Review (Guest): The War of Art–Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Consciousness & Social IQ, Cosmos & Destiny, Education (Universities), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Philosophy
Amazon Page

From the Library Journal:  He identifies and explains seven distinct stages of the creative process: discovery and encounter, passion and commitment, crisis and creative frustration, retreat and withdrawal, epiphany and insight, discipline and completion, and responsibility and release. He also develops his view of the three principles of the creative impulse, which include creative courage, being in the right place at the right time, and deepening connections with others.

5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and potentially life-transforming book!, September 10, 2004
Review by Joe Tye
Steven Pressfield

Know the enemy, know yourself, wrote Sun Tzu in his classic The Art of War, and your victory will be certain. For anyone who is stuck at a level below their God-given potential, who can’t seem to get on track to do the things they need to do in order to achieve their most authentic goals, knowing the enemy and knowing yourself are one and the same.

Steve Pressfield’s magnificent little book The War of Art is about being more creative – but more important, it’s also about fulfilling your potential as a human being. To do this, he says, you must overcome Resistance (the “R” is capitalized be Pressfield to represent the fact that it is a very real entity – as real to your authentic Self as Charles Manson or Genghis Khan were to their victims).
Continue reading “Review (Guest): The War of Art–Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

Review: The Monk and the Riddle–The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Economics, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Philosophy, Priorities, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Down to Earth, Absorbing, Perfectly Presented, “Must Read”

October 10, 2010

Randy Komisar with Kent Lineback

I’m putting this book into the 6 Star and Beyond category at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, for two reasons: it has a proper definition of what business should be about–creativity and humanity; and it strives to focus the innovator on passion versus drive, life versus “the kill.”

The book was first published in 2000, and I only get to it now because it was explicitly recommended to me by a Hackers Conference colleague to help me in grappling with my “what next” explorations.

The book impresses from the first page, the opening quote from Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (Oxford World’s Classics) which I might have to read next. It took an enormous amount of creative focus to find this quote, I will just provide the first half here:

Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irrestibly real and attractive to us–for that moment only. Not the fruit of the experience, but experience itself, is the end.

For me, this was perfect prologue, and a have a note shortly into the book, “the zen of advanced information technology leadership.

This is a carefully crafted and elegantly presented book with exactly the right amount of white space, integrated emails, and real-life annecdote, and the bottom line is clear: bet on the vision and take the risk. Go for the big idea that changes the world or at least tries to change the world, do NOT “do” the web play as a path to being rich or anywhere other than being “there.”

Continue reading “Review: The Monk and the Riddle–The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living”

Review: City of Gold–Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Country/Regional, Economics, Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), Leadership, Priorities, Public Administration, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5 Stars and Merits a Sequel

October 1, 2010

Jim Krane

TThe author and I reconnected on LinkedIn and he had the publisher send me a copy of this book. I would not normally have bought it for myself, thinking it a “tourism” or “travel” kind of book, and I would have been very very wrong. The sub-title, “and the Dream of Capitalism,” might better read “Case Study in Emirate Capitalism at Its Best.”

This book starts very early in the history of Dubai, back when it was such a hole that no one even knew it was there or wanted to go anywhere within thousands of miles of it. The early part of the book persuaded me that the author has done some deep, serious, utterly professional and thorough homework, and the books reads easily, with gifted turns of phrase that educate and often inspire.

Putting the book down just now (and recommending the paperback that comes with a second epilogue for 2010) I reminded myself to recommend this book as a case study for both business and public administration graduate courses, as well as recommended reading for undergraduates. I certainly believe the author himself should be invited–and very well paid–to interact with the most serious and gifted of business and public administration adult students, both on and off the record. This book is a GOLD MINE of insights into what worked in an environment where, as the author describes so beautifully, the leadership knew that lawyers are generally worthless and bureaucracies are pathetic things to be dismissed. For that section alone this book goes into the Beyond 5 Stars (6 Stars and Above) and will be so rated at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.

This book will be cataloged there in Capitalism, not just regional or country, in Leadership, and in a number of other categories as well. I have not, in as long as I can recall, had the pleasure of reading a book about a people, a place, a leadership, and a time that is as detailed, as harmonized in the telling, as instructive, and as enjoyable as this one.

The level of detail is EXTRAORDINARY and yet not burdensome. The detail is present as the filigree to the main wall, the story told in well-planned segments. The detail gives life to this book. This book is both educational and inspiring.

I am NOT “down on Dubai” and I don’t think the author is either. In 58 years of travel and 48 years of reading–the last thirty focused on non-fiction, I have not seen any book do a better job of capturing the essence, in detail, of a culture, a place, and a living time.

The book ends with very serious challenges to Dubai being presented in a professional, responsible manner. The leaders of Dubai are clearly extraordinary people with extraordinary sensibilities, and I suspect they will rise to these challenges, not the least of which are spoiled citizens receiving $55,000 a year, and an energy and carbon footprint that could alone take down the Earth if proliferated. But even here, one sees the beauty of Emirate Capitalism as I choose to call it: every building now has to meet the LEEDS standard, and other measures are being put into place. Having said that, one must also recognize that Emirate Capitalism can be brutal to some, a form of robber=baronism, and that now that the world is in an economic decline, Dubai’s leaders are going to have to think twice as boldly, listen to twice as many advisors, and be twice as tough and focused as they have been, if they are to survive.

