Igniting Inspiration Book Review

January 24, 2011

I recently read one of the most inspiring books I have read in years: Igniting Inspiration by John Marshall Roberts, and I wanted to pass on a short review.  The book’s subtitle ‘A Persuasion Manual for Visionaries’ definitely captured my attention and is a great descriptor of what is contained inside.

If you are on a mission to bring about progressive change and push for a new vision within your organization, your community, or your government, this is an excellent resource for you.

I believe this will be particularly resonant with leaders in the sustainability movement and others that are challenging the traditional way of doing business and seek to transform our relationship with each other and the biosphere as a whole.

Igniting Inspiration by John Marshall RoertsRoberts walks us through deceased psychologist Clare Graves’ theory of the eight basic thinking systems that have evolved over the millenia and how these systems impact our ability to understand each other and ultimately inspire each other. Roberts encourages us to expand our thinking in order to be able to empathize with the recipient of communications so that there can be compassion for and understanding of others who often view the world very differently than we do.

Seeing these thinking systems described in detail was very liberating for me, because many questions I had about how people can be exposed to the same stimuli but see, hear, and feel such vastly different things were answered.

Beyond just outlining the 8 primary thinking systems, he goes into specific detail on how to get beyond the filters we all have in place for inbound information – a Sensory filter, a Mental filter, and a Spiritual filter, so that inspiring messages can be tailored for the intended audience in a way that resonates with them. There are even worksheets in the back of the book so that you can take your own situation and use these insights to create inspiring messages of your own.

This is definitely not casual reading, but instead it is designed for people that have a burning desire to bring about meaningful changes in a world that seems increasingly out of control.  It’s for the ‘Be the Change’ set, if you will. Progressive-leaning CEOs, Creative Directors, Directors of Sustainability, Executive Directors for Non-profits, and Social Entrepreneurs are all prime candidates for this message.

I highly recommend this book, and encourage everyone to take a moment to consider if they are a good fit for this type of reading.  And even if you are not, perhaps you know someone that this might be perfect for.  If so, I’m sure they would thank you for passing it on.

Not sure if this is right for you? You can always head on over to John’s blog where he posts interesting nuggets from the book in the form of blog posts and short videos.  If you do end up reading it, I would love to hear your take.


  • Reply John January 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks Brandon! You have excellent taste! 🙂 Sincerely, I really appreciate the write up: this is EXACTLY what I was hoping to accomplish when I set out 3 years ago to write the book. I’m very proud to know you, and to have had these ideas inspire you as they have me. Keep up the good work. Warmly, John

    • Reply Brandon Sutton January 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      You're most welcome, John. I ordered the book before Christmas, but just started reading it about a week ago. As I suspected might happen, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I've already referred back to it twice today when crafting specific important communications, including this blog post, haha!

      Thank you for bringing this thinking forward. I look forward to working together to create positive change in the world! 🙂

  • Reply Tweets that mention Igniting Inspiration Book Review -- January 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brandon Sutton, Brandon Sutton. Brandon Sutton said: I've been so inspired by reading that I took a Twitter vacation. I'm back now with a new book review: […]

  • Reply SeanAtlanta January 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Nice review. 🙂

    – @SeanAtlanta

  • Reply Kim N Campbell February 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Wow, this book sounds amazing. I think you've referenced this in some conversations we've had before and judging from our experience with Spirit of the Gulf, I can see why it's so relevant to both of us. While the insights from this book are probably primed for helping leaders with organizational change, I can really see it being an incredible tool for making our one to one connection with each other deeper. Like really helping us listen to each other better. I'm getting this on Amazon and when I'm done reading it, I'll let you know. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply Brandon Sutton February 9, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Thanks, Kim. You are absolutely right – the insights in the book are very helpful with interpersonal communications just as much as they are for larger systemic shifts. I really think you will enjoy the book and I can't wait to hear how you are able to use it in your own life and work. Thanks again!

  • Reply Callahan February 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

    looks like a really interesting book Brandon, like that he is going 'below the surface of activity' i.e. the 90%. Will put on my reading list.

    • Reply Brandon Sutton February 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Excellent – you will not be disappointed, Callahan! Let me know what you think once you've read it. Perhaps a good conversation over coffee? 🙂

    Leave a Reply to SeanAtlanta Cancel Reply