This book makes the jump from 5 stars (generally I don’t bother to review a book if it is not a four or five star read) to 6 stars — my top ten percent — because of the combination of Questions Asked, glorious color graphics, and the total holistic nature of the book — this is easily a PhD thesis in holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering. Indeed, this book could be used as a first-year reference across any humanities and science domain, they would be the better for it.
5.0 out of 5 stars6 Star Synthesis, Starting Point for Anyone Who Wishes to Think Holistically, July 4, 2015
The author taught me most of what I retain in the way of political science fundamentals during our time together at Muhlenberg College, where he was former Chair of the Department of Political Science and an Associate Dean. We had not kept in touch since I left Muhlenberg in 1974, but in 2014 I reached out to him and bought this book immediately upon learning of its existence.
Published in 2003 by the State University of New York Press, this book was evidently not marketed at all, and little noted. That is a sad commentary on our times, because I find that the author has distilled multiple literatures into one coherent presentation, augmented by an original model that tells a vital story beyond Ecological Economics into Ecological Political Economy (in essence, politics), into Ecological Ethics and Ecological Pedagogy, two topics rarely covered by others.
In this book, the author, drawing extensively on his intelligence and military background, has cleanly written an easy to follow book, that outlines a careful course of action for developing a new kind of global information sharing infrastructure. To be headquartered at the UN, this new infrastructure would make it possible for every organization (and through them, everyone) on the globe to share open-source intelligence equally as a free public resource. If it is successful, this new global brain could transform our world from its current insecurity-driven and corrupt corporate dominated lose-lose, economic and conflict trap, into a much revived win-win strategy for bottom-up collective survival in a peaceful and sustainable world economy.
At least that is the theoretical hope and vision. On paper, and in principle, it is a stunningly sexy and attractive vision, one that, should it prove operationally testable and feasible, could indeed have the important side benefit and advantage of creating new bottom-up wealth, energizing the world economy and easing world tensions by reducing mistrust and fear back down to the noise level.
This book can serve in so many ways. For myself, it is an independent confirmation of all that I have been exploring through the minds of others–the 1,800 plus authors whose works I have reviewed here at Amazon. It is a spectacular indictment of the existing educational, intelligence, and research systems that have become so fragmented and wasteful as to be an impediment to progress.
If there’s a single Founding Father of the Open Source movement, Robert D. Steele is it. Everyone else has been playing catchup. And if you don’t know what the Open Source revolution is, you need to read this book. You don’t even need to know why! You need to buy it, read it, and then you’ll *know* why. No other book on Open Source can open your eyes the way this one can. That’s because there’s no potential use of Open Source intelligence that Steele hasn’t anticipated. Collective Intelligence is coming! It’s an unstoppable force. And it will change everything. So if you like to know about things like that in advance, you need to buy this book.
The information age that was created by personal computers was just a kiddie car with a squeaky horn. By comparison, the open source revolution is a freight train. Its potential to change your world is orders of magnitude greater. This is not hyperbole. In fact superlatives can’t begin to express the ground-shaking potential of this next wave of human evolution.
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 for Original, 4 For Density, October 25, 2011
The primary author of this book was closely associated with Dr. Jan Warfield, one of the giants of reflexive practice and cybernetic coherence, along with Dr. Russell Ackoff, and that alone makes this book a special read for me.
Warfield never got the recognition he merited, and George Mason University blew a decade long lead in this area, and today they are still failing to create the integrative and pro-active inter-disciplinary programs that reflect the the wisdom of Buckminster Fuller, Jan Warfield, and Russell Ackoff, among others. I know from personal experience that GMU refused to consider the World Brain Institute and EarthGame, both of which would have made them unique in the world, so I can appreciate to a personal degree how lonely Jan Warfield must have felt there.
Dr. Trachtenberg is a very active but post-presidential presence at George Washington University and in global educational circles. I first read Reflections on Higher Education. Completely different from that first book, which was a well-edited compilation of non-replicative speeches and articles, this book follows his departure from the long-held position as President of George Washington University, and provides seventeen chapters. Uses “Inside the Book” feature to see those in detail.
Along with these two books I recommend at a minimum four others I have also reviewed:
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant Today–Perhaps Still Not Appreciated Today, August 10, 2011
There is nothing in this book that I could disagree with, which instantly marks it as iconoclastic rather than traditional or elitist. This long-serving president spent close to three decades managing two universities, the longest The George Washington University which can legitimately lay claim to being intended by Founding Father George Washington to be a “national” university.
Prior books against which I compare this one include
The book consists of three parts that meld 11 speeches and 2 articles from the 1998-2001 timeframe. This particular book was distributed by the GW Board of Trustees to parents of the incoming GW Class of 2006.
QUOTE (19): “The entire planet is in the process of turning itself into an educational institution, the faculty of which consists of the entire human species.”
This is a very reasonably priced workbook that can also be purchased in bulk (presumably at the standard 50% discount) from the publisher, and I certainly do recommend it as a toolkit for any level–undergraduate to postgraduate to professional–discussion about how to apply holistic analytics to complex problem sets.I rate it as a five for its intended purpose, but absent references to other critical supplements that I link to below, it is a four by which I mean it cannot comprise the sole text for teaching. As an endeavor in systemic thinking and a new tool for teaching systemic thinking, it is a six.Although I am generally hostile to software as a panacea that obscures more than it illuminates (especially if the assumptions buried in the code are flawed), I give the authors the benefit of the doubt, and would seek to integrate their endeavor with those of Medard Gabel, the State of the Future project, and other emerging efforts to create functional hybrid networked governance systems.Ambassador John McDonald provides the foreword, and I pull two quotes from him:QUOTE (vii): The theories are not particularly useful to develop predictive models.
QUOTE (viii): This is the book to prepare for the messy multi-layered, multi-faceted, personal, political real world of applied activism.
5.0 out of 5 stars The doomslayer falls,April 4, 1998
By A Customer
On Sunday, February 8th, psychologist and economist Julian L. Simon succumbed to a heart attack in Maryland. It is difficult to overstate the damage his death will cause the world debate on overpopulation, natural resources, and the environment. Dr. Simon’s prolific and energetic mind gave rise to fourteen books and countless papers and lectures, dedicated to overthrowing the dogma that underlies so much of today’s environmental discourse.
Simon, still considered a maverick after thirty years of relentless data-gathering, impeccable empirical work, and well-thought out conclusions, questioned the unquestionable. He maintained that the earth is in good shape by every conceivable measure, and that the environmental situation continues to improve each year. Every index of human happiness – food prices, net income, infant mortality, life expectancy, disease rates – has steadily improved. He documented those claims with reams of data, culminating in his 1996 tour de force The State of Humanity. It is absolutely comprehensive, and contains enough obscure data to make the most jaded Trivial Pursuit fan squirm (if you ever want to read about the average lower-class Brazilian’s annual starch intake, look no further).