Review: The Hidden Wealth of Nations

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Education (General), Education (Universities), Games, Models, & Simulations, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Security (Including Immigration), Survival & Sustainment, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5 Stars, a Cornerstone Book, Most Extraordinary Strategic Depth
June 30, 2010

David Halpern

Amazon has recently been allowing longer reviews by inserting a “Read More” line and I hope this entire review is allowed to stand. It will also be posted to Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, with links back to Amazon.

This is a Beyond Five Stars book. Although there is a fine literature emerging on collective intelligence and wealth of networks–and there is an increasingly robust Open Money movement that also includes local communities currencies that keep the wealth local–this book does something no other book has done–it connects economics to humanity and reality and the intangibles in all their forms.

This is not a book about underground economies, barter systems, alternative currencies, etcetera. It is one of the most profoundly relevant, erudite yet easy to read books I have ever read, with a direct bearing on every aspect of human life, and in particular the role of government as it should be.

The author specifically quantifies the financial and intangible value of “getting along” and being part of deep interconnections that define, drive, and develop (or not) the hidden wealth of nations.

The author has provided an extraordinarily well-organized book with a well-presented series of chapters that left me with so many flyleaf notes I fear I will not do the author and the intellectual tour de force he has provided, quite enough justice. Buy and read the book. Tell elected and appointed leaders about it–or send them a copy of this review. [I am stunned that there are no other reviews as this book was published in 2009.]

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Review: Why Don’t Students Like School–A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

4 Star, Education (General), Information Society, Intelligence (Public)
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Major Contribution, Itself a Bit Turgid, Easily in the Dirty Dozen MUST READS

June 30, 2010

Daniel T. Willingham

I struggled a bit with this book, which is ably and logically presented but does not tell a story as much as it delivers a lecture piece by piece. No doubt my own limitations in play, but this book is so important that I would recommend the publisher sponsor a very small round table including the authors or intellectual sponsors of such books as the five below, with a view to creating a new version of this book that is holistic and actionable on a much larger canvas. Without having read these other books listed below, I would not have appreciated this one as much.

The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace

Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

The Creation of the Future: The Role of the American University

Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics

CONSILIENCE. THE UNITY OF KNOWLEDGE.

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Review: The Politics of Happiness–What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being

4 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Best Practices in Management, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Disease & Health, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Electoral Reform USA, Environment (Solutions), Future, Intelligence (Public), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Righteous, Mis-Leading Title

June 20, 2010

Derek Bok

First off, I’m back. After three months integrating into a field position with a prominent international organization, with three days off the whole time, I am finally able to get back to reading, and have about fifteen books on water I was going to read for UNESCO but will now read and review for myself. Look for two reviews a week from this point on, absent another tri-fecta (volcano, storm, minor coup).

This book is the first of three books that I am reviewing this week, the other two are The Hidden Wealth of Nations, which will be a five, and Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being, probably a five as well, but I continue to be stunned as how people limit their references to the last 10 years when so much has been done that is relevant in the last 50.

This book is not about the politics of happiness. It is more about the possibilities of public administration of happiness.

This will be a long review–apart from the author being one of a handful to truly top-notch minds with a historical memory, the topic is important–much more important than I realized until I starting following unconventional economics (ecological economics, true cost, bio-mimicry, sustainable design, human development and non-financial wealth).

The author opens with Bhutan and its Gross National Happiness (GNH) concept, with four pillars (good governance, stable-equitable social development, environmental protection, preservation of culture). Elsewhere (on the web) I learn that the 72 indicators are divided into nine domains (time use, living standards, good governance, psychological wellbeing, community vitality, culture, health, education, and ecology).

From there the author moves to the 1800’s and Jeremy Bentham, and of course our own Founding Fathers who included “the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. As I have commented before in reviewing other books such as 1776; What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States, and The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country, happiness in those days was interpreted as fulfillment, “be all you can be,” not frivolous joy of “excessive laughter.”

The author identifies and discusses six factors pertinent to happiness in the US context as he defines it: Marriage; Social Relationships; Employment (wherein trust in management is VASTLY more important than the paycheck); Perceived Health; Religion (in sense of community not dogma) and Quality of Government (as which point I am reminded of George Will’s superb Statecraft as Soulcraft; Quality of government is further divided into Rule of Law, Efficient Government, Low Violence and Corruption; High Degree of Trust in Public Officials and Especially Police; and Responsive Encounters by Citizens with Government.

Note: 30 million in US population are “not too happy.”

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