Review: The Future Is Asian by Parag Khanna

5 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Culture, Research, Diplomacy, Economics, Future, History, Intelligence (Commercial), Public Administration, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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Parag Khanna

5 Stars – Utterly brilliant insights and data, but publisher should have invested in graphics to match

Parag Khanna is for me the single best observer and reporter on the substance of Asia which he takes great pains to point out is not just China (a third of Asia’s population) but includes particularly vast swaths of Russia, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Australia, and Turkey.

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Review (Guest): Margin of Victory by COL Steve Patarcity as Published by Center for Military of Military History

5 Star, Force Structure (Military), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment
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Margin of Victory

“Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern Warfare” by Douglas Macgregor.  Naval Institute Press. 2016, Hardcover, 268 pages, $34.95.

“Margin of Victory” is about change, intelligently and soberly recognizing the need for that change regardless of preconceived notions and the consequences of failing to do so.  Each of the conflicts analyzed by Macgregor, all seemingly unrelated at first glance, center on his repeated premise that victory will depend on lessons learned that will drive accepting change and implementing the hard decisions that must accompany transformation – notably in technology, people, strategy and organization.  While history provides perspective that must be considered, holding on to outmoded concepts or failing to properly leverage what’s been learned will ultimately lead to decisive defeat.

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Review: Skin in the Game – Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Intelligence (Commercial), Misinformation & Propaganda, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb

6 Star – Skin in the Game = Ethics = Sustainable

By the author Black Swan and Anti-Fragility, among many other works, this book is a simplified overview — a capstone work — and the easiest to read.

Skin in the Game is defined by the author as symmetry of risk and reward — in other words, you don’t get to externalize losses to others while reaping the rewards without any personal risk.

That pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with banking, commerce, government, religions, and universities.

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Amazon Kindle: Privatizing Covert Operations – The Most Asinine, Unconstitutional, Unethical Idea of the 21st Century (Trump Revolution Book 20)

Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Kindle

If Mike Pompeo wants to commit virtual suicide and end his prospects of being an effective Secretary of State, three recent articles document his death wish – championship of a rogue intelligence network proposed by Erik Prince and beloved by Oliver North – both arguably ripe for indictment for crimes against humanity. If this asinine, unconstitutional, unethical idea survives the week, the President will not recover.

That such as idea would even be considered suggests to me that Mike Pompeo – the honor graduate of his West Point class – has failed completely to get a grip on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and is disqualified from any other post in the Trump Administration until he does so. It takes brains and balls to get a grip on CIA and through a revitalized CIA, the rest of the US Intelligence Community (IC). Escaping to the Department of State to herd cats and be a cocktail-sipping cookie pusher is a demotion. Pompeo needs to get a grip and demonstrate he can inspire loyalty and competence not just at CIA, but across the IC which does not now serve the President.

KINDLE WITH LINKS: Intelligence for Earth

6 Star Top 10%, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Spiritual), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)

Cover Intelligence for Earth BigRobert Steele’s quite extraordinary book, INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH, is now available in Kindle, which means that the hundreds of links within the book are easily exploitable. There is no one else on the planet that is a former spy, honorary hacker, #1 Amazon review for non-fiction, and the “top gun” for ethical evidence-based decision support to leaders who wish to be ethical and effective.

See Also:

Robert Steele’s Reviews @ Amazon

Robert Steele’s Books

Robert Steele’s Biographies, Profiles, & Production

Review: London – the Information Capital: 100 Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You View the City

5 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Games, Models, & Simulations, Geography & Mapping, Information Society, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Public Administration
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti

5.0 out of 5 stars From coffee table to scientific salon, a worthy offering, November 4, 2014

This is a spectacular offering on multiple fronts. On the low-end, it has got to be the coolest coffee table book around, something that could be usefully offered in every waiting room across London — and hopefully inspire copycats for other cities including Paris and New York and Dubai.

At the high end, the book offers the most current available understanding of just what can be gleaned from “big data” that is available from open databases — one can only imagine the additional value to be had from closed data bases (money movement, for example). And of course we have to persist in our demands that all data and the software and hardware needed to process the data be open source so that it is affordable, interoperable, and scalable.

