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5.0 out of 5 stars INTEGRITY: easy to lose, hard to restore
February 4, 2008
He was a Navy officer serving on the USS Yorktown by the age of 22, in law school at 26, a staff assistant to the counsel to the president at 29, and Undersecretary of Transportation at 33. At 34, he was in jail. How could this happen to a man raised in a highly moral family, with an excellent education, with Christian Middle American values and a strong sense of patriotism? Yet here was Egil “Bud” Krogh at 33, starting a prison sentence for violating the civil rights of Dr. Lewis Fielding, a California psychiatrist. Bud says the principal cause was the collapse of integrity of those members of the White House's Special Investigative Unit (SIU) who conspired, ordered and carried the break-in of the doctor who had been consulted by Dr. Daniel Ellsburg, the “leaker” of the Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times in early 1971.
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.
+ 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
Thom Hartmann is one of a handful of individuals that I consider to be true guides for the rest of us, and I consider two of his earlier books, Cracking the Code and SCREWED, to have been instrumental in my own transformation from recovering spy to intelligence officer to the public.
Major Contribution to Loyal Dissent & True Patriotism
December 10, 2009
The book comes in three parts, the first two by the author, the third a collection of well-chosen pieces by others.
I am totally engaged by the idea that liberty is a state of mind, that America the Beautiful is a state of mind, not to be confused with the Wall Street greed and two-party tyranny that is killing the Republic.
The author has done a moderately good job of reviewing the history, and that which she shares is most valuable. I especially like her quoting Robert F. Kennedy on how each generation must win its own struggle to be free, and later in the book, she cites one of the thousands across the country as observing that we have abdicated our citizenship.
The state of mind theme is carried on in a discussion of the difference between a free society and a fear society, and throughout parts I and II we see documented evidence of how America has become a fear society and how the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has been a virtual seizure of power by quasi-fascist mind-sets who may have the best of intentions but in fact have executed a “paper coup” or as the author also puts it, following a long (LONG) summary of restrictions on everything from permits for free speech to travel to voting rules and regulations, “civic death by a thousand cuts.”
Forget Survival of the Fittest: It Is Kindness That Counts
A psychologist probes how altruism, Darwinism and neurobiology mean that we can succeed by not being cutthroat.
Dacher Keltner, director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory, investigates these questions from multiple angles, and often generates results that are both surprising and challenging. In his new book, Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Keltner weaves together scientific findings with personal narrative to uncover the innate power of human emotion to connect people with each other, which he argues is the path to living the good life. Keltner was kind enough to take some time out to discuss altruism, Darwinism, neurobiology and practical applications of his findings with David DiSalvo.
Born to Be Good is something less than the subtitle (The Science of a Meaningful Life) suggests. More accurately, it covers the science of certain selected emotions and, more narrowly still, primarily the research of certain psychologists, bolstered by a bit of neuroscience. Most specifically, it focuses in large part (although not exclusively) on the work of Paul Ekman (the author's mentor) and the research of Keltner himself (along with his students).
Darwin himself observed that sympathetic communities are more likely to produce healthier offspring than cruel ones. Human history shows that compassion always pulls through in times of war. And new studies of our body's physiology show that caretaking emotions are wired within our nervous systems.
Emotion has often been downplayed, restrained, indeed even belittled, in comparison to intellect. We must suppress emotion and let intellect roam free if we are to discover new things, solve life's riddles, and survive in an increasingly competitive and academic business world. Excitement, it is said, kills. Although true and essential when, say, doing a heart bypass, maneuvering a crippled jetliner into safe landing, or simply driving down the highway, we should not forget that — as the book so plainly states — had it not been for our emotions, we as a species might not be here today.