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: Threshold–The Crisis of Western Culture

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Electoral Reform USA, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Religion & Politics of Religion, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five for the Voice, Four for the Substance

December 12, 2009
Thom Hartmann
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.

The book does cover a lot of ground lightly, but it is coherent, and because it is Thom Hartmann, whose voice is hugely important to all of us, I settle on a five instead of a four. Other books that complement this one include Tom Atlee’s The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All, Jim Rough’s Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People, and The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy.

Here are my notes:

+ Book may be missing pages, mine starts at page xi (Preface) so I am left wondering, what happened to i through x?

+ Book opens with quotes from Einstein and Schweitzer with respect to the urgency of widening our circle of compassion to include ALL living things, and explicitly ALL humanity.

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Review (Guest) DVD: I.O.U.S.A. DVD on US Bankruptcy

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Reviews (DVD Only)
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Amazon Page

David Walker (Peter G. Peterson Foundation), Bob Bixby (Concord Coalition) Director: Patrick Creadon

Product Description: America is on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.   Over 125 minutes of bonus materials, including exclusive interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan and others.

Phi Beta Iota:  Walker was Comptroller General and briefed Senate in 2007 on bankruptcy.  He resigned in the 9th year of a 15 year term.  Peterson, his sponsor, is the author of Running on Empty–How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About I.

5 stars an outstanding and informative film, April 22, 2009

By Matthew G. Sherwin

I.O.U.S.A. educates people about the very real and very dangerous financial problems our government is facing. The producers of the film pull no punches here and they don’t sugar-coat it; and that was the right thing to do. The way Americans live today is essentially “living for the moment” without thinking of the importance of saving money for a rainy day; and the film goes into great, great detail highlighting that the American government does the same. I will tell you just some of the points made by this movie; although it will seem as if I’ve given it all away I assure you that I haven’t.
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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: 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 Real Global Warming Disaster

6 Star Top 10%, Associations & Foundations, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, History, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Media, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, United Nations & NGOs, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 6 Stars–Could Help Destroy Strong, Gore, & IPCC
December 4, 2009
This is a preliminary review as there are no others. I will spend the week-end creating a timeline, sorting out the good guys and the bad guys, and charting the costs real and projected.

Short version: bad science, bad media, bad politics, bad finance.

Two other books I have reviewed that support this one:
The Resilient Earth: Science, Global Warming and the Fate of Humanity
Global Warming False Alarm: The Bad Science Behind the United Nations’ Assertion that Man-made CO2 Causes Global Warming

This book also helps reinstate Lomborg, whom I am ashamed to say I doubted after he was first denounced (publicly) and then redeemed (quietly) in Denmark. See my reviews of:
The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (Vintage)

I list these–and point to others at the end of this preliminary review–to make the point that this author’s stellar and very complete work with very good notes is the coup de grace–the final bullet in the head of the IPCC, a mercy killing long over-due. [Disclosure: I funded the first three years of the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity that accepts the ten high-level threats to humanity for action, and places climate change within priority #3, Environmental Degradation–we also place a very high priority on clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability of effort.

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