Review: The Genius of the Beast–A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep Look at Soul of Man, Society, and Capitalism
November 1, 2009
Howard Bloom
I received this book in pre-publication form so as to offer a blurb for the jacket. Below is my take on this book.This book will simultaneously tease your brain, arouse your emotions, and motivate you as it probes deeply into the soul of man, society, and capitalism as the engine of Western civilization.

The author gifts us with a counter-culture manifesto that resurrects the goodness of capitalism while also connecting to the roots of humanity, of the human soul as a microcosm of the soul of society.

Be patient, the first third of this book will amuse, enlighten, & provoke, at which point it will grab you by the throat and shake your fundamental perceptions of life. The author is compelling in both a scientific sense, weaving psychology, biology, economics, and sociology together; and in an artistic sense, delivering theater of the mind, new visions, poetic turns of phrase page after page, and a massive amount of purpose-laden provocative minutia, all of which culminates in blinding flashes of insight that explain the mind-expanding role of circuses, the failure of religion, and the natural cycles of fission and fusion, splintering apart and coming together.

“The future of the human race is hidden in our fantasies.” For me this book was science fiction in reverse, the lucid explanation of how good is bad, bad is good, and above all, the raw fact that every advance of civilization has been an advance of connectivity. The author joins William Greider and John Bogle as one of the moral wise men mentoring capitalism back toward its social purpose: doing well by doing good–satisfying individual natural emotional needs to re-engineer society over and over again.

This book was so important I did a “table” with my notes and then sorted them, here is what I used to create the above “Beyond 6 Stars” review (as I grade it at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog).

TABLE OF NOTES FOR AMAZON REVIEW

10 Needs: Control, Status, Attention, Belonging, Identity, Love, Meaning, Structure, Uplift, Novelty

Blurb: Exercises your brain while probing your soul

Blurb: A story about the goodness of power of mass behavior driven by mass perceptions

Blurb: Broad historical overview, simplified but focused, interesting, and surprising

Blurb: INSIGHT: each advance of civilization is a connectivity leap ahead, from letters of credit to ships to trains to cell phones

Blurb: Packed with titillating minutia, e.g. Illinois had 27 times zones in 1870s

Blurb: Revisionist history that resurrects the goodness of capitalism while also connecting to the roots of humanity, of the human soul as a microcosm of the soul of society

Blurb: Will simultaneously tease your brain, arouse your emotions, and motivate you

Blurb: Counter-culture manifesto

Blurb: An exposition on the inherent value of integrity, fairness, and diversity

Blurb: Be patient, this book will amuse, enlighten, & provoke for the first third, at which point it will grab you by the throat and shake your fundamental perceptions of life

Blurb: Science Fiction in reverse–explains how we got here, how much more we can do

Book Art: Would be good to have illustrations throughout

Book Notes: 695 notes spanning a wide diversity of literatures and historical timeframes

Book Title: Mixed metaphors, change last bit to Restoring the Soul of Humanity

Capitalism: Corporations only use 10% of their available brainpower (ignore labor’s brains)

Capitalism: Superficiality is good because it feeds diversity and exploration

Capitalism: Only Western Civilization truly tolerated protest movements

Capitalism: Capitalism embraces diversity of beliefs and unlike religion, does lift the poor

Capitalism: This book restores the honor of capitalism by reconnecting purpose with profit

Capitalism: Capitalism as savior, liberator, and empowerer of the less blessed

Capitalism: Redefines capitalism as stored fantasy, courage, persistence, even ego

Capitalism: Capitalism is about caring for your flock.

Capitalism: Capitalism is about build and save.

Cities: Cities were the first mega-demonstration of civilized teamwork

Cycle of History: Economic depression can lead to strengthening of central authority

Cycle of History: Natural cycle of centralization then decentralization then centralization again

Cycle of History: Boom and bust is a biological imperative, individual knaves are part of the cycle

Cycle of History: Fusion (come together) versus Fission (split apart) is the natural cycle

Entertainment: Mood-shift salvation

Feelings: Feelings are the means by which we can energize the balance of our brain

Feelings: Trust your emotions and feelings

Glibness: NINJA Loans, Civil War, and who invented peanut butter, commoditization a side effect rather than a goal (see Lionel Tiger, The Manufacture Of Evil: Ethics, Evolution, and the Industrial System

Group IQ: Tea & tea time, coffee & coffee shops, turbo-charged Group IQ

Nature: Two billion years ago bacteria produced oxygen and over-turned the Earth

Nature: Global warming, all that we rail against, is an opportunity for novelty

Nature Human: Core concept: HUGS–must reconnect to one another, end of anomie

Nature Human: Emotions are how we are driven to explore, return, and “gas up” the collective

Nature Social: Crowd madness–loss of ethics–is a social symptom, forgiving of individual rogues

Other Books I recommend:
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
Communitas
Counterculture Through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
Radical Man: The Process of Psycho-Social Development.
Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition

Science Rule 1: Truth at any price

Science Rule 2: Look at what is in front of you as you never have before–in new ways

Symbols: Symbols are abstractions that free mind from instinct and open new pathways

Uniqueness: More stuff in this book that I did not know or had not thought of than any I remember

War: War funds mass idiocy and waste at the same time that it funds innovation on edge

Writer’s Art: Fascinating juxtaposition throughout of human biology and the body social

Writer’s Art: A way to see anew, poetic turns of phrase page after page

Writer’s Art: “Socrates was an walking cuisinart of imported knowledge.”

Writer’s Art: The future of the human race is hidden in our fantasies.

The author’s other two books that I have reviewed:

Global Brain–The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century

The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (Paperback)

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