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Review: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Economics, Intelligence (Commercial), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

C. K. Prahalad

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobel-Level Work Essential to Understanding Our Bright Future, October 29, 2014

Sadly, the author is deceased. I have always considered him a contender for the Nobel Prize.

I am upset with Amazon for not carrying over reviews from past editions — new readers are advised to look up older editions of any books if they wish to take advantage of some of the extraordinary material provided by past reviewers. I will not replicate those other reviews — they are worth finding.

This book review should be read together with my review of Stuart Hart’s Capitalism at the Crossroads: Next Generation Business Strategies for a Post-Crisis World (3rd Edition) which points to several other related books, and Kenichi Ohmae’s book,The Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Borderless World (paperback). All three are published by Wharton School Publishing, which has impressed me enormously with its gifted offerings.

Here’s the math that I was surprised to not see in the book: the top billion people that business focuses on are worth less than a trillion in potential sales. The bottom four billion, with less than $1000 a year in disposable income, are worth four trillion in potential sales.

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Review (Guest): The Open Source Everything Manifesto at Spirituality Today

4 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Future, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Spiritual), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

The Open-Source Everything Manifesto by Robert David Steele

The Open-Source Everything Manifesto is a distillation of author, strategist, analyst, and reformer Robert David Steele life’s work: the transition from top-down secret command and control to a world of bottom-up, consensual, collective decision-making as a means to solve the major crises facing our world today.

The book is intended to be a catalyst for citizen dialog and deliberation, and for inspiring the continued evolution of a nation in which all citizens realize our shared aspiration of direct democracy—informed participatory democracy. Open-Source Everything is a cultural and philosophical concept that is essential to creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for one hundred percent of humanity.

The future of intelligence is not secret, not federal, and not expensive. It is about transparency, truth, and trust among our local to global collective. Only “open” is scalable.

As we strive to recover from the closed world corruption and secrecy that has enabled massive fraud within governments, banks, corporations, and even non-profits and universities, this timely book is a manifesto for liberation—not just open technology, but open everything.

Our Review

The term Open Source refers to universal access to a product or services core design or primary features. Without Open Source there would be no Internet in the way that we currently enjoy it for it is in digital publishing and information sharing that Open Source has been such a powerful force for change.

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Review (Guest): Intelligence for Earth – Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5.0 Stars One visionary’s way out of the Corporate Feudalism/International Conflict trap

By Herbert L Calhoun on April 1, 2014

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.

Continue reading “Review (Guest): Intelligence for Earth – Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability”

Worth a Look: Real-Life Fiction, Spying Outside the Wire and Beyond CIA’s Capabilities

5 Star, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Worth A Look
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Who is fighting the war in Afghanistan? Did you know that 52% of people fighting in Afghanistan are contracted to do so? Contractors operate far beyond the borders of Afghanistan, they operate globally. Real people. Real missions. Real wars.  After the United States was attacked and the President vowed to search and destroy the enemy, the government formed a secret unit comprised of civilians. Paid civilians. Contracted civilians. Many of these people left their jobs, families, and friends to voluntarily serve alongside their military brethren. They did it out of love, passion, and deep patriotism. Declan Collins is one of those men. Just another patriot you have never heard of working to keep America safe. A former member of the US Armed Forces trying to make it in the civilian world as a newlywed, Declan quickly found himself working for one of America’s most secretive organizations. He fit the role of what they needed perfectly. This novel is about what happened after Declan received a mysterious phone call, was paid and given two weeks to get into Afghanistan all the while placing his life on hold to preserve and protect America. Find out about the fighting force rarely ever spoken of, those who were Contracted–America’s Secret Warriors. Inspired by true events.

