Reading The Anatomy of Peace completes the trifecta of books from the Arbinger Institute. I’ve already written reviews from Bonds that Make Us Free and Leadership and Self-Deception. All of these books are really a continuation of the thoughts of Martin Burber in his book I and Thou written in German and translated to English. Continuation in that they make real and accessible the wisdom of I and Thou.

The Anatomy of Peace offers a few key things to the insights of the other works. In the Anatomy of Peace we get to see the four kinds of boxes we can get into – the four ways that we can see others as objects rather than seeing them as people. The boxes are:

  • Better-than box – In this box you see yourself as better than other folks. They’re not as human as you because you’re better.
  • I-deserve box – The key world is entitlement. You don’t see others as people because you’re not getting what you believe you’re entitled to.
  • Must-be-seen-as box – In this box you are focused on your appearance – and because of that you can’t see folks as people. You’re too focused on how you appear to be.
  • Worse-than box – In this box you believe that you’re not worthy and therefore can’t relate to others as a caring person.

The book also offers helpful suggestions for getting out of the box:

  • 1. Look for the signs of the box (blame, justification, horribilization, common box styles, etc.).
  • 2. Find an out-of-the-box place (out-of-the-box relationships, memories, activities, places, etc.).
  • 3. Ponder the situation anew (i.e., from this out-of-the-box perspective). Ask
    • What are this person’s or people’s challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?
    • How am I, or some group of which I am a part, adding to these challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?
    • In what other ways have I or my group neglected or mistreated this person or group?
    • In what ways are my better-than, I-deserve, worse-than, and must-be-seen-as boxes obscuring the truth about others and myself and interfering with potential solutions?
    • What am I feeling I should do for this person or group? What could I do to help? Staying out of the box
  • 4. Act upon what I have discovered; do what I am feeling I should do.

Finally, the Peacemaking Pyramid offers suggestions for how to build to a place of being able to resolve problems – and how much time you should spend on the things that go right compared to the time you spend when things go wrong. Take a look:

The book will help you determine how to create peace, not just find it. That’s a pretty cool thing.