectively sets in the language of the Jesus lineage.

It was Paul who said that he didn’t understand his actions: the good he would do he does not do and the evil he would not do is what he ends up doing. He chalked it up to sin, but Thresher figures that the reason we don’t achieve our intended outcomes is completely rational. There are solid, albeit unconscious reasons, for sabotaging our noble ideals. With very practical and clear steps, Thresher helps us to unearth the rational basis for sabotaging our dreams. Instead of beating ourselves up, we gain a deeper understanding and compassion toward ourselves— a self-love that is anything but New Age narcissism. I have been led through this model myself, by both Kegan, and Thresher, and can vouch for its effectiveness in liberating us to realize our dreams.

The bonus is that Thresher puts all of this down in very clear and colorful language. We learn about the “crazy wisdom”, found in injunctions like “Don’t Fix It!” and “Whining Our Way into Nobility” (noticing how underneath our chronic complaints lie our noble ideals, like buried treasure!). Thresher masterfully takes us from our Noble Commitments to our Competing Commitments to the underlying Big Assumptions (the stories we tell ourselves about what awful outcomes might ensure should we realize our Noble Commitments). He even gives us practical and empirically based tools to test out whether these Big Assumptions are real or illusory. (Hint, they are more often than not leftover fantasies that served us once, but now form the basis of our “immunity to change”.)

What I love about the book is that Thresher writes it with a mystic’s consciousness. At times you can practically catch the twinkle in his eye as he writes. But make no mistake, he has attained a mastery, and the accompanying sense of humor, that only somebody who has tasted Spirit directly and knows in heart that all manner of things shall be well. The book is full of wisdom, insight, and most importantly very practical tools for transformation. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”

Purchase “Crazy Wisdom” by Tom Thresher Purchase

Reviewer: Bruce Sanguin
—Author of If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, and founder of Home for Evolving Mystics at

Review & Commentary