The Power of Six: A Six Part Guide to Self Knowledge by Philip Harland is a brilliant and beautifully written book on the Power of Six, which is a practice for tapping into our own self-knowledge. Philip Harland covers the necessary conditions for the practice, outlines a number of ways of orchestrating the work, offers real-life examples, and looks into the future.
The Power of Six is derived from information-based principles of self-healing, and is able to contain complexity through its simplicity. It is a process of generating increasingly useful information by combining elements of repetition, iteration, and recursion. The Power of Six includes a number of search patterns, or heuristics:
- A clean start
- What the client knows
- What the problem knows
- What the space between knows
- What the system knows
- The action plan (following up on learnings)
The questions asked during a session are very simple and do not typically produce extended exchanges, but concentrate the client’s mind so that the course followed is direct. The questions asked are the following (the exact wording varies depending on the session):
- What do you know? x 1
- And what else do you know? x 5
- And now what do you know? x 1
- Repeat x 6 (or as needed)
The book ends with a description of eleven applications of the Power of Six in psychotherapy, self-development, and corporate coaching. It’s a fascinating book which I warmly recommend!
The book is well worth reading + re-reading x 5.