Birth of the Chaordic Age. Dee W. Hock. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Birth of the Chaordic Age Book Cover Birth of the Chaordic Age
Dee W. Hock
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
January 1, 2000

The worldwide success of Visa International, Dee Hock asserts, is due to its chaordic structure: it is owned by 22,000 member banks, which both compete with each other for 750 million customers and the must cooperate by honoring one another’s $1.25 trillion in transactions annually across borders and currencies. Birth of the Chaordic Age is the never-before-told story of how that structure came into being.

It is also the story of Dee Hock’s life-long quest from humble beginnings to an iconoclast who challenged the nature of traditional organizations and management. It is the story of an entrepreneur who created a new concept of organization, brought it into being and led it to amazing success in less than a decade, a corporate statesman who is now engaged in an extraordinary odyssey to take these ideas around the world.

But Birth of the Chaordic Age is far more than that. It is filled with concepts, ideas and philosophy the challenge are fundamental beliefs about money, organizations, leadership, management, the human spirit and our relationship to the natural world.

Hock makes a compelling case that all organizations are fundamentally based on flawed seventeenth century concept that are no longer relevant to the vast systemic social and environmental problems we experience daily. He delineates the path to organizations that are based on chaordic principles – organizations he believes can harmoniously blend chaos in order, competition and cooperation.

Birth of the Chaordic Age is lyrical, at times humorous, often deeply thoughtful and always lucid, candid and straight from the heart. It shatters the boundaries of business books and challenges us to change forever the way we think about relationships – with money, with one another, with governance, with the human spirit and with the natural world.

Dee Hock is founder and CEO Emeritus of VISA. In 1968, he developed the concept of a global system for the exchange of value and a unique new concept of organization for that purpose. In 1970, he founded a company that became VISA. He is currently founder and CEO of The Chaordic Alliance, a nonprofit committed to the formation of practical, innovative organizations that blend competition and cooperation to address critical societal issues, and to the development of new organizational concepts that more equitably distribute power and wealth and are more compatible with the human spirit and biosphere.

Hock has worked with numerous organizations including Peter Senge’s Society for Organizational Learning, Ralph Nader and the Appleseed Foundation, the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, the Global United Religions Initiative, The Vvaleo Initiative – an emerging coalition of leaders exploring a chaordic organization for the evolution of health and health care – and a similar initiative to create a chaordic governance system for the evolution of GeoData information and mapping, as well as many major corporations and governmental, educational and social agencies. In 1991, Hock became one of thirty living Laureates of the Business Hall of Fame, and in 1992, was recognized as one of the eight individuals who most change the way people live in the past quarter century.