Leonardo’s Vision: A Guide to Collective Thinking and Action


by Valerie A. Brown

In Leonardo’s Vision, Valerie A. Brown, is inspired by the ideas and imagination of Leonardo da Vinci. The book shows how we can break down the barriers which limit our learning and living. It urges sharing power, knowledge and sympathy between people of very different interests so that they learn to share their knowledge and understanding.

Emphasising the limitations of linear analysis and the importance of embracing the the language of synthesis (collaboration, collective, cooperation, coordination, hierarchy, holarchy, holism, holocentric, integration, synergy, synoptic, systemic), Brown shows how we can empower people, increasing their capacity to learn, and be heard and act responsibly as individuals and as members of a social group, the local community and society at large. Once learning is empowered in people (often after a dis-empowering formal education) they become more ready, willing and able to work things out for themselves and to take appropriate action.

Placing particular emphasis on how we need to network the knowledge cultures, Brown shows how:

  • individual knowledge enables;
  • community knowledge grounds;
  • specialised knowledge examines;
  • organisational knowledge ensures;
  • holistic knowledge focuses; and
  • collective knowledge empowers.


Brown’s hope for Leonardo’s Vision is that it will provide the synthesising tools that will enable us to create a just, secure and sustainable future.

Reviews of Leonardo’s Vision: A Guide to Collective Thinking and Action

‘In this rich treasure trove of historical inspiration, contemporary ideas, and future-oriented how-to’s, Valerie Brown has brought together a lifetime of work synthesizing science, participatory processes, and action for sustainability. A seasoned explorer, she moves effortlessly between disciplines as she describes a comprehensive approach to tackling the great challenges of our time – together. Because together is the only way they can be tackled. Read, learn, and act.’
Alan AtKisson, author of Believing Cassandra; executive director, Earth Charter International

Leonardo’s Vision is essential reading for all those wishing to capture the emerging opportunity for collective thinking and action. The book provides a number of rigorous models and processes drawing on the author’s extensive experience in supporting community efforts towards a sustainable future. I have learned that one should pay serious attention to anything that Valerie publishes and this is no exception.’
Karlson ‘Charlie’Hargroves, co-author ofThe Natural Advantage of Nations; executive director, The Natural Edge Project