Review (Preliminary): Reflexive Practice–Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Best Practices in Management, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Information Operations, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Leadership, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Officers Call, Public Administration, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

6 Star Plus, a Foundation Work

11 August 2010

Dr. Kent C. Myers et al

In combination with the other books that I am reading this week, the first by David Perkins, Making Learning Whole, the second by Curtis Bonk, The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education, this book I have read in galley form, by Dr. Kent C. Myers [strategist and process historian, a disciple of Russell L. Ackoff] with contributed chapters from a number of other  individuals, gives me hope.  This is an extraordinarily diplomatic and measured book, a book that can nudge even the most recalcitrant of know-it-all stake-holders toward the “aha” experience that what they are doing [doing the wrong things righter] is NOT WORKING  and maybe, just maybe, they should try Reflexive Practice (or at least begin to hire people that think this way).  This is *the* book that could-should lead to the first-ever Secretary General of Education, Intelligence, & Research….IMHO.  The Smart Nation Act: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest, done with Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) was a proponency book.  This book by Dr. Myers et al is a praxis book absolutely up there with the other 6 Star and beyond books that I recommend.  As soon as I receive a printed copy, I will publish a detailed review.

AMAZON HAS THE BOOK ON SALE, $30 off from the list price of $95.  As opposed as I am to the doubling of book prices, this is one book that is easily worth $65, and it is the one book I will be interested in discussing with all comers when I return to NCA in September.

Blurbs at Amazon

“An important book which illuminates, with practical and readable lessons, the path to top performance.”—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

“A quiet but powerful critique of professions and professional education, with a glimpse of how experts could participate in open and engaged dialogue and actually help us adapt our way through today’s crisis.” —Carol R. Hunter, Associate University Librarian, University of Virginia

Publisher’s Product Description

Continue reading “Review (Preliminary): Reflexive Practice–Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World”

Review: Shooting the Truth–The Rise of American Political Documentaries

6 Star Top 10%, 9-11 Truth Books & DVDs, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atlases & State of the World, Atrocities & Genocide, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Communications, Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Culture, DVD - Light, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, History, Impeachment & Treason, Information Society, Iraq, Justice (Failure, Reform), Media, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Both a Tour of Substance, and an Eye Opener for Book People

July 29, 2010

James McEnteer

This is a 6 Star and Beyond book and is so categorized at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where one can browse all 1600+ of my non-fiction reviews sorted into 98 categories and easily found with keywords–I’ve tried for years to get Amazon to give us this functionality and finally created it for my own work.

I was so impressed, so engaged, so absolutely educated by this author that I spent no less than four hours, and it might be as much as six, creating a table of all 120 films that he mentioned, with the directors, the year of release, and hot links. The complete list with hot links is at Phi Beta Iota, and should have been an appendix–I certainly give the list to the author should he wish to post it anywhere.

A few highlights, followed by the complete table of 120 films:

Review: IDENTITY ECONOMICS–How our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Best Practices in Management, Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Economics
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Relevant, Documents New Knowledge, Respects Work of Others
July 6, 2010

George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton

This book is a solid five, and one of those instances when brevity adds value. While I was concerned to see no discussion of “true cost” economics and the book is overly fawning on Goldman Sachs (written before Goldman Sachs was exposed for its multiple fiscal crimes against both investors and governments), the superior References, Notes, and Acknowledgements balanced this out. This work began in 1995.

This is an engrossing book and it immediately overcame my general disdain for economists, most of whom have only recently discovered information asymmetries and most of whom refuse to recognize that corruption in the US government and cheating across the US economy is fully the equivalent of transnational organized crime in cost to society.

Overall I consider this book very useful as both an overview (with most impressive “by name” citation of prior art on every page) and as a critique of conventional economics. This book is an excellent complement to the book I just reviewed, The Hidden Wealth of Nations and will be complemented by the book I will review next week, Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs. See also my review of Nobel-worthy The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.

Core concept: IDENTITY is actualized psychological norms within a social context.

QUOTE (page 8): Identity economics restores human passions and social institutions into economics.”

Continue reading “Review: IDENTITY ECONOMICS–How our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being”

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.”

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

Review: Grand Theft Pentagon–Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Atrocities & Genocide, Budget Process & Politics, Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Economics, Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Iraq, Justice (Failure, Reform), Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Security (Including Immigration), Terrorism & Jihad, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Chapter and Verse But No Footnotes–a Cornerstone Read

 
June 17, 2010

Jeffrey St. Clair

I come late to this book, published in 2005 and consisting of well-organized Op-Eds published in CounterPunch from 2000-2005. My review is primarily for my own benefit (my notes) and those who follow my reviews of non-fiction at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where you can browse categories in a way that Amazon refuses to implement (e.g. see all my reviews on Corruption or on Pathology of Military Power, or on Government Crime, etcetera).

The lack of footnotes troubles me, not because I doubt the details this extraordinary author brings forward (including many details NOT covered by the 1,600 books I have reviewed, many centered on this very topic), but because I believe the author’s body of work would be enhanced if he included footnotes–I would go so far as to respectfully suggest that he write and publish on his personal blog the version with footnotes and links, and then publish the “clean” version at CounterPunch with a link to the notes version.

