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.
However, and despite other's averaging a four, I feel such a sense of respect for what these two authors have done (with a superb bilbiography and a good index) that I cannot qualify this with less than five stars.
The two nuggets for me, with my interest in Epoch B leadership and self-organizing communities, came at the end:
7 Stars–Nobel Prize (Of Old, Before Devalued) – Life Transformative Insights
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.
Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth
Today's economic crisis is the worst since the Great Depression. However, as David Korten shows, the steps being taken to address it do nothing to deal with the reality of a failed economic system. It's like treating cancer with a bandage. Korten identifies the deeper sources of the failure: Wall Street institutions that have perfected the art of creating “wealth” without producing anything of real value: phantom wealth. Our hope lies not with Wall Street, Korten argues, but with Main Street, which creates real wealth from real resources to meet real needs.
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.
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.