Review: World Brain

5 Star, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Future, History, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Misinformation & Propaganda, Philosophy, Strategy

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5.0 out of 5 stars Updated Edition is Even Better,

May 29, 2000
H. G. Wells
First published in 1938, a modern edition is vastly improved by the addition of a critical introduction by Alan Mayne. Very much focused on how a world-brain might alter national policy-making, how Public Opinion or an “Open Conspiracy” might restore common sense and popular control to arenas previously reserved for an elite. The information functionality of the World Brain easily anticipated the world wide web as it might evolve over the next 20-30 years: comprehensive, up to date, distributed, classification scheme, dynamic, indexes, summaries and surveys, freely available and easily accessible. We have a long way to go, but the framework is there. The communication functions of the world brain would include a highly effective information retrieval system, selective dissemination of information, efficient communication facilities, effective presentation, popular education, public and individual awareness for all issues, and facilitate social networking between organizations, groups, and individuals. The world brain is the “virtual intelligence community” qua noosphere. This is one of the fundamental references for anyone thinking about the future of politics, economics, or social systems.
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Review: The Digital Economy–Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Economics, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology

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5.0 out of 5 stars Focus on Decentralized Human Expertise,

May 29, 2000
Don Tapscott
After demolishing Business Process Reengineering (BPR) as a necessary element of but insufficient substitute for corporate strategy, organizational learning, or reinvention, the author goes on to address twelve themes central to success in an economic environment characterized by networked intelligence: knowledge, digitization, virtualization, molecularization, integration/internetworking, disintermediation, convergence (a big one), innovation, prosumption, immediacy, globalization, and discordance (another big one). He stressed the need for “busting loose from the technology legacy”, the need to dramatically transform both the information management and human resource management concepts and also a turning on its head of how government works-from centralized after the fact “leveling” and gross national security to decentralized, proactive nurturing of individual opportunity before the fact, providing individual security through individual opportunity and prosperity within the network.
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Review: Allen Dulles–Master of Spies

4 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Intelligence (Government/Secret)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Serious Book for Serious Professionals,

May 28, 2000
James Srodes
This is a book that had to be written and needs to be read by those who seek to understand Allen Dulles in greater depth. The author does break new ground and add valuable new detail to the history of Allen Dulles, and his hard work in bringing us this book merits appreciation. Having said that, I confess to three disappointments: 1) the use of years to demarcate the chapters, rather than meaningful titles, is both boring and representative of the book’s lack of presentational “zing”; 2) the book obsesses on Allen Dulles as the center of the earth and leaves out the context within which Dulles achieved his successes-casual references to how he operated two additional French networks, for example, without covering the arduous and detailed path that led to the creation and maintenance of those networks, leave one feeling as if Dulles simply waved a magic wand to create networks whole-bodied and in full force; and 3) the conclusion of the book, purportedly a review of what Allen Dulles would see and feel if he examined today’s intelligence community, is generally on target but rather terse-nothing that one could take to an incoming President to energize him into revitalizing and enhancing our national intelligence community. There are some gems in this book that reflect the author’s dedication and merit notice: Richard Helms reflecting on how America came much too close to losing World War II; Walt Rostow on calming the Kennedy’s and preventing a rash counter-attack once the Bay of Pigs was known to be a disaster-this is the stuff of history, and I therefore heartily recommend this book as a valuable contribution to our understanding of Allen Dulles’ place in history.
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Review: Out of Control–The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Environment (Solutions), Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution

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5.0 out of 5 stars Co-Evolution of Man and Machine,

April 17, 2000
Kevin Kelly
Kevin 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: Corporate Espionage–What It Is, Why It’s Happening in Your Company, What You Must Do About It

4 Star, Crime (Corporate), Intelligence (Commercial)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Insider Threat, and Poor Management = Major Losses,

April 8, 2000
Ira Winkler
Ira, a former National Security Agency professional, made a name for himself in his second career as a corporate electronic security specialist by using a combination of common sense and basic work-arounds to penetrate and download millions if not billions of dollars worth of corporate research and development-always at the company’s request, and generally with astonishing results. From his antics as a “temp” hire gaining access within two days, to his more systematic attacks using all known vulnerabilities including factory-shipped system administrator passwords that were never changed, he has exposed in a very practical way the “naked emperor” status of corporate America.
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Review: Casey–The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey: From the OSS to the CIA

5 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Politics

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5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate story telling with practical value,

