Review: The Compassionate Instinct–The Science of Human Goodness

5 Star, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Education (General), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Collection, Unique, Timely, No Notes

December 16, 2009
Dacher Keltner, Jason March, Jeremy Adam Smith
This is a truly extraordinary collection of essays from the magazine Greater Good, a magazine I had no idea existed. The editors have done a tremendous job in selecting 35 essays (click on the cover above to see the Table of Contents and over all I am hugely impressed.

Multiple literatures are in convergences, from the consciousness side to the global brain side to the waging peace side. I arrived at this book from the “beyond genes to culture” side, and list ten other recommended books spanning those literatures at the end of this review.

My notes:

+ 33 authors, 35 essays, drawn from the 2004-2009 timeframe as published in Greater Good, a magazine

+ Herb Alpert Foundation helped make this book possible

+ Three parts to the book: scientific roots; cultivating local goodness; cultivating goodness in society and politics

+ Science stories include evolutionary studies on peacemaking; neuroscientific experiments; and research into hormones like oxytocin that promote trust and generosity, meaning that kindness really is its own reward and that it is contagious

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Review: The Living Universe

5 Star, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Cosmos & Destiny, Culture, Research, Economics, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evolutionary Activism Takes On New Life

December 6, 2009

Duane Elgin

I was led to this book by Tom Atlee, whose earlier book, The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All completely redirected my thinking in positive directions, and whose new book on Reflections on Evolutionary Activism (soon on Amazon, now at the Public Intelligence Blog) pointed me toward this book as well as Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution and other books on cultural evolution.

In the face of the almost complete collapse of the post-World War II political, economic, and social paradigms (see my free chapter on Paradigms of Failure at the Public Intelligence Blog or within Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography), I feel POSITIVE, and this book and the many human minds and hearts this book represents are the reason I am confident that Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential and Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution are on the immediate horizon.

Paul Hawkin’s captures the spirit of WHY this book on the Living Universe matters–his most recent book, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming is the tip of the iceberg.

The greatest value for me of this book is that it is a superb overview of many different concepts from both science and the world of religion–this is a sense-making book not a simple book.

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Review (Guest): Adam Smith in Beijing–Lineages of the Twenty-First Century

4 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Resilience, Country/Regional, Economics, Future, History, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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REVIEW (Guest) by By Malvin

Historical perspective on China’s ascent,
December 19, 2007

Giovanni Arrighi

“Adam Smith in Beijing” by Giovanni Arrighi delivers a sophisticated history and analysis of the rise of the Asian economy. Displaying a deep knowledge of world history including novel insights into the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx, Mr. Arrighi helps us understand why China’s ascent has arrived at the moment when the dream of a single world capitalist state as conceived and championed by the U.S. has failed. Impeccably researched and cogently written, this accessible book succeeds in providing historical perspective on how China has come to be a key player on the world stage.

Review: Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, History, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 6 Stars–And a Seventh for Accessible Pricing

December 5, 2009
Peter A. Corning
I could spend a lifetime reading and re-reading this book, and each of the cited sources, and not waste the time at all. This is one of the most extraordinary works I have encountered, and while I cannot do it justice, I will summarize it. Four other books that join this one in framing my third and last stage of life:
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

Bottom line: Humanity can evolve, must evolve, and the Whole Earth, Co-Evolution concepts that Stewart Brand and others pioneered (not mentioned here), that indigenous people’s everywhere have understood for centuries, are a natural path for us all. We *can* create a prosperous world at peace.

Short version of the book: Synergy is cool again, synergy and self-organization complement each other and are distinct; bioeconomics is hugely important and supports the premise that the whole is larger than the sum of the parts and that interactions and exchanges can and should be done for the whole, “beyond selfishness,” cybernetics rules, information is the space between, and ethics is both a form of cybernetics and a cultural adaptation that helps the whole evolve and persist.

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Review: The End of Money and the Future of Civilization

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Future, History, Impeachment & Treason, Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy
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EXTRACTS from A Book Review by Richard C. Cook (FREE VERMONT MEDIA)

It’s too late for anyone to pretend that the U.S. government, whether under President Barack Obama or anyone else, can divert our nation from long-term economic decline. The U.S. is increasingly in a state of political, economic, and moral paralysis, caught as it were between the “rock” of protracted recession and the “hard place” of terminal government debt.

. . . . . . .

Thomas Greco, in his new book The End of Money and the Future of Civilization (Chelsea Green: 2009) , outlines the increasingly familiar story of how things got so bad, and he tells it as well as anyone has ever done. His style is precise and sometimes academic. Behind it, though, is a passion for truth and the type of rock-solid integrity that refuses to sugar-coat a very bitter pill.

More than that, Greco writes about how to change what has gone wrong. His credentials as an engineer, college professor, author, and consultant are impeccable. His book is among the most important written in this decade. It is truly a book that can alter the world and, if taken seriously, give large numbers of people a practical way to survive the gathering catastrophe.

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