If you are going to Dubai, if you know anyone at all in Dubai, if you own shares in any company based in Dubai, if you even THINK you might one day fly OVER Dubai, buy and read this book (the paperback, but frankly, although I got the new epilogue in Xerox form, it does not add that much, so for those of us that love hard-copy covers, go with the hard copy and forego the new epilogue, which I am suggesting to the author be put on line so as not to diminish sales of the remaining hard copies.

The author covers the Iran-US and other regional issues well enough, but this is not a book about politics, it is a book about Emirate Capitalism that should be studied for the next century, along with other books that needs to be written about Arab Capitalism as–and if–Arab Capitalism can be inspired by Emirate Capitalism.

This book needs a sequel, perhaps one that expands north and south and brings us all up to date on Emirate Capitalism, Iranian/Persian Capitalism (it does exist), and Arab Capitalism.

As one person cited in the book points out, Dubai is both the most magnificent fastest built marvel of the Earth, and also a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Western engineering ignorant of ecological economics or “true cost” of goods and services. Dubai is an OPPORTUNITY. City of Gold is the opening act–I cannot wait for the sequel. This is “jolly good stuff” and an absolutely riveting read–and not one to be skimmed over, either. This is a serious book for serious people.

I am not going to link to other books here. This book has no peers. Visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog for the 1,600 or so non-fiction books, organized in 98 categories, which provide the backdrop from my praise of this book by this author. Righteous!

Vote and/or Comment on Review

Review: Rethink–A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Information Operations, Information Technology, Intelligence (Commercial), Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars It’s About Context, Business Ecosystems, and IT Impact

September 18, 2010

Ric Merrifield

I bought this book on the recommendation of a colleague whom I have known for twenty years, both of us members of the Silicon Valley Hackers Conference started by Stewart Brand and now managed by Glen Tenney. When I came to buy the book and say all of the very short, very empty, largely negative reviews, I was surprised. Trying to understand this, and having looked up the author’s history, I speculate that a bunch of folks bought this book because of who the author is (Microsoft’s business rethink strategist and innovator), and then did not have the contextual background to appreciate the story line.

Of course the books suffers some from being a book-length expansion of a core idea originally published in the Harvard Business Review, “The Next Revolution in Productivity” (free online at Phi Beta Iota), but from where I sit, 47 of the 53 reviews miss the whole point, and I am not that thrilled with the remaining six, but they did help me.

POINT NUMBER ONE: Businesses are eco-systems within eco-systems. The industrial era has piled up a mish-mash of stovepipes, conflicting chains of command, etcetera etcetera. Until Web 2.0 (I’m working on Web 4.0) there was not much one could do about it, but now Information Technology (IT) has reached a point where it CHANGES EVERYTHING. Bare bone zero sum reviews are a priority.

Continue reading “Review: Rethink–A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation”

Review: Water–The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Complexity & Catastrophe, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Economics, Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), Future, History, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Survival & Sustainment, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars In a class by itself, more to be done

August 29, 2010

Steven Solomon

This book is in a class by itself, and for the US audience, I would recommend The Atlas of Water, Second Edition: Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource, this book, and Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping And The Fate Of America’s Fresh Waters or the more recent Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It as well as When the Rivers Run Dry: Water–The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century and The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink.

For the international audience, this book is a very fine complement–despite lacking visualization and a more interesting lay-out on both water technologies over time and the environmental challenges they generated (with what time lags)–to the top world view books. If you buy only one, Marq de Villier Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource is still the very best single book, followed by Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water now also a DVD Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and the original short book Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit. There are others, you can find my reviews of all water books I have touched at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, under Reviews/Water (middle column far down). All my reviews there lead back to the Amazon page of the respective book.

Continue reading “Review: Water–The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization”

Review: The World Is Open–How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 STAR Wake Up Call for All Educators

August 19, 2010

Curtis J. Bonk

UPDATE 21 Aug 2010 to add two graphics.

I’ve seen educators struggle to herd their faculty cats, hire staff under industrial-era rules, and strive to accommodate students that know more than their professors about anything outside the “teach to test” topic. This is one of three books that I have digested these past ten days, along with Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education and (in galley form) Reflexive Practice: Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World. All three are 6 STAR books, and since I have only given this grade to 99 books out of the 1636, so at 6% of the total, this is saying a lot IMHO. These three books together, along with Don’t Bother Me Mom–I’m Learning!, The Emerging Worldwide Electronic University: Information Age Global Higher Education (Praeger Studi) and my favorite deep books, Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition and Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, comprise a basic library for anyone wishing to develop global strategies for taking any university into the future. Of course there are other great books, but in my limited experience, these are a foundation.

DO NOT READ THIS BOOK without first looking at the web site, and more specifically, the only part of the website that I found to be essential, the sixteen pages of links to every online resource mentioned in the book. Had I done this first, I could have cut my note-taking time in half. As it is, I have created a sixteen page alphabetized list of all the references, and include that in my more robust review of this book at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where I can do things (such as link to my other 80+ education book reviews and include non-Amazon links) that Amazon simply will not allow.

BUY THIS BOOK. It is in my view an essential foundation for any university as well as any lower school or continuing education and training program that desires to increase its effectiveness by a thousand fold while also increasing its global reach by a million fold.

Continue reading “Review: The World Is Open–How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education”