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Cusp of Chaos (Second Edition)

“I am often confused about the reasons behind the wide-ranging clashes and violence in the world. George Halvorson breaks it down in the most simple but profound analysis of the causes of and solutions for the world’s conflicts. Using his life experiences gained from extensive travel, listening, and leading major health care organizations, George offers an insightful set of factors underlying most major disputes. His book recommends practical actions to shift the world away from strife towards peace. An eye-opening book that will aid each of us in understanding the world we share together and how we can contribute to a more sane future.” —

Andrew L. Stern — President Emeritus SEIU, Columbia University Richman Center, Ronald O. Perelman Senior Fellow


“George Halvorson’s new and impressive body of work brings his considerable intellect and experience to bear on the big questions of our age: war and peace; social and economic division, tribalism and separatism, compassion and cruelty. Drawing on a deep understanding of contemporary research in the social and behavioral sciences, Halvorson weaves together the patterns that explain why our tribalism is deeply rooted in human psychology and group dynamics. He connects the dots at the individual, group, tribe, and societal level to explain so much of what we are witnessing in our politics, economic, and world affairs. Beyond diagnosis he advocates for treatment, by understanding the root cause of our individual and collective behaviors and confronting the evil with the good that is within us. It is a prescription for peace and harmony, over conflict and division. We should learn and apply his teachings as a society and as individuals.” —

Ian Morrison — Author, "The Second Curve: Managing the Velocity of Change"


“In this thought provoking and sobering book written by George Halvorson, the author describes a personal journey whose goal is multi-fold but most importantly is to determine how humans could achieve intergroup peace in America.Halvorson relates how his own travels and continuing studies of world affairs have led him to recognize that the world in which we now live is indeed on the cusp of chaos. He cites historical references to the nature of what he calls 'Us/Them' from Nazi Germany, Japan, China, Korea, Sarajevo, The Sudan, the Hutu-Tutsi tragedy, changes in colonial states and the newly independent Soviet satellites, immigration trends, as well as his own observation of intergroup discord in the United States.

As an enlightened scholar and seemingly irrepressible 'pragmatic ethicist,' early in the book the reader comes to appreciate the author's acceptance of the notion of 'past as prologue' to partly explain intergroup discord while he retains a noteworthy and very humane commitment to the goal of achieving intergroup peace. His discussion of the significance and impact of tribalism, independent of geographic venue, is informative and in some respects echoes perspectives expressed by T.E. Lawrence in his epic 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom.'

To some readers, this book might be viewed as provocative. Arguably, a large segment of the population might not not accept its fundamental thesis that our world is indeed on the 'cusp of chaos' resulting in large part from historical precedents of 'Us/Them' instincts, as well as tribal and turf-related discord. But, to the reader eager to navigate a text whose very title underscores the gravity of our current state, it is a treasure chest of common sense and important facts.

Overall, 'The Cusp of Chaos' is a captivating and valuable social essay. While some readers may leave the text with the impression that the only thing certain in life is death, taxes and intergroup conflict, others will feel enriched by a newly found level of understanding of why chaos surrounds us and how it might be possible to rid ourselves of its ominous threat.” —

Randolph Steer — M.D., Ph.D., writer, business leader, health care executive, and fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology