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“Probing, insightful and compassionate, The Elegant Self is a life changing opportunity.”

Diane Musho Hamilton, co-founder of Two Arrows Zen
Author of
Everything is Workable


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"Clear, lucid and powerful! The Elegant Self is a must read if you are interested in the further reaches of development." 

Ken Wilber author of The Integral Vision


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"If you are intrigued with developing yourself to the fullest, willing to dig deep into confusion and not-knowing, and wondering how to face the existential conundrums advanced development poses, this book on the elegant self is for you. You will find many novel and important distinctions to ponder regarding adult development towards greater benevolence and wisdom.

The argument for becoming an elegant self is carefully sequenced, lucid and often offers novel explications and subtle elaborations on the writings of others. You’ll first encounter a careful summary and analysis of Robert Kegan’s view of adult development, the best such interpretation I have seen. Then McNamara gives a rich elaboration of my thinking of what it is like to live at later stages and to become aware of one’s mental patterns and inevitable habituation.
The Elegant Self develops the courage and faith to embrace paradox, not-knowing and the certainty of death with equanimity and a tender heart as an ongoing inquiry into what it means to be a conscious, self-actualizing human being. Stories, metaphors and examples bring to life the more academic and didactic content. Most key to the potential impact of this book, after each chapter, there are guiding questions to help you explore the territory covered after each chapter. Moreover, McNamara offers targeted practices to enhance your skills in navigating the “honor” curriculum. I highly recommend this book to individuals who want to know what it is like to live as an elegant self in a complex world."

Susanne Cook-Greuter PhD
author of Postautonomous Ego Development & founder of Cook-Greuter & Associates


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“McNamara's clear and ground-breaking book is a quintessential example of a view that is "translucent."  His book helps us to remember that you and I and everyone we know are not things, not even "people" in any static sense.  This book reminds us that we all are, at our best and at our happiest, evolutionary processes, we are works in progress.  McNamara will teach you how to surf the waves of your own evolution.”

Arjuna Ardagh, author of Better than Sex & The Translucent Revolution
founder of
Awakening Coaching


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"Rob McNamara has written an informative, practical, and immensely helpful guide to the crucial path of adult development.  If you're on an inner journey, if you're seeking an integrated approach to self-cultivation, or if you're just wondering what your own next steps might be,  The Elegant Self should be part of your toolbox."

Sally Kempton author of Meditation for the Love of It & Awakening Shakti 


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“Innovative and insightful!”

Andrew Cohen, author of Evolutionary Enlightenment,
founder of Enlightenext


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"Rob McNamara’s The Elegant Self is a wise resource for intrepid souls who desire to collaborate in the evolution of their own consciousness. Masterful in his exposition of leading developmental psychologists Robert Kegan and Susanne Cook-Greuter's work, McNamara extends through his use of Eastern phenomenology, subtle dialectical practices, and perceptive illustrations. McNamara provides insights into the healing of the dualistic mind, liberation from habituation, as well as into the blessings of mortality, incompleteness, and paradox… The Elegant Self conveys so many insights appreciable by anyone who practices Eastern or Western forms of contemplation, and indeed, anyone aching to grow beyond their current limits."

David McCallum, S.J.
Jesuit priest, educator, retreat and spiritual director
Dean of the
Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY.


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The Elegant Self, Rob McNamara shares a host of thoughtful original insights into the nature of personal growth into the higher stages of adult development. 

He includes  a summary of the work and stages of development of Robert Kegan and Suzanne Cook-Greuter, two developmental researchers who have looked especially deeply into the very structure of the hidden curriculum of the school of life. But the focus of his consideration is the hidden dynamics of the experience of awakening from limiting structures of awareness. Thus, he applies familiar words in original ways — "elegance" evokes the aesthetic grace of free awareness, and he uses the term to signify the developmental impulse itself; he illuminates the subjective contours of growth, reframing and de-pathologizing the experiences of "inadequacy" and "incompleteness" and unpacking how integrally they catalyze growth; and he opens up a sense of how even our unconscious "habituation" is not merely outgrown but skillfully repurposed in higher stages of awareness. If you coach or teach development, or even if you simply want to get a better feel for your own growth into the higher stages, you'll find a treasure trove of rich practical insights and metaphors in this book."

Terry Patten, author of Integral Life Practice


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"Robert McNamara’s The Elegant Self is an essential guide for anyone on a serious path of self and spiritual development. Both advanced practitioners and newcomers alike will benefit from the profound wisdom, unique insights, and gentle guidance of this manual for enacting an embodied life. McNamara offers novel accounts of the inherent (and beneficial) sense of inadequacy, the limits of all projects of achieving completeness or wholeness in one’s being, the irreducible importance of the ethical in individual evolution, and much much more. My admiration and appreciation for this volume is unbounded; as it speaks directly to people at all waves of human development, hence to all age groups. Indeed, I shall be sharing this book widely amongst friends, colleagues, and students.”

Michael Schwartz, PhD
Professor of the History and Philosophy of Art,
Georgia Regents University
Executive Director, Integral Art and Media Center at


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"Rob McNamara has written a clear, passionate, integrated and intelligent book about human thriving. Practical, elegant, and brimming with life."

Mariana Caplan, PhD, author of Eyes Wide Open
Halfway Up the Mountain


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“This book wonderfully explores the next step in human development we are all invited to... into the realm of who we already are... touching the intimacy of being what is and needs to be explored... right now! Challenging, inviting and inspiring!”

Leon Gras, CEO Venwoude
Integral Practice Community & Retreat Center in the Netherlands


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"Absolutely life transforming! Rob's works have become an integral part of my business and my personal life."

John Austin Foster, founder of Life Warrior Coaching


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“In my work with facilitators and facilitative leaders, conscious development of the self in relationship to the intersubjectivity of groups is a complex and daunting imperative.  The Elegant Self provides a compelling guide for personal evolution. It is certain to enhance facilitators’  confidence in their journey of development and to orient the support they give to people in their groups.”

Rebecca Colwell, Co-founder, Integral Facilitator


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"Rob McNamara has done for human development what Steve Jobs did for personal computing. With his new book,
The Elegant Self, Rob effectively democratizes the entry point into human potential and makes it accessible."

Claudius von Schroder, Biohacker, Student of Life, Entrepreneur


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"Rob puts the Transpersonal into action. He shows us how to work with the enormity of our human elegance."

Diane Israel, MA Creator of the film Beauty Mark &
Professor of Transpersonal Psychology,
Naropa University


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"The accessible writing style, exercises, and innovative diagrams help experientially engage the science of personal growth in a way I have not seen done in the field of personal development"

Rein Tyler Havens PhD, founder of Havens Coaching & Consulting


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“This is applied evolution made flesh, ready to be lived and practiced!”

Ali Akalin, writer, faculty for Core Integral


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"Read this book carefully. The Elegant Self is medicine for our world. Rob invites us to participate with the white-hot point of now-ness that is the intersection of our history and our infinity. In joining with the courage to engage in and as this intersection,—our elegance—we can grow into the dignified human beings fit to inhabit this planet. We do this through practicing our capacity to simultaneously liberate and engage with the ever-increasing waves of complexity patiently waiting for us. 

Through a radical acceptance of ourselves and our world as they are, we paradoxically find a greater power and influence to transform our world. The Elegant Self points us in a lucid and pragmatic way back to ourselves—all of ourselves—and this moment as the ground of transformation into an awakened embrace capable of elegantly dancing with a sometimes fickle and merciless reality. 

Again, read this book carefully, because simply reading The Elegant Self can germinate the seed of perhaps even the smallest intuition of your elegance or feed the already burning flame of your inter-penetrable elegant self into a wildfire."

Alex Musat, Hopeless Mystic,


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"Allow what is expressed in this book into your system and you will be ingesting gross, subtle and causal depth charges that will blow the moorings of your ego to smithereens.  Then, unfettered, an infinitely larger you will be free to work play and love in a reality that is full to the brim with devastation, beauty and joy.  Rob's writing delivers a recipe for the full embodiment of the quote: 'The glory of God is man fully alive'"

Brian Daishi Turner PhD, Inventer, Dad & Monk


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"Rob McNamara has penned yet another mind altering, soul stretching offering of the highest order. Both informative as well as highly transformative, he has carefully constructed and thoughtfully communicated an adult journey of development that is fresh, insightful and geared towards guiding us all to the next level of the journey. A deep bow to Mr. McNamara for his latest generous and intelligent tour de force"

Katherine Woodward Thomas,
Author of
Calling in "The One"
Cofounder of the
Feminine Power Global Community


"The Elegant Self weaves profound psychological growth opportunities into brilliant, lasting insights"

Steve Chandler, Author of Time Warrior


"Robert McNamara offers us a friendly-yet-sophisticated guide to adult development. He addresses the key tensions that individuals face during growth - including wholeness vs. incompleteness and being vs. becoming - with care and with obvious wisdom from the road. Pick this book up if you want to think more deeply about where you are headed in your inner and outer life."

Mark Forman PhD, Clinical Director, Life Design Centre and author, A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy

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