I sat down intending to make this a five, but the two fluff reviews have to be off-set. Robert Ackoff would say this is a spectacular book about making the wrong things righter instead of the right things righter–too many lawyers and focused on improving a patent approval system that probably needs to be eradicated and the buildings and files plowed under with salt. It also lost one star because I was one of the 4,000 that actually participated in the Open Government experiment, where the legalization of marijuana triumphed and every time someone voted for my governance reform idea, a “monitor” from the partisan correctness office came in and voted against it moving it back down to zero. The author is naive to think this initiative is going anywhere without electoral reform that displaces the two-party tyranny and restores the Constitution, the Article 1 independence of an honest Congress, and integrity of the Executive at the political level. [See especially Chapter 21 in my new book that just went to the printer, INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainaabilty and is free online at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, and my earlier wire-bound book, also free online, 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).
Having said that, I found this book to be spectacularly informative, thoughtful, useful, with extraordinary insights and suggestions that were over-shadowed by the focus on the patent system–suggestions about the-redesign of government, for example. I recommend reading my reviews of SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa and of The Myth of Digital Democracy along with this review, the three books were read together as a set. Below are some quotes and my fly-leaf notes. This book is a foundation stone for righteous change into the future, but only that first stone.
QUOTE (xvi): Done right, it is possible now to achieve greater competence by making good information available for better governance, improve effectiveness by leveraging the available tools to engender new forms of collective action, and strengthen and deepen democracy by creating government by the people, of the people, and *with* the people.
This book educated me. It challenged and soundly negated some of my assumptions, but it also reinforced my view that the Internet at this time is a communications network, not a knowledge network or an action network.
Here is the last paragraph:
“Yet where the Internet has failed to live up to its billing has to do with the most direct kind of political voice. If we consider the ability of ordinary citizens to write things that other people will see, the Internet has fallen far short of the claims that continue to be made about it. It may be easy to speak in cyberspace, but it remains difficult to be heard.”
Totally awesome. This is an impressive piece of work. At Phi Beta Iota I am posting four web diagrams showing top news and political sites and a couple of other things (I no longer post images to Amazon after they removed 354 images as a lazy way of censoring twelve copies of Obama-Bush sharing the same face–I no longer trust Amazon with my work, hence Phi Beta Iota–and a lesson about Internet abuse).
Behind this elegant book is a great deal of hard work with lots of math, lots of elbow grease, and lots of time spent making sense of massive amounts of data. I am totally impressed.
01) Digital divide is not the only divide–Internet is a winner take all environment
02) Liberals predominate online
03) Googlearchy has replaced meritocracy…top ten sites rule, everyone else go fish
04) Pornography and webmail are the two big dogs on the Internet, followed by search engines and a very small news set. In comparison to webmail, news is less than 20%, and in comparison to news, politics is perhaps 1% at best (of news–a tiny tiny fraction of it all).
05) The author does not really get into the deep web, the reality that there are over 75 search engines and Goolge is losing marketshare, or the fact that China and India and Brazil are creeping up and will one day soon hit a vertical rise in their web presence, especially now that kanji and other webname character sets are accepted.
06) The heart of the book, but not the bulk of the book, is about the “missing middle” and the very real fact that ordinary citizens are neither seen nor heard within the Internet overall and within the political chambers of the Internet particularly.
My review does not do this book justice. It is profoundly deeper than my summary above.
Beyond Six Stars–Hugely Important Useful Collection
February 20, 2010
Edited by Sokari Ekine
Contributing authors include Redante Asuncion-Reed, Amanda Atwood, Ken Banks, Chrstinia Charles-Iyoha, Nathan Eagle, Sokari Ekine, Becky Faith, Joshua Goldstein, Christian Kreutz, Anil Naidoo, Berna Ngolobe, Tanya Notley, Juliana Rotich, and Bukeni Wazuri
This book will be rated 6 Stars and Beyond at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where we can do things Amazon refuses to implement here, such as sort useful non-fiction into 98 categories, many of the categories focused on stabilization & reconstruction, pushing back against predatory immoral capitalism, and so on.
When the book was first brought to my attention it was with concern over the price. The price is fair. Indeed, the content in this book is so valuable that I would pay $45 without a second thought. I am especially pleased that the African publishers have been so very professional and assured “Look Inside the Book”–please do click on the book cover above to read the table of contents and other materials.
This is the first collection I have seen on this topic, and although I have been following cell phone and SMS activism every since I and 23 others created the Earth Intelligence Network and put forth the need for a campaign to give the five billion poor free cell phones and educate them “one cell call at a time,” other than UNICEF and Rapid SMS I was not really conscious of bottom-up initiatives and especially so those in Africa where the greatest benefits are to be found.
I strongly recommend this book as a gift for ANYONE. This is potentially a game-changing book, and since I know the depth of ignorance among government policy makers, corporate chief executives, and larger non-governmental and internaitonal organization officials, I can say with assurance that 99% of them simply do not have a clue, and this one little precious book that gives me goose-bumps as I type this, could change the world by providing “higher education” to leaders who might then do more to further the brilliant first steps documented in this book. Continue reading “Review: SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa”
I like the “fireside chat” description of this book and am providing my own summary primarily for my own benefit and the benefit of those that follow all of my non-fiction reviews at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog where all of my reviews, in 98 non-fiction categories, are more easily exploited than here at Amazon (but they all lead back to Amazon.
QUOTE (1): We live in a country where telling the hard truth with clarity has become taboo.
I have two competing views of this book. The first, beyond five stars, is earned by this quote from page 13:
QUOTE: In our history, the greatest patriots have been those leaders and ordinary citizens who have dared to hold America to our own highest standards–even at the cost of ostracism, punishment, imprisonment and, at times–e3ven death.” I would add unemployment to the list–Washington today does NOT want to hear truth about anything at all.
Speak the Truth, Lose the Anger, Be Part of the Whole
February 10, 2010
It took me fifty years to recognize the deficiencies of the command and control or top down elite-dominated model of governance, and to discover the spiritual and practical integrity of collective intelligence, openness, appreciative inquirty, deliberative public dilaog, and so on. It's taken another seven years to discover detachment from outcome, and that in turn set the stage for what I find to be the absolute essence of this book: speaking truth to power is half the battle, losing the anger is the other half. Harder to do than it sounds, this Westernized version of the Bhagavad Gita does help.
Here are the two paragraphs I pulled from page 129 and then 147 for intelligence (decision-support) professionals:
“Those who transcend the gunas are in essence watchers, beyond the worldly. Although constantly aware of the inevitable cycle of birth, disease, senility, grief, and so forth, they dwell above it all, and merely witness it.
My personal take on the above is that sacred dispassion is a prerequisite for both spirtual vision and professional integrity.
“Always tell the truth, Arjuna, and present it in as pleasant a way as possible. If you cannot do that, remain silent. If something absolutely needs to be said, you must uphold the truth, but find a way to do it that is gentle and obliging.”