Review: The Second Self–Computers and the Human Spirit

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Early Look at Hackers with “The Right Stuff”,

April 7, 2000
Sherry Turkle
This is “the” book that described the true origin of “hacking” as in “pushing the edge of the envelope” by writing a complex program in six lines of code instead of ten. This is a really superior piece of work about computer cultures and the people that belong to them. It is a wonderfully readable book with magnificent insights into the psychology of the young people at the bleeding edge of the computer frontier.

Update of 31 May 08 to add links:
THE HACKER CRACKDOWN: LAW AND DISORDER ON THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
Information Payoff: The Transformation of Work in the Electronic Age
Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace (Helix Books)
The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do For Us
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

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Review: Consilience–the Unity of Knowledge

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Information Operations, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Science & Politics of Science, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating World Brain and the Virtual Intelligence Community
April 7, 2000
E. O. Wilson
EDITED 9 July 2007 to add comment and links to other books.

Comment: This is still one of the best books for someone who wants to think deeply about knowledge. Below are links to some others I recommend.

Our answer to Levy, but an order of magnitude more practical and steeped in some of the best endnotes I’ve ever enjoyed. Consilience is the “jumping together” of knowledge across boundaries, and the greatest enterprise of the mind. He begins with an example, showing how biology, ethics, social science, and environmental policy must all come together to properly resolve a global environmental issue, but actually do not-the learned individuals are fragmented into four separate communities, and within those communities further fragmented into nationalities and cliques and jobs, and it is our greater loss for we cannot arrive at the best policy without being able to integrate the knowledge across all these boundaries. He emphasizes that the public must be educated and have access to this unified knowledge, not just the policymakers. He poses, and then answers across the book, this question: “What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important to human welfare?” In my own mind, Edward O. Wilson has defined both national and global intelligence writ large, and done so in way that suggests the “virtual intelligence community” is a very practical and achievable vision.

The Future of Life
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives
Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century
Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era
The Age of Missing Information
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography
Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
Information Productivity: Assessing Information Management Costs of U. S. Corporations

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Review: Power/Knowledge–Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977

5 Star, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Information Society, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Misinformation & Propaganda, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Tough Read, Worth the Trouble,

April 7, 2000
Michel Foucault
Some serious food for thought here. Not only is the power to define madness, criminality, and sexuality addressed, but also the active use of criminals, and sex, to suppress and subjugate the populace. Somewhat more difficult to wade through but similar to Norman Cousins, it helped provoke my thinking on how top-down unilateral command based on secrets is inevitably going to give way to bottom-up multicultural decision-making by the people based on open sources evenly shared across networks. This is really very heavy stuff, and it helps call into question the “rationality” of both the Washington-based national security policymaking process, and the “rationality” of spending $30 billion a year on secrets in contrast to what that $30 billion a year might buy in terms of openly-available insights and overt information peacekeeping.
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Review: Out of Control–The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Environment (Solutions), Future, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Decade Ahead of His Time–Absolutely Brilliant,

April 7, 2000
Kevin Kelly
Kevin, a WIRED Magazine editor who spoke, with Stewart Brand, at OSS ’94, has produced what I regard as one of the top five books of this decade. A very tough read but worth the effort. I had not understood the entire theory of co-evolution developed by Stewart Brand and represented in the Co-Evolution Quarterly and The Whole Earth until I read this book. Kevin introduces the concept of the “hive mind”, addresses how biological systems handle complexity, moves over into industrial ecology and network economics, and concludes with many inspiring reflections on the convergence of biological and technical systems. He was easily a decade if not two ahead of his time.
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Review: Collective Intelligence–Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Personal, Social, and Knowledge Space,

April 7, 2000
Pierre Levy
This dude is a heavy hitter, and it says a lot that this one made it over the water from the French original. Clearly a modern day successor to Jacques Ellul (The Technological Society) and before him Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Levy begins with the premise that the prosperity of any nation or other entity depends on their ability to navigate the knowledge space, and the corollary proposition that the knowledge space will displace the spaces of the (natural) earth, (political) territory, or (economic) commodity. He is acutely conscious of the evil of power, and hopes that collective intelligence will negate such power. He ends with a warning regarding our construction of the ultimate labyrinth, cyberspace, where we must refine the architecture in support of freedom, or lose control of cyberspace to power and the evil that power brings with it.
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Review: In the Absence of the Sacred–The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Complexity & Catastrophe, Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Culture, Research, Information Society, Information Technology

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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary, Thoughtful, Whole Earthish, Worthy,

April 7, 2000
Jerry Mander
By the author of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, this is actually a manifesto for a popular revolution against banks, corporations, and states-a peaceful cultural revolution that has as its objectives the restoration of land ownership to the commonwealth; the acceptance of alternative economic models that optimize group cohesion instead of individual or organizational profit; and the liberation of 3,000 nations of relatively distinct groups from the subjugation imposed by the states that now have sovereign (that is to say, violent coercive) power over the individuals and groups that fall within their imposed territorial claims.
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Review: The Age of Missing Information

5 Star, Censorship & Denial of Access, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Information Society

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5.0 out of 5 stars Information is not a substitute for nature–or for thinking,

April 7, 2000
Bill McKibben
The author taped all the TV shows being broadcast for 24 hours, then watched all of the shows over the necessary time period, and then spend 24 hours alone with nature. There are some well-thought and well-articulated insights in this book. Information is not a substitute for nature. The information explosion is drowning our senses and cutting us off from more fundamental information about our limitations and the limitations of the world around us. Television really did kill history, in that it continually celebrates and rehashes the 40 years of time for which there is television film on background, and overlooks the 4000 years behind that. The worst disasters move slowly, and the TV cameras don’t see them.
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Review: Thinking in Time–The Uses of History for Decision-Makers

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Consciousness & Social IQ, Education (General), History, Information Operations

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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, Useful Guide to Presenting Intelligence to Policy,

April 7, 2000
Richard E. Neustadt
This book is an essential point of reference for understanding the analogies and other devices that decision makers use to evaluate information.The bottom line is both straight-forward and scary: policymakers see everything in terms of their own (usually limited and largely domestic) historical experiences, and they interpret what they are given by intelligence professionals in the context of their own personal perspectives.

