|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (February 2013)|
Charles Eisenstein is a public speaker, self-described "degrowth activist" and the author of several books including The Ascent of Humanity (2007), Sacred Economics (2011), and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (2013).
Born in 1967 to parents of Jewish descent,[improper synthesis?] Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. He has lived in Taiwan where he worked as a translator. He married, had children, and later returned to the United States and divorced. Eisenstein currently lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Eisenstein now frequently travels to speak and share his work at conferences and other events. Since 2010, he has spoken over three hundred times in over one hundred cities in US and elsewhere. His events are held voluntarily, organized by others who invite him to speak. He generally charges people expenses but no fee, leaving it up to them to give him something if they feel the urge. This appeals to his ideal of generosity and "living in the gift."
Eisenstein has written six books since 2001.
The Ascent of Humanity
The Ascent of Humanity, published in 2007, draws together Eisenstein's thoughts on many topics. The entire text is available online. It was read on the Unwelcome Guests radio show and the reading was later released as an audiobook.
Eisenstein's 2011 book Sacred Economics revolves around the theme of how the current monetary system based on interest and usury, along with the abandonment of the gift economy, has led to alienation, competition and need for an economic system predicated on continuous growth. It has been either fully or partially translated into at least nine languages including Turkish.
The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible was published in November 2013. In it, Eisenstein says that many of the social, economic, political, and environmental problems covered in his earlier works can be traced back to an underlying worldview that he calls the "Story of Separation"—that humans are separate from each other and from the rest of the natural world. A new story that is emerging, the "Story of Interbeing," is a "story of the world that we really care about." This book describes this as a time of transition between these stories: "Internally, it [the transition] is nothing less than a transformation in the experience of being alive. Externally is it nothing less than a transformation of humanity's role on planet Earth." He deconstructs the old story while describing the new. For example, the best way to interrupt the story of separation is to give someone an experience of non-separation. Publishers' Weekly described it as "a revolutionary and interactive book—in the sense that it inspires the reader to think out of the ordinary," adding that Eisenstein "will be noted in antiquity as one of the seminal and pioneering storytellers of this new world."
Eisenstein occasionally writes for the "Comment is Free" section of The Guardian on topics including genetic modification and the patenting of seeds and debt. He is a Contributing Editor at the website Reality Sandwich.
In 2013, journalist and author Rory Spowers described Eisenstein as a "refreshing new voice", saying that he's young, fresh, well-informed, humble but articulate, with a very spiritual perspective. He added that Eisenstein is too intelligent to be confrontational but that, through his works, especially The Ascent Of Humanity and Sacred Economics, "he's really moved the whole thing along in a number of ways."
- Strauss, Josh; Reed, Jessica (30 July 2012). "Charles Eisenstein: 'In a gift economy the more you give, the richer you are' - video". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Eisenstein Family History". Ancestry.com. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Charles Eisenstein, Living the New Economy, Nov 19, 2012 Vancouver, BC". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Charles Eisenstein, Author". Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Unwelcome Guests #532 - Hearing the Inner Calling". Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- Eisenstein, Charles D. "Acknowledgments." Introduction. The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2013. Ix-X. Print.
- Phillips, Jonathan Talat (8 October 2012). "Waxing 'Sacred Economics' with Charles Eisenstein". The Blog - HuffPost (TheHuffingtonPost.com). Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Sacred Economics Read Online". Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- Eisenstein, Charles D. The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2013. Print.
- "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible". Reviews. PWxyz. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
... the underlying—and largely unexamined—"normal" worldview and story that programs human responses; he calls it the "Story of Separation." The good news is that simultaneously a new story is emerging, the Story of Interbeing, a "story of the world that we really care about." This book is a guide through this time of transition between stories: "Internally, it [the transition] is nothing less than a transformation in the experience of being alive. Externally is it nothing less than a transformation of humanity's role on planet Earth." Eisenstein brilliantly deconstructs the old story and simultaneously weaves an ambitious and empowering narrative of the new story, relating real life stories that demonstrate the best way to interrupt the story of separation: give someone an experience of non-separation. This is a revolutionary and interactive book—in the sense that it inspires the reader to think out of the ordinary. Eisenstein will be noted in antiquity as one of the seminal and pioneering storytellers of this new world.
- Eisenstein, Charles (9 October 2012). "Genetically modifying and patenting seeds isn't the answer". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Eisenstein, Charles (3 September 2012). "We can't grow ourselves out of debt, no matter what the Federal Reserve does". The Guardian (London: guardian.co.uk). Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Eisenstein, Charles (12 November 2012). "Why Occupy's plan to cancel consumer debts is money well spent". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Eisenstein, Charles. "Charles Eisenstein". Reality Sandwich. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Green tea & man-eating tigers". The Advisor. 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
Who else inspires you? The most refreshing new voice is a guy called Charles Eisenstein, who's very involved with the Occupy movement. His magnum opus is A Sense Of Humanity and his most recent book is Sacred Economics. He's really moved the whole thing along in a number of ways. He's young and fresh and informed from a very spiritual perspective. Humble, but articulate; he's not banging a drum and he's not confrontational. He's too intelligent for that.
- The Open Secret, 2001, Authorhouse ISBN 978-0759655775
- The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self , 2003, NewTrends Publishing ISBN 978-0967089720
- The Ascent of Humanity. Civilization and the Human Sense of Self, 2007, Panenthea Productions ISBN 978-0977622207
- Transformational Weight Loss, 2007, Panenthea Press ISBN 978-0977622214
- Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition, 2011, EVOLVER EDITIONS ISBN 978-1583943977
- The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. The Vision and Practice of Interbeing, 2013, North Atlantic Books ISBN 978-1-583-94724-1
- Charles Eisenstein website
- Charles Eisenstein's website about one of his books, The Ascent of Humanity
- Charles Eisenstein's website about one of his minor books, Transformational Weight Loss