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.
Beyond 6 Stars–Nobel Prize (Of Old, Before Devalued)
November 28, 2009
QUOTE: “Non-zero-sumness is a kind of potential–a potential for overall gain, or for overall loss, depending on how the game is played.”
This book is one of the most sophisticated, deep, documented, and influential I have ever read, right up there with Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Published in 2000, this book has NOT received the marketing promotion or the public attention it merits.
THIS BOOK HAS SUBSTANTIALLY ALTERED MY PERCEPTION OF EVERYTHING ELSE.
I would normally rate this book a four because of its lack of reference to Buckminster Fuller (see Critical Path; the Open Money movement; or the literature on wealth of networks, fortune at the bottom of the pyramid, and collective intelligence, but I make it a solid five for three reasons:
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.
A suggestion for further action comes to mind in a recent book of fiction called Tyrannicide, by Evan Keliher, which offers the improbable scenario of the Second American Revolution, which opens, sometime in the near future, with the slow, careful, systematic assassination of the members of the US Senate for their complicity in the sell-out of the old republic. In Keliher’s fantasy, “It was big business and corrupt politicians against everybody else in a scenario that grew ever worse for average citizens and ever more prosperous for the rich, and it was now going to change even if it meant shooting every last one of the larcenous pricks.” Right. Down goes one senator after another, popped between porcine eyes with a .22 cal. bullet fired by experts. Soon, select representatives follow to the grave. The federal government freaks out with martial law and the iron fist and the boot on the throat, the citizens respond with full-scale armed revolt – a delightful vision, as sepia-tone and strange as that of a citizen musketeer on Bunker Hill fighting the injuries from a distant king.
Now if I was to imagine this kind of thing – and I’m not saying I am – as the proper justice for the most treasonous and scheming and syphilitically whored-out figures in our legislature – shoot the diseased little shits, why not? – I think the plan should certainly extend to their friends and co-conspirators on Wall Street.
No Index But a Proven Player in American Heartland
November 17, 2009
EDIT of 20 Nov 09. This is my final review.
The book consists of five parts.
Part I: Life up to the call from John McCain. The book I read and appreciated earlier, Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down was instrumental in her selection, along with the heroic work of a band of bloggers, covers most of this ground so the first half will be old hat to those who followed Palin before she became VP. Stuff better told here includes Todd being the Big Man on Campus (BMOC) with TWO “rides” when others had none; beauty contests paid for college; eloped, terrible pain of pregancy, lost second child, Exxon Valdez killed fish prices down 65%, lost some bids for office, and very meaningful for me, with respect to Downes syndrome, she asked “why us” and Todd responded “why not us.”
Part II: Photos, very disappointing for pre-campaign, better for campaign but over-all TERRIBLE.
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.