This has several implications, and I regard this book as one of perhaps five that are long-term essential building blocks for the new craft of analytic tradecraft being devised by the CIA’s Kent Center and Jack Davis:

1) Intelligence is remedial education for policymakers. There is no getting around this. While the authors are much more diplomatic than I could ever be, the raw fact is that most policy makers are very loosely-educated and generally do not have a high-quality international affairs education or substantive experience dealing with foreign affairs or even national affairs. They are local lawyers, businessmen, “friends of the President,” etcetera.

2) Objective, internationalist intelligence will always be in conflict with subjective, domestic politics unless–and this is the other new theme just now emerging, years after the author’s published their work–there is a public intelligence community and the citizen-voters are receiving sufficiently compelling intelligence they can use to demand and vote for early and thoughtful action instead of in extremis reaction.

3) The book breaks new ground in establishing the importance of history, not only for drawing intelligence conclusions (understanding ethnic conflict, for example, is best done in the context of 200+ years of prior history), but for translating, converting, interpreting foreign events, threats, and opportunities in domestic historical terms that can be more easily absorbed by very busy policymakers.

I do not mean to suggest that the authors are condescending. Far from it. They take a very difficult and complex matter, that of speaking truth to power about foreign issues, and offer it up in a very sensible and understandable form.

The best of the students using this book for coursework will understand that it is a “keeper,” of lasting value as a future reference, worth returning to from year to year for a refresher on the value of history in both understanding and communicating.

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Review: Things That Make Us Smart–Defending Human Attributes In The Age Of The Machine

5 Star, Consciousness & Social IQ, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum)

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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Human-Centered, Laments Loss of Reflective Skills,

April 7, 2000
Donald A. Norman

Technology can make us smart. Or stupid. It can liberate. Or enslave. Norman joins a select group of thinkers advocating a human-centered approach to technology. Inspired (or, more accurately, depressed) by Jerry Mander, he wrote this book to examine the differences between humans and machines, and to establish some ground rules for policy that protected the one and leveraged the other. Norman notes that when technology is not designed from a human-centered point of view, it produces accidents and more often than not the human is blamed. He focuses especially on the distinction between experiential cognition and reflective cognition, and laments that television and entertainment are swamping us with the experiential and not teaching us the reflective. He is concerned that our ever-lengthening chain of technology dependence is forcing us to deal with ever-increasing loads of information at the same time that it weakens our inherent capabilities further. People first, science second, technology as servant.

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Review: Forbidden Knowledge–From Prometheus to Pornography

5 Star, Censorship & Denial of Access, Consciousness & Social IQ, Education (General), Information Society

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5.0 out of 5 stars From Scary to Sacred to Secret–Essential Insights,

April 7, 2000
Roger Shattuck
Beyond the mundane discussions about secrecy versus openness, or privacy versus transparency, there is a much higher level of discussion, one about the nature, limits, and morality of knowledge. As I read this book, originally obtained to put secrecy into perspective, I suddenly grasped and appreciated two of the author’s central thoughts: knowing too much too fast can be dangerous; and yes, there are things we should not know or be exposed to. Who decides? Or How do we the people decide? are questions that must be factored into any national knowledge policy or any national information strategy. This book left me with a sense of both the sacred and the scary sides of unfettered knowledge. This is less about morality and more about focus, intention, and social outcomes. It is about the convergence of power, knowledge, and love to achieve an enlightened intelligence network of self-governing moral people who are able to defend themselves against evil knowledge and prosper by sharing good knowledge.
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Review: Consilience–The Unity of Knowledge

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Creating World Brain and the Virtual Intelligence Community,

April 7, 2000
Edward O. Wilson
EDITED 9 July 2007 to add comment and links to other books.

Comment: This is still one of the best books for someone who wants to think deeply about knowledge. Below are links to some others I recommend.

Our answer to Levy, but an order of magnitude more practical and steeped in some of the best endnotes I’ve ever enjoyed. Consilience is the “jumping together” of knowledge across boundaries, and the greatest enterprise of the mind. He begins with an example, showing how biology, ethics, social science, and environmental policy must all come together to properly resolve a global environmental issue, but actually do not-the learned individuals are fragmented into four separate communities, and within those communities further fragmented into nationalities and cliques and jobs, and it is our greater loss for we cannot arrive at the best policy without being able to integrate the knowledge across all these boundaries. He emphasizes that the public must be educated and have access to this unified knowledge, not just the policymakers. He poses, and then answers across the book, this question: “What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important to human welfare?” In my own mind, Edward O. Wilson has defined both national and global intelligence writ large, and done so in way that suggests the “virtual intelligence community” is a very practical and achievable vision.

The Future of Life
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives
Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century
Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era
The Age of Missing Information
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography
Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
Information Productivity: Assessing Information Management Costs of U. S. Corporations

Vote on Review
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1996: CREATING A SMART NATION: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence & Information

Articles & Chapters, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Education (General), Education (Universities), Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public)
Smart Nation
Smart Nation

“CREATING A SMART NATION: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, & Information,” pp. 77-90.

1996 GIQ 13/2 Creating a Smart Nation: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information

Articles & Chapters, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)
Smart Nation
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“SPECIAL FEATURE: Creating a Smart Nation–Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information,”  pp. 159-173

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