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The Third Harmony

So many of the problems that beset us—war, poverty, isolation, and the climate crisis—have their roots in an old story about the universe: we are purposeless matter in a random void, and scarcity, competition, and violence are inevitable. Citing the convergence of modern science and the essence of the world’s wisdom traditions, I argue for a new story: the universe is conscious and purposeful, humans are spiritual beings, and cooperation and collaboration are our natural way of interacting. This “new story” has had other champions, but as I point out in The Third Harmony, a piece is missing: For the new story to take hold, we have to embrace nonviolence—not only as a social change tactic but as a way of life.

Nonviolence is the only power strong enough to “move the heart” toward this deep and revolutionary change in worldview. I refer to this as the “third harmony,” which is the harmony within and among us to resolve the crisis of the human image. Calling on all of us to realize the urgency of nonviolence for resolving our personal and collective problems, I focus on how to shift to our story on a personal, everyday level and then integrate it into the very foundations of our understanding of humanity and community. The Third Harmony is published by Berrett-Koehler.


“Professor Nagler is a trusted interpreter of my grandfather’s life and message. In this book he reveals the unique importance of Gandhiji’s great discovery of nonviolence for our time and brings out its indispensable role in the shift to a sustainable civilization on which our life, and possibly all life on earth, now depends.”

“Coming from his deep understanding of Gandhian nonviolence, he identifies missing elements in our development of a ‘new story,’ especially where we fail to focus on our inner being (‘third harmony’) and find there the precious resource of metta (nonviolence) that the Buddha and all the great teachers tell us lies within. May every lover of life read and be empowered by this passionate and compelling book.”

“A powerful ‘new story’ rooted in wholeness is being called forth! Michael Nagler’s important and groundbreaking new book is an insightful exploration and guide for the social healing and transformational possibilities urgently needed for these times!”

For Classrooms & Workshops

Discounted Bulk Orders

The Third Harmony makes a great first-year read for college students. It also brings new insights to workshops/trainings for activists and spiritual practitioners. Any order of 10+ copies qualifies for free ground shipping in the US.

Want to inspire your audiences with a custom cover and message? Orders of 500 copies or more qualify for a unique cover and a personalized message, along with free ground shipping in the US.

Please email Leslie Crandell, Senior Sales Manager at Berrett-Koehler, about your bulk-order requests:

Seeking tips on using The Third Harmony in your classroom or nonviolence trainings? I’ll lend some ideas—just get in touch.

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