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Contracted: America’s Terror Trackers takes readers into the very real world of covert and clandestine operations. These operations aren’t always conducted abroad; oftentimes they occur deep inside the United States. Those who conduct these missions are not always government employees. In fact, most of America’s government fails to recognize these patriotic warriors willing to sacrifice everything for this nation. They are contractors. Like Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors, the first of the Contracted trilogy, this novel was inspired by true events, real people, and real operations. It takes readers on a journey with contractor, Declan Collins, who recently returned from operating as an unconventional human intelligence collector in Afghanistan. A severely injured Collins, who refuses to allow his injuries to stop him from protecting America, accepts a challenge to hunt the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization–Hezbollah. With Hezbollah’s global footprint, Declan Collins travels throughout the United States and several locations abroad ranging from Jordan, Jamaica, Mexico, and of course Lebanon as he collects intelligence with hopes to take down the world’s number one evil. What he uncovers through his journey is overly alarming and makes him begin to dig deeper into his own faith as a modern day Christian Crusader.

Berto Jongman: Gray Work – Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy

Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Worth A Look
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

Can be ordered now, releases on 27 May 2014.

Jamie Smith.  Gray Work: Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy (William Morrow, 2014)

Book Description:

An unprecedented, raw, first-hand look into the life of America’s private paramilitary warriors and their highly secretive work around the world. Jamie Smith, a contractor with more than two decades under his belt, has planned and executed hundreds of missions on behalf of government agencies and private industry in some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots.

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

They are elite warriors who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. Jamie Smith knows these men well. Not only is he one of them, but he cofounded one of the most successful private contracting multinational firms in the world. For the first time, he breaks his silence, detailing the ultimate danger and risk of paramilitary operations—both officially government-sanctioned and not. Pulling back the curtain of secrecy, he reveals in very intimate terms exactly what private soldiers do when the government cannot act or take public responsibility.

Combining the thrilling narrative of a riveting international spy thriller with boots-on-the-ground realism, Gray Work follows Smith through his CIA training and career as an operative, his co-founding of and eventual exit from Blackwater, and his creation and direction of his own company. Espionage and assassinations, rescues and renditions, the turbulence of the Arab Spring, the fall of Qadhaffi, the grit and gristle are all here in covert black ops from Syria to Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and beyond.

As the founder and director of Blackwater, Smith’s initial vision has undeniably shaped and transformed a decade of war. He argues that this gray area—and the warriors who occupy the controversial space between public and private—has become an integral element of modern warfare.

Review: Intelligence Collection – How to Plan and Execute Intelligence Collection in Complex Environments

4 Star, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Wayne Michael Hall, Gary Citrenbaum

4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant, Eye-Glazing, 505 Pages of Straight Text, 10 Micro-Slides, December 2, 2013

You could read this book a hundred times and learn something new every time. I have taken off one star because the book is too dense by far, with a tiny handful of graphics (no more than 10) all eye glazers that should have been simplified and printed to a full page — 550 pages, pure text. What needs to happen, plain and simple, is a complete do-over — this book needs to go to 620 pages at least, with 60 added graphics, tables, or lists.

What I love most about this book, and its companion, Intelligence Analysis: How to Think in Complex Environments (Praeger Security International) are the following two attributes:

01: Among all the books I have read on intelligence, these two books are among the most detailed, structured, critical, and relevant I have read. Both books share the same flaws, flaws that superior editing and a graphics team could easily fix for a second edition, which I would strongly recommend. BEFORE the books go to paperback, they need to be redone. As they are now, the books are too overwhelming for 98% of those who might otherwise benefit.

02 Buried within each chapter are absolute gems of blood-letting romping stomping criticism of the US Intelligence Community at every level (tactical to strategic) across every mission area. This book is startling in its depth and breadth of understanding. The authors are articulate but dense, and I dearly hope they will redo both books to make them more accessible to the vastly larger audience that needs this level of detail, but served up as a quiver of “open” chapters instead of one really dense baseball bat that clubs you to death with compounded words.

Although I am troubled by the book’s emphasis on unilateral and largely military-oriented collection (as opposed to making full use of full-spectrum human and open source intelligence (fifteen slices) across the eight tribes and mulitnationally, I whole-heartedly recommend this book for every library on intelligence (decision-support), and I sincerely hope the authors will re-do both books to open them up — more graphics, more white space.

Below, for this particular book, I list the collection contradictions from chapter 4:

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Review: Intelligence Analysis – How to Think in Complex Environments

4 Star, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Wayne Michael Hall and Gary Citrenbaum

4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant, Mind-Glazing, 440 Pages of Straight Text, December 2, 2013

You could read this book a hundred times and learn something new every time. I have taken off one star because the book is too dense by far, with not a single graphic, table, or highlighted anything. 441 pages, pure text. What needs to happen, plain and simple, is a complete do-over — this book needs to go to 500 pages at least, with 60 added graphics, tables, or lists.

