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Whispering in the Wind

by Michael Carroll

A Review of John Grinder's and Carmen Bostic St Clair's new book

John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair have co-authored a new book Whispering in the Wind. I was privileged to be the first person in the NLP community to read the book and what a privilege it was. So rich is the content I am now reading it for the third time. As an NLP Trainer I am thrilled by the potential offered to the NLP community by the recommendations laid out in Whispering in the Wind. Carmen and John urge us NLPers to take steps for NLP to become a legitimate research community so NLP can take its rightful place alongside other approaches in the studying of human functioning.

This book is essential and fascinating reading for NLP practitioners, modellers and trainers who will discover many interesting previously unpublished accounts of NLP history. John and Carmen use nearly 30 years of hindsight to critique some of the original models codified by Grinder & Bandler. They describe how they are working to update some of the original principles of NLP in the format of what they call the New Code. They also make some specific recommendations that they consider important for NLP to grow & thrive.

The curious NLPer will discover from reading Whispering in the Wind important NLP information, previously unpublished, which could only be written by one of the co - creators of NLP accompanied by another excellent modeller. Every page, and there are 381 of them, carries a potent message, insight or a real NLP nugget of information. You will be taken on a journey deep into the past where you will discover insights into the strong working relationship Grinder & Bandler formed, how they came to work together in the first place, and how they collaborated so well for seven years. You will learn about the many intellectual influences, rarely mentioned in current NLP writings, which underpin the original NLP Models. Lots of detail is also given to the contexts surrounding the major modelling projects Grinder & Bandler conducted. We are treated to important John Grinder autobiographical content, so interested readers can appreciate the influences from John's personal life that mapped over to his professional life and his hypnotic fascination with excellence. The NLP world is indebted to Carmen Bostic St Clair for extricating much of the information from John (summarised above), that otherwise might have remained in his head for many years to come.

Carmen and John are explicit with their presentation of the epistemology underlying NLP. They offer user-friendly terms updating the old "four tuple". The principle of "the map is not the territory" (Korsbyski), is also challenged and refined. They lay out a format for presenting hierarchies to avoid some of the past confusion around the subject of so called logical levels. In doing so they distinguish between logical levels and logical types and the differing hierarchies present at various stages of neurological mapping, i.e. iconic part-whole relationships and logical inclusion and constriction relationships. John and Carmen propose that these distinctions are essential for a clean higher order epistemology and make explicit formal coding of the patterning of geniuses. Carmen and John offer a description of the "New Code of NLP, suggesting some improvements where flaws in the original patterning of the "Classic Code" is obvious.

In Whispering in the Wind John and Carmen define NLP as "the modelling of behaviours of geniuses." This is consistent with the definitions proposed by them at their seminars (or some variation of that statement). In Whispering in the Wind, Carmen and John seem to have partially accepted NLP in its present form (strong emphasis on application) and attribute this to the ineffectiveness of the co-creators (Grinder & Bandler) to make clear and precise what NLP is. John and Carmen stress the importance of distinguishing between NLP Modelling and NLP Application. They mark out the two as I have done in this review in superscript. They say that unless the NLP community can put the emphasis back on modelling there is danger that the field of NLP may just fade away.

Carmen and John state that modelling can be modelled in number of ways and they map out a minimum set of phases for conducting modelling projects. A standardised format for presentation and evaluation of new patterns is also proposed with suggestions of how to introduce new models into the international NLP community. John and Carmen are also very generous in pointing to areas where they consider that further modelling projects can be undertaken to build on the original modelling work of Bandler & Grinder. From reading Whispering in the Wind you will learn a lot about modelling as it is featured explicitly in many of the chapters and implicitly in all chapters.

To summarise: this is the only NLP book that covers in detail the past, the present and future of NLP. It is written from the vantage point of one of the co-creators accompanied by an excellent modeller who has the vantage point of directly modelling and questioning the co creator. Below I ask them some questions about Whispering in the Wind and how they came to write this new NLP classic.

Michael Carroll is the founder & course director of the NLP Academy, a London based company that is committed to advancing the field of NLP through collaboration partnership, community and ongoing commitment to personal and professional excellence.

Michael is currently collaborating with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair with www.nlpwhisperingintheind.com a web site established by John, Carmen and Michael to facilitate the ongoing discussion that the book Whispering in the Wind will stimulate.

E mail: Michael@nlp-academy.com
Telephone +44(0)20 8402 1120

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