Worth a Look: Parag Khanna on Technocracy & Democracy in America (Not Good Enough)

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American democracy just isn’t good enough anymore. A costly election has done more to divide American society than unite it, while trust in government–and democracy itself–is plummeting. But there are better systems out there, and America would be wise to learn from them.

In this provocative manifesto, globalization scholar Parag Khanna tours cutting-edge nations from Switzerland to Singapore to reveal the inner workings that allow them that lead the way in managing the volatility of a fast-changing world while delivering superior welfare and prosperity for their citizens.

The ideal form of government for the complex 21st century is what Khanna calls a “direct technocracy,” one led by experts but perpetually consulting the people through a combination of democracy and data.

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Jan 20

Review: The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks

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Amazon Page

Joshua Cooper Ramo

3.0 out of 5 stars Over-Sold, Dated, Shallow, Not At All Inspiring

Do not trust jacket blurbs from celebrities — most of these blurbs are written without ever reading the book, a form of corruption.

See Instead (a 6 Star Book): Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

Ramo’s intent is to sensitize us to changes we are living through as highly connected networks come to dominate nearly every aspect of society. He does not presume to tell us how it will all turn out, only that institutions will be thoroughly reshaped under relentless pressures. He offers hints of the posture one might develop to make the most of the situation we are in, but there are no guarantees. So while the reader might enjoy the reassurance of a conclusive diagnosis and a sure-fire strategy for success, as so many business books offer, Ramos feels that it would be unwise to offer that sort of satisfaction. His premise is correct, but the alternative satisfaction — of wisdom — sets a high bar. Does he deliver?

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Jul 30

Worth a Look: The Internet is Not the Answer

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Amazon Page

The Internet Is Not the Answer, by longtime Internet skeptic Andrew Keen, offers a comprehensive look at what the Internet is doing to our lives. The book traces the technological and economic history of the Internet, from its founding in the 1960s through the rise of big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. Startling and important, The Internet Is Not the Answer is a big-picture look at what the Internet is doing to our society and an investigation of what we can do to try to make sure the decisions we are making about the reconfiguring of our world do not lead to unpleasant, unforeseen aftershocks.

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May 23