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October 2019

Dear Prosocial Friends,

Last month we saw the publication of the Prosocial book available at all good booksellers including the publisher New Harbinger (

In the book we explore the rationale for Prosocial, how to do it and the evidence for the Core Design Principles. Here are a couple of the reviews:


“This groundbreaking book shows how evolutionary theory can be used to empower the success of small groups. It is a seamless integration of the processes of psychological flexibility, the science of organizational development and interpersonal trust, and Elinor Ostrom's Nobel Prize winning "Core Design Principles" for group cooperation. What results is a method that is both principle-based and highly flexible, and that speaks directly and practically to the role of coaches and consultants. This book is essential reading for anyone who works with people in group settings and who is committed to helping these groups be their best.”
—Susan David, PhD, cofounder, Institute of Coaching a McLean/Harvard Medical School Affiliate; psychologist, Harvard Medical School; author of Emotional Agility

“A powerful, simple but new perspective, part what to do, mostly how to do it, on the big question. It’s always been make or break for our species. Somehow it’s looming ever larger: “How can I be for myself, but also for others and our world?”
—Nicholas Gruen, PhD, visiting professor, Kings College London Policy Institute, CEO of Lateral Economics. Author of The Public Goods of the 21st Century (forthcoming)


David presented with Jonathan Haidt

On September 26, 2019 David presented with Jon Haidt titled “Can Evolutionary Thinking Help Companies Foster More Ethical Cultures?” The event was and was attended by about 50 people associated with NYU’s Stern School of Business and consisted of an introduction by Jon, a 15-minute presentation by David, comments from two panel discussants (see below), and Q&A with the audience. Jon’s introduction and my presentation will be made available on the internet. Copies of Prosocial were on hand for sale. 

The two discussants were Toby Shannon, Shopify’s Chief Support Officer, and Erika Sheung, who bravely became a whistleblower for the health tech company Theranos.

The most immediate opportunity for Prosocial is to join a collaboration that has already formed between Toby and For background, Shopify is a Canadian company that provides online retailing services. It is worth many billions of dollars and is second only to Amazon in size. As Chief Support Officer, Toby manages a workforce of several thousand people, who in turn work with many tens of thousands of companies that use their services. 

Toby is an ideal person to work with. He was a philosophy major in college and retains a deep interest in philosophy, He remains in the small town near Ottawa where he grew up and takes a long-term and ecosystemic perspective for Shopify’s growth. To give an idea of what Prosocial can contribute to Toby's operation, his workforce works with clients by phone, which makes it a highly sophisticated call center. At first, he tried to run it as a call center, with a manager for every 100 callers, but that proved to be highly unsatisfactory for everyone involved. Then he achieved much greater success by forming the callers into small teams, etc., so you can see how he has already gone in the direction of Prosocial and can benefit from the tools that we have developed. This is before we even get to extending Prosocial to the companies that Shopify works with. 

Link to the presentation here:


A new look for our community pages

We are trialing a new approach on our community discussion pages . After you have signed in, you will see a set of groups. You can click on a specific group like “Healthcare”, “Environment”, “Schools”, “Government” or “Business” or you can make a posting in the “General Chat” Area. If you want to start a new special interest group, just let us know  and we will set you up.

If you are actively using Prosocial, or if you have an idea for a Prosocial project that can involve others, please let the community know at

Keep in touch,
Paul, David and the Prosocial Development Team
Copyright © 2019 Prosocial, All rights reserved.

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