The best thing I can say about this specific book is that regardless of how many other books you might have read (I list ten suggestions with links at the end of this review), this book has details the other books do not have. It is a must read, and most especially so in the aftermath of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meeting with Lockheed and other CEO’s to assure them that the money will keep on coming–I was utterly stunned when I read that, and realize that for all of his intelligence, Robert Gates has zero interest in actually defending America–he’s the Chief Thief. As he attempts to place Jim Clapper in the position as Director of National Intelligence, which oversees $75 billion a year in waste, I can only shake my head–Chief Thief and Mini-Me Thief. It is time the American people, led by Grover Norquist, leader of Americans for Tax Reform, to engaged in a massive tax revolt that redirects all tax revenue to local banks, in escrow for local needs. The Federal Government is OUT OF CONTROL.

As I look over the titles of the 33 Op Ed pieces, I have two thoughts: first, that this really is a spectacular collection of thoughful public interest criticism, very well organized; and second, that this same book could be written about every Cabinet Department, every State Governor, every Mayor across America. We have institutionalized looting in ways that even the most corrupt countries such as Guatemala have not even begun to exploit. The federal government is full of good, well-intentioned people, but it is also managed and manipulated by an elite that considers our tax dollars their privilege to spend, and that has to end.

Especially interesting to me were details on the Bush Family, including worthless relatives that helped companies climb to billions in revenue; details about George Bush Junior that were known before he ran for President but not properly presented to the public; details over the entire book on the treasonous displacement of uniformed personnel by contractors; technical exposes of specific mobility and weapons systems; and the over all DETAILED, balanced presentation of public intelligence in the public interest.

Here are ten other books I recommend to complement this one (if my reviews are buried at Amazon, they are easy to find at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, all with links there back to Amazon’s page for the book, and to my review at Amazon as well so you can harvest comments if any, and/or vote.

War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier
Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats That Won World War II
Defense Facts of Life: The Plans/Reality Mismatch
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies
The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050
The Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America
Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency

I do not link to my own books, including ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World, as they are easy to find and also available free online. The bottom line is that Obama sold out to play Bush in black-face, with zero change in the constant treason that has characterized the Executive and Legislative Branches since at least the 1990’s when Newt Gingrich destroyed bi-partisan comity and Bill Clinton inhaled the vapors of Wall Street.

America needs both a tax revolt, and an honest Director of National Intelligence (DNI) able to create a Smart Nation in which we harness our collective intelligence and simultaneously ressurect national education and integrity; national research and integrity; and of course national decision-support (intelligence) and integrity. That alone will bury the current corruption because any DNI smart enough to do that will also be smart enough to tell Congress that intelligence and Whole of Government reform can be job and revenue neutral from state to state and district to district.

Review (DVD): Unthinkable

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Atrocities & Genocide, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Crime (Government), Democracy, Diplomacy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Reviews (DVD Only), Secession & Nullification, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Security (Including Immigration), Survival & Sustainment, Terrorism & Jihad, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen Director: Gregor Jordan

And Carrie-Anne Moss (Amazon stinks at listing all authors and actors)

5.0 out of 5 stars

Astonishing–Riveting–Thought Provoking–Beyond Five Stars

May 28, 2010

EDIT of 27 August 2010: The Intelligence Science Board, the top advisory board to the Director of National Intelligence, has just come out with firm documented conclusions against coercive interviewing and absolutely demanding non-coercive interviewing. People like Col stuart Harrington and I have known this for decades, but it is nice to have the following (full links at Phi Beta Iota):

The ISB study notably dissected the “ticking time bomb” scenario that is often portrayed in television thrillers (and which has “captured the public imagination”). The authors patiently explained why that hypothetical scenario is not a sensible guide to interrogation policy or a justification for torture. Moral considerations aside, the ISB report said, coercive interrogation may produce unreliable results, foster increased resistance, and preclude the discovery of unsuspected intelligence information of value (pp. 40-42).

Bottom line: all of you that hate this review (shoot the messenger) have the best of intentions but you have absolutely no clue about real-life. Intelligence, not ideology, should be restoring America the Beautiful. That will not happen until We the People wake up and recognize that there is a two-party tryanny owned and operated by Wall Street, and we are being treated as expendable pigs.

Edit of 28 June 2010: the voting on this review appears to mirror the divide in America between left of center and right of center, with no dialog. I encourage a dialog in the comments section and will respond on a daily basis. The world is NOT “win-lose,” it is only “lose-lose” or “win-win” or what one author calls “Non-Zero.” We can either die as a species, or live as a species, there is no “eugenics” possible as much as Henry Kissinger (who can never return to France) might like the term. There is only one “we.” What we lack right now is educated leaders with open minds who have integrity. This topic–torture–and this review–against torture of Americans by Americans–and these votes–American against American–are a window into our soul and what I am seeing is no basis for happiness.

– – – – – – –

I am 57 years old, been a spy, did Viet-Nam (63-67) as the son of an oil man going through ten coups d’etat, did El Salvador where I was personally threatened with assassination by the guys running the country who did not like me talking to leftists, and so on. I am also one of the handful of Americans who signed the letter to Senator John “POWS in VN? What POWs” McCain against torture. The thousand five hundred non-fiction reviews I have done all serve as a foundation for saying that this movie is a MUST SEE for every American.

For some time now I have felt that the US Government is out of touch with the American public, out of touch with reality, and out of touch with ethics. Ethics is a really important word that has been central to my life these past twenty years as I along with a number of others have realized that most of what the US Government does in the way of both secret intelligence and global military operations is unethical, unprofessional, unrealistic, predatory, and generally a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

This movie is not like Sum of All Fears or Live Free or Die Hard (Unrated Edition) or any of the other good guys win in the end movies. This movie focuses on our soul as seen in torture, and it very ably calls into question the idiocy of US foreign policy these past fifty years.

Continue reading “Review (DVD): Unthinkable”