The author's “big idea” is called “Radical Transparency,” what the rest of us have been calling “Open Books for decades. I like it, and in the context of his elegant story-telling, I buy in. This book also goes to a five because it is an Information Operations (IO) books, ably focused on data, information, and information-sharing as well as collective sense-making. He author anticipates most of us becoming “active agents” for change, armed with information as Thomas Jefferson understood so well.
CORE NUGGET: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is not done for most things, but when done right, it is mainly data and it tracks impacts on human health, ecosystems, climate change, and resource draw-down, for every single component and every single process including transport, packaging, etcetera. Toward the end of the book when the author talks about how an LCA commons is emerging, and quotes Andy Ruben of normally ultra-evil Wal-Mart as saying that LCA innovation “is the largest strategic opportunity companies will see for the next fifty years,” I am seriously impressed.
I read a lot, and I confess to have been among those who “bought in” to the celebrity alarmism of Al Gore, but I never displaced the totality of the threats to Earth for an obsessive focus on carbon emissions. Among the three books I have always recommended that are far more balanced than anything by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are:
This book does something I was not expecting: it directly relates, in a tight DNA-like spiral, the use of open space technology (process is really a better word) to the practice of peace. This is not a book on Quakerism–the author has made an original contribution that has moved me further down the road toward Evolutionary Activism (focus on connecting all humans to all information, not on arriving as specific answers)-but I better understand the value of such books as Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through the Quaker Tradition as a result of this reading.
ALSO unexpected, I found this book to be a handbook for a “Whole Systems” approach to peace and prosperity. The author writes of “Multi-Factorial Development” attempting to do that, but i have the margin notation that putting a bunch of singular discipline experts (one from each discipline) in a room together does not create in any of them the ability to *do* systems thinking (or sustainable design). See Critical Path and The Philosophy of Sustainable Design.
Edit of 9 Jan 11 in light of shooting of gentle lady of Arizona, a judge, and others. I am leaving the original rhetoric intact, but I want to emphasize two things: 1) my enthusiasm was rhetorical, never anticipating the two-party tyranny blessing the the triple fraud (mortgage clearinghouse, Wall Street derivatives, and Federal Reserve) bankrupting all of us less the top 1%; and 2) many of us–millions of us–have been sounding the alarm for over a decade. We're not as stuck as we think we are–those speaking of adding security for all elected officials are fools–the only security for elected officials is to be found in their being perceived as LEGITIMATE. Neither do I believe that the ill-gotten wealth of the 1% that own America is threatened–but it will be if they do not take this terrible event in Arizona as a strong signal. All that is required to get America the Beautiful back on track is Electoral Reform–restoring the integrity of a government Of, By, and For We the People. Arizona is a “tipping point.”
Edit of 25 Nov 09 to complete review.
This book is a HOOT. It deserves to become a CULT CLASSIC. Nothing would please me more than to see 10 million copies of this book being shared across the land.
The author know Washington, knows the bureaucracy, and certainly understands the high crimes and misdemeanors that are so characteristic of Congress and the partisan White House (regardless of which party). Although a book of fiction, this book could well be a cultural prediction of the revolution that is brewing. Personally I support a General Strike that quite simply demands the same conditions as the author outlines at the end of the book, but for a fun thriller, a fast read, and a strong sense of the power of We the People armed with both knowledge and weapons, this book CANNOT BE BEAT.
Send a copy of this book to every public official whose blatant corruption you cannot stand. If you cannot afford to buy and mail the book, print the cover of the book and this review and mail them that.
I received this book in pre-publication form so as to offer a blurb for the jacket. Below is my take on this book.This book will simultaneously tease your brain, arouse your emotions, and motivate you as it probes deeply into the soul of man, society, and capitalism as the engine of Western civilization.
The author gifts us with a counter-culture manifesto that resurrects the goodness of capitalism while also connecting to the roots of humanity, of the human soul as a microcosm of the soul of society.
Be patient, the first third of this book will amuse, enlighten, & provoke, at which point it will grab you by the throat and shake your fundamental perceptions of life. The author is compelling in both a scientific sense, weaving psychology, biology, economics, and sociology together; and in an artistic sense, delivering theater of the mind, new visions, poetic turns of phrase page after page, and a massive amount of purpose-laden provocative minutia, all of which culminates in blinding flashes of insight that explain the mind-expanding role of circuses, the failure of religion, and the natural cycles of fission and fusion, splintering apart and coming together.