What I love most about this book, and its companion, Intelligence Collection: How to Plan and Execute Intelligence Collection in Complex Environments (Praeger Security International) are the following two attributes:

01: Among all the books I have read on intelligence, these two books are among the most detailed, structured, critical, and relevant I have read. Both books share the same flaws, flaws that superior editing and a graphics team could easily fix for a second edition, which I would strongly recommend. BEFORE the books go to paperback, they need to be redone. As they are now, the books are too overwhelming for 98% of those who might otherwise benefit.

02 Buried within each chapter are absolute gems of blood-letting romping stomping criticism of the US Intelligence Community at every level (tactical to strategic) across every mission area. This book is startling in its depth and breadth of understanding. The authors are articulate but dense, and I dearly hope they will redo both books to make them more accessible to the vastly larger audience that needs this level of detail, but served up as a quiver of “open” chapters instead of one really dense baseball bat that clubs you to death with compounded words.

Although I am troubled by the book’s lack of a holistic analytic model, its lack of any reference to true cost economics, and its general avoidance of any discussion of the complexity of the customers for intelligence in the aggregate (the focuses on individual commanders and their needs, not on Whole of Government or Multinational or Eight Tribe collection and analytics), I whole-heartedly recommend this book for every library on intelligence (decision-support), and I sincerely hope the authors will re-do both books to open them up — more graphics, more white space.

Below, for this particular book, I list the chapter headings that are a Master’s course in advanced analytics:

Continue reading “Review: Intelligence Analysis – How to Think in Complex Environments”

Review: On Complexity

7 Star Top 1%, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Environment (Solutions), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Spiritual), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Edgar Morin

7 Stars Life Transformative  Foundation Work for Everything Else

This is a remarkably coherent book about the most important topic for all of us, the matter of complexity and more to the point, thinking about complexity. I certainly recommend it most strongly, along with two other books by the same author that I have reviewed:

Homeland Earth : A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity and the Human Sciences)
Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (Education on the Move)

The Foreword by Alfonso Montuori is easily the equal of the main body by Edgar Morin, and I am totally awed by the mastery demonstrated in Montuori’s synthesis and framing of Morin’s work. I venture to say that I would not have gotten as much from the main body without the structure of the Foreword.

Montuori, always drawing on Morin, emphasizes a number of core concepts that I note down:

01 We must abandon the architectural or machine metaphor that assumes a foundation or base for what is actually a complex complete whole that can be viewed from any point.

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Review: Chinese Industrial Espionage: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernisation

4 Star, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

William C. Hannas , James Mulvenon , Anna B. Puglisi

4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable but not first…., August 12, 2013

See first Chinese Intelligence Operations, and also War by Other Means: Economic Espionage in America as well as a plethora of articles and chapters over the past twenty years.

The Chinese are doing what the Germans, French, and Israelis have been doing, along with the Japanese. See for example the still relevant:

Friendly Spies: How America’s Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets
Robert Maxwell, Israel’s Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul

It is seriously ignorant to complain about their interest in our technology when we are our own worst enemy — corporations keeping technology off the marketplace to milk legacy systems and externalize costs to the public; government ignoring my 1994 letter on the urgency of starting to spend $1 billion a year on cyber-security, cyber-education, and cyber-standards (search for <1994 sounding the alarm source=phibetaiota>), and then of course we have NSA and the Department of Defense being retarded and lazy for the past quarter century, with NSA explicitly refusing to do its assigned duty of protecting US corporate and public communications.

There is not much left to steal in the USA, Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Wall Street financial terrorists have looted us all, and the government not only let them do it, it legalized their crimes and to this day the FBI is a protective service for Wall Street elite. On this point see, for instance:

Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Who Stole the American Dream?
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny

The book should be read by specialists. The general public will be better off reading across my reviews in 98 categories, most easily accessed at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, with each review leading directly back to its respective Amazon page.

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