April 8, 2000
Joseph E. Persico
Persico has done a wonderful job of capturing Casey’s magnificent complexity and intellectual voraciousness. Oddly enough the best quote in there, part of a really excellent over-all description of why the DO does not succeed, comes from Herb Meyer when he was a special assistant to Casey: “These guys have built a system that shuts them off from any intelligence except what you can steal. These people needed to be reconnected to reality.”
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Review: Searching for the Spirit of Enterprise–Dismantling the Twentieth-Century Corporation Lessons from Asian, European,

4 Star, Best Practices in Management, Consciousness & Social IQ

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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful thoughts on deconstructing companies into cells,

April 8, 2000
Larry C. Farrell

Excellent airplane book. Articulates concerns about business schools that disdain real business, for managers that count money instead of making it, and for governments that are complacent about the lack of an entrepreneurial culture within their business ranks. His general approach is to deconstruct companies into smaller units where the management can be close to the actual value-creation, there are simpler more honest relationships, and there is a combined sense of pride and urgency that increases the momentum and productivity of the group.

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Review: The Fifth Discipline

4 Star, Best Practices in Management

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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Theory, Misses Mark on Identifying Obstacles,

April 8, 2000
Peter M. Senge
Without a shared vision there can be no shifting of minds, no team leaning, no local initiatives consistent with the shared vision, and so on. This is all really great theory.Taking the U.S. Intelligence Community–which failed spectacularly on 9-11 after resisting change for just over a decade–as an example relevant to both business and the public, one can readily see that great theory simply does not translate into relevant action.

Most helpful would be a new edition of this book, but one that places fully half the book’s emphasis on identifying the obstacles to reform and learning, with each obstacle then addressed from both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective.

9-11 demonstrated that the theory of this book is badly needed within the ultimate “learning” community, the U.S. Intelligence Community. Even after 9-11, the leadership of that community refuses to admit it failed, and refuses to propose or acknowledge the substantial changes recommended by over 15 books–a huge critical mass–recommended by the Council on Intelligence. CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations might choose to reflect on how best to combine the lessons from this book, which are valuable, with the lessons from how a $30 billion a year tax-payer funded community can refuse to change.

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Review: Keeping Abreast of Science and Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Intelligence (Commercial), Science & Politics of Science, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean)
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the market for technical business intelligence
April 8, 2000

W. Bradford Ashton (Editor), Richard A. Klavans (Editor)

Dick is a genius, and he and Bradford Ashton have pulled together a number of very fine contributions in this book. Still, they sum it up nicely in the concluding chapter: “The formal practice of developing technical intelligence in American business is only in its infancy.” They have a nice appendix of sources on scientific and technical intelligence that is missing a few big obvious sources like the Canadian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) and the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) as well as the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) and several smaller sources. On balance, this technical intelligence community is, as Bradford notes, in its infancy. It is U.S. centric, does not yet understand operational security and counterintelligence, is weak of cost intelligence, relies too heavily on registered patents, and has too few practical successes stories. Especially troubling is the recent trend within DIA and the Air Force of cutting off all funding for open source exploitation of Chinese and other foreign S&T sources, combined with a dismantling by many corporations of their libraries and most basic market research functions. This book is an essential reference and I admire its authors greatly-sadly, they are part of a small minority that has not yet found its full voice.

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Review: Keeping Abreast of Science and Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business

5 Star, Intelligence (Commercial)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN//ossnet-20
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN//ossnet-20

5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the market for technical business intelligence,

April 8, 2000
W. Bradford Ashton
Dick is a genius, and he and Bradford Ashton have pulled together a number of very fine contributions in this book. Still, they sum it up nicely in the concluding chapter: “The formal practice of developing technical intelligence in American business is only in its infancy.” They have a nice appendix of sources on scientific and technical intelligence that is missing a few big obvious sources like the Canadian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) and the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) as well as the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) and several smaller sources. On balance, this technical intelligence community is, as Bradford notes, in its infancy. It is U.S. centric, does not yet understand operational security and counterintelligence, is weak of cost intelligence, relies too heavily on registered patents, and has too few practical successes stories. Especially troubling is the recent trend within DIA and the Air Force of cutting off all funding for open source exploitation of Chinese and other foreign S&T sources, combined with a dismantling by many corporations of their libraries and most basic market research functions. This book is an essential reference and I admire its authors greatly-sadly, they are part of a small minority that has not yet found its full voice.
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