Review: Islam vs. ISIS – Why the True Islam is the exact opposite of the Islamic State

5 Star, Country/Regional, Intelligence (Spiritual), Misinformation & Propaganda, Religion & Politics of Religion, Threats (Emerging & Perennial)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Recommended, Some Flaws, But Many Illustrations and an Easy Read, September 29, 2016

I rate this book as a solid five because it is a very important collection of insights — including a buried but all important indictment of Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and Western Imperialism as the true roots of ISIS. The graphics are so exceptional that I urge the author to offer this book in Kindle form where color graphics and the easy jumps from picture to brief test to picture will make this book twice as valuable as its present form limited to black and white photos.

There is absolutely no question about the author’s erudition or integrity. This is a man deeply steeped — as an observing Westerner — in Arabic culture, history, and language; in the political-economic history of the region; in the role of Islam as the foundation and the glue for society and the Islamic economy; and in the contributing factors including the US invasion of Iraq and the US dismantling of the Sunni officer corps in Iraq leading to ISIS. A solid five on intent and substance.

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Review: The Art of Shaping the Metropolis

6 Star Special, Atlases & State of the World, Best Practices in Management, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Country/Regional, Future, Leadership, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Pedro B. Ortiz

6-Star Guide to Saving Every City in Every Country — a World-Changing Book

This is an extraordinary book, easily five stars but I am elevating it to 6 stars (my top ten percent across over 2000 reviews, all but a handful non-fiction) because the author is not just a genius, but he explains his deep multi-level knowledge brilliantly. I have never seen a collection of complicated nuanced topics presented in such a compelling, easy to understand, well-illustrated manner. The case studies abound. The publisher is to be complemented for the purity of the presentation — a stunning book with perfectly laid out pages, glossy color on every page, and a superb index, which is where most publishers fail their authors.

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Review: Wages of Rebellion – The Moral Imperative of Revolt

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Consciousness & Social IQ, Country/Regional, Democracy, Intelligence (Public), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Amazon Page

Chris Hedges

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant with One Possible Flaw and Some Minor Oversights, May 10, 2015

I am a huge fan of Chris Hedges and consider Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle one of his most interesting works, a real complement to David Korten’s The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

This book can be seen as a logical follow on to The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, among other works.

This is a five star book with one major point: revolutions don’t succeed from mass power, they succeed when mass power is no longer confronted by the armed power of the state because the individual soldiers and police stop defending the status quo. Since I myself have studied revolution extensively, and < Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today > is easily found online, I am both impressed by the author’s blend of journo-scholarship, and a tad disappointed that he missed some key bits.

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Review: The Internet in the Middle East

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Censorship & Denial of Access, Civil Society, Country/Regional, Democracy, Information Society, Information Technology
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Deborah Wheeler

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and therefore valuable, February 11, 2015

This is a solid piece of work that might normally have been a 4 but it surprised me just enough to warrant taking it to a 4. I love unconventional wisdom and seeing solid proof that conventional wisdom — in this case, “The Internet changes everything for the better” questioned.

I read this book on the same flight as I read Richard Wolff’s Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) and this is the second reason I will place the book at five: while the Internet does NOT change everything for the better, especially in the case of women and youth in Kuwait, it IS “occupied,” is does blur the line between the user and the producer, and it does offer a model for new forms of social and economic organization. In a strange way I could not have anticipated, these two books complement each other.

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