Review: The Zero Marginal Cost Society

3 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Capitalism (Good & Bad), Economics, Education (General), Information Society
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Amazon Page

Jeremy Rifkin

3.0 out of 5 stars Never Mind the Total Cost Terminal Society, April 13, 2014

Books like this would make me crazy if I took them seriously. This is a fad book for shallow minds that have no clue about holistic analytics, true cost economics, or anything remotely resembling the humanities (which is to say, the preservation of the good from one generation to the next). This book is the singularity cult on crack. Buy the book, by all means, to understand how seriously stupid is now in vogue.

There are some clever (which is to say, fad of the day) observations in this book but they vary from wrong (MOOCs have a 4% completion rate and are absolutely useless to 90% or more of the five billion poor who do not have the time to do MOOCs) to incomplete — who crowd sources against corruption and waste? Part of the answer is in this book, but no more than 20%. I’ve raised the book from one to three stars on a second pass, but I am still irritated.

The one place where Rifkin and I are 100% in harmony is on free energy…but he pulls his punches. Free energy is here now but the “system” is intent on keeping energy expensive and the 99% in rentier status. To truly understand the alternative energies now in hand, there is no book available, but if you search for Sepp Hasslberger @ Phi Beta Iota you will be on the bleeding edge of intelligence with integrity on this one topic that is so vital to all of us.

Marginal Cost is the cost at scale after all the FIXED COSTS (little things like water, fuel, child labor, tax avoidance, imposed disease) have been “accounted for.” The problem with Rifkin’s book, which would be a great riff at a late night show where everyone is smashed beyond cognition, is that it discounts reality by 99%. This book is the epitome of what Dr. Russell Ackoff would call “doing the wrong things righter instead of the right thing.

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Review: Guinea Pig B – The 56 Year Experiment

6 Star Top 10%, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Education (General), Future, Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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Amazon Page

Buckminster Fuller

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Starting Point for Life Work of a “First Thinker”, March 21, 2014

I’ve read a number of books by Buckminster Fuller, but it was not until this one that I realized he is the only person that writes longer sentences than I do. He is also, as his daughter notes in the preface, a man who uses words with great precision, and invents words when he is certain none already exist. So many words in fact, that he has his own dictionary, Synergetics Dictionary, the Mind of Buckminster Fuller: With an Introduction and Appendices (4 Vols.).

I drew three big ideas from this slim volume:

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Worth A Look: Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will

5 Star, Education (General)
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Amazon Page

It’s no secret that college doesn’t prepare students for the real world. Student loan debt recently eclipsed credit card debt for the first time in history and now tops one trillion dollars. And the throngs of unemployed graduates chasing the same jobs makes us wonder whether there’s a better way to “make it” in today’s marketplace.

There is—and Dale Stephens is proof of that. In Hacking Your Education, Stephens speaks to a new culture of “hackademics” who think college diplomas are antiquated. Stephens shows how he and dozens of others have hacked their education, and how you can, too. You don’t need to be a genius or especially motivated to succeed outside school. The real requirements are much simpler: curiosity, confidence, and grit.

Hacking Your Education offers valuable advice to current students as well as those who decided to skip college. Stephens teaches you to create opportunities for yourself and design your curriculum—inside or outside the classroom. Whether your dream is to travel the world, build a startup, or climb the corporate ladder, Stephens proves you can do it now, rather than waiting for life to start after “graduation” day.

Author Biography

At 20, Dale Stephens founded UnCollege.org because we’re paying too much for college and learning too little. It’s no secret that college doesn’t prepare students for the real world. Student loan debt recently eclipsed credit card debt for the first time in history and now tops 1 trillion dollars. And the throngs of unemployed graduates chasing the same jobs makes us wonder whether there’s a better way to “make it” in today’s marketplace.Stephens is a sought-after education expert appearing on major news networks including CNN, ABC, NPR, CBS, Fox, and TechCrunch. His work has been covered by the New York Times and New York Magazine to Fast Company and Forbes.

Stephens’ interest in education comes from his background in unschooling, the self-directed form of homeschooling with which he was raised. He left school at age eleven and self-educated instead of going to middle and high school.

He has spoken around the world at high-profile events, from debating Vivek Wadhwa onstage at TED 2012 to lecturing at the New York Times to speaking to C-level executives at NBC Universal. He works frequently with universities who realize their model of education must change to survive in the 21st century.

In May 2011 Stephens was selected out of hundreds of individuals around the world as a Thiel Fellow, a program recognizing the top twenty-four entrepreneurs around the world under the age of twenty. In addition to leading UnCollege, Stephens advises education and technology companies.

Review (Guest): The House of Wisdom – How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization

5 Star, Country/Regional, Education (General), History, Information Society, Religion & Politics of Religion, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Amazon Page

Jonathan Lyons

5.0 out of 5 stars A Few Inconvenient Details about Western History, October 29, 2013

Herbert L. Calhoun

For centuries after the fall of Rome, Western Europe was unaccountably still locked in the dark ages, a period referred to as “dark” for good reasons. Despite the rich intellectual heritage from both Greece and Rome, it is not well known that little of it had seeped into the medieval feudal and violence-torn Western European veins before the thirteenth century. Even less well known is that what little did seep in came by way of the rich history and cultural institutions of the Arab dominated Near East, a region that drunk the intellectual wines of both Greece and Rome nearly a millennium earlier than the West did.

Although Western Europeans were ever ready to fight each other, most of them could not read, write or tell time. There were only a handful of libraries. Neither streets nor people had unique names or numbers. Violence and instability were the order of the day. Even as the Kingdom and the Catholic Church viciously vied for power, Europe was essentially a region being run by “outlaws,” the equivalent of petty warlords that we see today in places like Afghanistan.

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Review: Lee Camp Moment of Clarity – The rantings of a stark raving sane man

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Education (General), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Amazon Page

Lee Camp

5.0 out of 5 stars SIX Stars — A National Enema with Champagne, October 17, 2013

Ten percent of the books I have reviewed here at Amazon make it into my six star group. This is such a book. I have been a fan of Lee Camp’s outrageously spirited, funny, and profane social commentaries for years, through his videos. This book was given to me as a gift, and I have been laughing all morning with occasional tears of sadness for society.

Amazon’s Look Inside the Book provides the Table of Contents, look at that if you have any doubt.

HUGE PLUS: Each short chapter has the YouTube URL at the top. Amazon also sells two audios for Lee, great for the car, but personally I value the combination of Lee’s face and live delivery with his words, for now found only on YouTube.

The subtitle says it all: Lee is a stark raving sane man. Others have compared him to Carlin, I would go a step further, Lee is Carlin with class (smile). He’s like a giant-sized Irish elf armed with an intelligence flame thrower capable of skewering any lie, any pretense, any crime against humanity — his book covers most of them.

I would certainly like to see a Lee Camp: The Movie but until that comes available, this book is a sane person’s salvation. We who are sane are labeled crazy by the 1% and the sheep that listen to the 1%, this book is life-affirming, mind-altering, soul-strengthening righteous good stuff.

God Bless Lee, God Bless America, and as Winston Churchill once said, NEVER GIVE UP.

Radical idea: buy as many of these books as you can, and either put the books in toilets where the willing might still be saved, or cut the spine off and sprinkle Lee’s individual stories around. This book is pixie dust for humanity.

Ten books, none funny, that reinforce Lee’s sanity parade:

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