I am reading and listening to a great book by Nick Pyenson, a research geologist and curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History here in Washington DC. The book is, Spying on Whales. It is currently an Editor’s Pick on Amazon.

I know Nick and in the audio version, he does a great job of bringing his well-crafted words to life. Make no mistake, Nick knows how to write. It’s a book that is not only informative but truly a joy to read. It is as E O Wilson said, “The best of science writing.” That’s high praise coming from Wilson, one of the greatest scientific minds of our time and author of 16 books just this century! Nick’s book is not just about whales, though it covers them in-depth. It is also about understanding how science works, the collaboration among many who together unfold the story of deep time.

Much of the work I am doing these days helps organizations evolve to meet the exigencies of our time including climate change, the pandemic, economic disruption, and social justice. Nick makes a great point in his book about evolution that applies to the tree of life, and I believe equally applies to organizational behavior: “… evolution… makes no concession for the future; it’s about what’s good enough in the moment. Selection operates on what’s available… “

So if you have a vision for your organization, your church, your Girl Scout troop, or any group of people, know that the individual players will choose what’s “good enough in the moment.” They will choose what is available to them. Let that be your guide when working to evolve the group as a whole.

As for the week ahead, what evolutionary jump are you hoping for? And how can the choices of today lead to the vision for tomorrow?


“The point of human evolution is adapting to circumstance. Not letting go of the old, but adapting it, is necessary.” – Sonali Bendre