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Add to Eric Liu’s considerable credentials as founder of Guiding Lights Network, former Clinton speechwriter, author, and lawyer—garden brain enthusiast.

Liu spoke and at the recent Four Peaks event in Seattle, examining Seattle’s key attributes and meaningful ways to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Space Needle.

Even though lots was covered in this live recording of Media Space, there was a consistent return to humans as storytellers and how a dominant metaphor in our stories is the garden—an organic, sprouting process, which includes random volunteers and uncontrolled outcroppings. Lui talked about how a ‘garden brain’ approach is different from the more rigid top-down leadership ‘machine brain’ systems.

A garden metaphor approach allows for spontaneous sprouting and the contagious action—like the spirit of change spreading globally at this time—an interesting intersection of mindfulness, social media and political change.

Three key take-away concepts:

  • We’re all better off when we’re all better off
  • Every one of us is shaped by others (and we shape others)
  • Society becomes how you behave

Eric Liu is working on his next book with Nick Hanauer (they co-authored True Patriot in 2007). This new book is on a shift of metaphor from machine to garden in explaining what citizenship is, how the economy works, and what the role of government is. Watch for details this autumn and at Guiding Lights Weekend (Bill McKibben, Van Jones+++) more on metaphor and engagement March 25&26.

Four Peaks examines the 4 core industries of the Puget Sound–Innovation, Community, Entrepreneurship and Entertainment. Watch for news and more monthly events leading up to a full day Four Peaks’ summit in October. Next Salon date is April 14, 2011.