Cover image for Crossing the unknown sea : work as a pilgrimage of identity
Crossing the unknown sea : work as a pilgrimage of identity
Whyte, David, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Riverhead Books, 2001.
Physical Description:
xiv, 257 pages ; 22 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
BJ1498 .W48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BJ1498 .W48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Crossing the Unknown Sea follows the stages of a holy pilgrimage as the path to finding fulfillment and awakening our deepest identities through our work. It includes a mix of poetry, stories from the workplace front, an unusual take on the industrial revolution, and Whyte's own search for meaning through work. The stages are: Longing for refuge, Finding the strength to begin the journey, Desiring growth, Overcoming obstacles, Avoiding distractions, Connecting: meeting and traveling with others with a common purpose, and Helping others: a desire to bring hope and help to those left behind. Whyte is a poet and powerful writer.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers who accept poet and Fortune 500 consultant Whyte's invitation to enter into "an imaginative conversation about life and work" are likely to be challenged as well as delighted by the beauty of his writing and the expansiveness of his views. Gracefully using the metaphor of a sea voyage to depict the journey through the world of work, Whyte views work not only as a means of support, but as a means for interacting with the world and developing self-expression and identity. While he draws on the philosophical underpinnings of the self-help movement aimed at finding one's "inner compass," Whyte doesn't offer the step-by-step pragmatism of other books. Instead, his approach is subtler and more organic, presenting an abundance of provocative ideas, especially on one's relationship with time and daily ritual, on the importance of dignity and ethics and on honoring the labor of one's ancestors. Interwoven with and undergirding Whyte's philosophy are passages of memoir, detailing his unique experiences as a naturalist in the Gal pagos Islands, for example, together with poetic references from Whitman, Spender, Dickinson, Rilke, Wordsworth and Whyte's own works. Even Whyte's friends are wise, as evidenced by a monk who tells him that the antidote to exhaustion is not rest but "wholeheartedness." Thoughtful readers will wholeheartedly savor this book. Agent, Ned Leavitt. (Apr. 2) Forecast: Whyte established a core audience with the much-praised The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America and through his business seminars on creativity. A six-city author tour, selection by the One Spirit Book Club and a recent excerpt in Oprah's magazine mark this as a title to watch. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the midst of all the arid, bullet point-ridden business books, Whyte's stands out with its languid I'll-get-to-the-point-when-I'm-damned-good-and-ready approach. A poet, corporate trainer, and author of The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, Whyte challenges readers to remember their childhood interests and enthusiasms. He claims that this is necessary in order to escape the deadening influences of adult "musts" and "shoulds" and to recapture the passion that one needs to do good work. Whyte discusses his own career changes, from naturalist to nonprofit executive to writer/presenter/coacher. Echoing Fortgang, his main point is the popular "Do what you love and the money will follow," but he personalizes it by telling his own story and by including snippets of focused poetry (his own and others'), so that it's not as hackneyed as it may sound. Because an excerpt appeared in the March 2001 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, there's sure to be demand in public libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

I. Courage and Conversation: Setting Out with a Firm Persuasionp. 3
II. The Mountain Farm: A Stranger at the Doorp. 9
Mid Ocean
III. At the Cliff Edge of Life: From Powerlessness to Participationp. 31
IV. A Star for Navigation: Ambition, Horizon, and Arrivalp. 62
V. Out of Ireland: A Short Sea Crossingp. 82
VI. The Awkward Way the Swan Walks: From Exhaustion to Wholeheartednessp. 113
VII. The Fatal Shore: Arrival and Authenticityp. 139
VIII. Outlaw Imaginings: When the Real You Wants Outp. 153
IX. A Marriage with Silence: Escaping the Prison of Time and Workp. 173
X. Crossing the Unknown Sea: A Voyage Through the Hours of the Dayp. 182
XI. Keats and Conversation: The New and Newly Youthful World of Workp. 227
Bibliographyp. 246
Permissionsp. 247
Indexp. 248