Discovering Soul In The Workplace with David Whyte

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"The soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else's," notes poet David Whyte. "So far, much of corporate America has been about succeeding at other people's lives." Determined to change this situation, Whyte has been working with organizations to help them foster creativity in their employees, for the simple reason that they will not survive without it. It is clearly to the benefit of employers to release oppressive hierarchical models in favor of "another, new kind of loyalty which has to do with a primary, first-hand engagement with life." Drawing upon his deep understanding of the needs of the human soul, Whyte shows us what the next steps will be, and how passion and freedom can be operative concepts in the business world. "We have to take the part of us which does not belong to the work into the work," he says. "That's the only way we're going to be able to live now." (hosted by Michael Toms)


David Whyte grew up among the hills and valleys of Yorkshire, England. A captivating speaker with a compelling blend of profound poetry and insightful commentary, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development. He holds a degree in Marine Zoology, and is an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. In 2008, he was awarded an Honorary Degree from Neumann College.

He is the author of several books of poetry and nonfiction including:

To learn more about the work of David Whyte go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Understanding the psychology of the corporate structure
  • Why corporations need to encourage "soul" in order to survive
  • Poetry as a tool for experiencing the soul
  • Beowulf as a sixth-century corporate consultant
  • Why we need to work out our destinies in the workplace
  • A poem to say when you drop an armload of manila folders in the hall
  • The man who needed the hum of classic sportscars
  • The astonishing fear and celebration of exploring true soul issues
  • How the "strange attractors" of chaos theory relate to work life
Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 6/15/1994       Program Number: 2479