Review: Need, Speed and Greed – How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems

6 Star Special, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Economics, Education (General), Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5 Stars, Quick & Dirty Bright Light of Convergence,March 20, 2012

This book was brought to my attention by Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation and chief editor of its wiki. I follow him through and act instantly on his suggestions.

The ideas in this book are not new. Stewart Brand (mispelled in the index) and Paul Hawkins / Lovins were 40 years ahead of us all on co-existence, then Howard Rheingold, then Kevin Kelly and Tom Atlee, and finally J. F. Rischard and myself among many others. I link to relevant books by them below. The foundation for this book is C.K. Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, perhaps combined with Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor’s  The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth –the intersection of the five billion at the bottom having four times the aggregate annual income of the billion at the top, and five times the brainpower and entrepreneurial energy, is a convergence point.

Where the author gets such high marks from me is in the timing and the melding. If the rest of us have been piling up kindling ever so slowly, trying to spark a fire the hard way, one spark at a time, this author and this book are an entire matchbox cast into the middle of the tinder.

This is a book so straight-forward, so clear-minded, so obviously useful, that even Goldman Sachs executives might “get it” in one reading. I have never been one for vindictive justice, Nelson Mandela taught us all that Truth & Reconciliation really does work and make possible forward progress without regressive vengeance, so for this book to appeal not just to all of us with open minds eager for its message, but to criminal master-minds whose crimes have soiled and spoiled the Earth for decades, that is an accomplishment.

Black Swan kill Sitting Duck is somebody’s idea of humor (chapter title) and it works for me. What also works for me is the idea that you do not predict the future, you create it. Beyond Buckminster Fuller and Russell Ackoff, beyond Clay Sharky and Yochai Benkler, beyond Medard Gabel, Ken Bausch, Robert Wright, Kent Meyers, and myself, all left in the dust by this book, is a future that can be created by all of us, routing around retarded governments, corrupt “non-profits,” and predatory corporations. Jim Turner (former #2 to Ralph Nader) taught me that if we just say NO to all the products that are known to be toxic, and YES to those that are now increasingly available that are non-toxic, we change the markets overnight. In some ways this book reminds me of Small is Beautiful, Human Scale, all of the books about Open this and that.

There are a lot of authors NOT represented in this book, a lot of literatures that have much to offer the core idea developed by the author in this book, but my view is that when you need a fire, the guy with the match is more important than the rest who have brought kindling and tinder.

Two final comments:

First, the author–like all other authors less myself and Lawrence Lessig–is much too polite in avoiding the brutal reality that all of our institutions have failed. He focuses on education (I coined the term for Earth Intelligence Network of educating the five billion poor “one cell call at a time” but could not break through to Richard Branson with my one-pager on how to profit from “The Virgin Truth”) but the reality is that academia, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-governmental/non-profit (what I call the eight tribes) are all CORRUPT. The singularity that is real consists of one work, that word is INTEGRITY. Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog has my postings on this word.

Second, the author, given his background, can be expected to focus on Club of Rome and system design “lite” (the alternative proposition that the Club of Rome REJECTED in the 1970’s was actually the one that would have worked, it focused on educating the entire public to achieve sustainable behavioral modification across the board — the Meadows and Jorgen Randers have just acknowledged publicly that they failed because they over-estimated the willingness of governments to direct top-down corrections). However, once this book has opened the minds of the recalcitrant–the US Government being the poster child for over-funded idiocy–there are contributions from others the author has not pointed us to, and for that I recommend my free online list of book reviews, easily found online by searching for < Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive) >.

And now for the remaining eight links I am allowed:
Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
New Rules for the New Economy
The Tao of Democracy: Using co-intelligence to create a world that works for all
High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny

The author is right. We needed this crisis. We needed for the world to be set aflame and reborn. We are all very lucky to be alive at this time in history. We are surrounded by failure. Now is the time to attack in all directions. BRAVO!!

Robert Steele, Author


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