Review: Who Governs the Globe?

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Deborah Avant, Martha Finnemore, Susan Sell (editors)

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering work too slow to be published,July 24, 2011<

This is a very fine book that is also available free in conference form (search for <Who Governs the Globe conference>), but of course not paginated, formatted, indexed, and generally edited, all values of the book form.

I personally missed this book when it came out, just as I missed two other pioneering works, Global Public Policy: Governing Without Government? in 1998 and Critical Choices. The United Nations, Networks, and the Future of Global Governance in 2000. It was the appointment of Reinicke to be the dean of the school of public policy at the Central European University, and George Soros’ essay “My Philanthropy” (the first 57 pages in The Philanthropy of George Soros: Building Open Societies that focused my attention.

Although I have been a student of revolution my entire life, it was not until 2003 when J. F. Rischard, then Vice President for Europe of the World Bank, published High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them that I started to focus on hybrid governance, and it was in the same year that Dr. Col Max Manwaring edited The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, a book that began my deeper questioning of the lack of authenticity and legitimacy within the U.S. Government.

The book should have been brought to market much sooner–three years in this modern era is very disappointing, especially when combined with the lack of follow-up. The Institute for Global and International Studies appears to have begun winding down in 2009 and its website is a a real disappointment. In brief, the collaboration represented in this book, which is superb, has not been continued. While it does not address the criminal underbelly of what Matt Taibbi calls the blending of finance and government into a massive crime family (see Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America), it is a fine foundation effort that touches on standards, norms, successes, and failures. It does not create a proposed methodology for further research, it does hit on the high points of authority, legitimacy, and accountability–attributes that many governments and corporations and NGO/IOs cannot claim to possess.

Having said that, I consider it to be, along with the books above and a few others, such as A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures: A Workbook for Addressing the Global Problematique, Measuring Evolution, and How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom And Power to Construct the Future (Research in Public Management (Unnumbered).), the tip of the iceberg and an excellent starting point.

Everyone else is writing about governments that do not work, or NGOs that lies, cheat, and steal, or corporations that run amok and are predatory and corrupting. This book taps into norms and standards and possibilities, but it leaves a great deal unsaid, and clearly needs a follow-on volume that integrates academics, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and NGOs/non-profits, with a deliberate focus on how they might strive to achieve what the UN High Level Panel on Coherence called for, the ability of disparate organizations to “deliver as one.” One policy-harmonization option is multinational multiagency multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making (M4IS2), and sadly no one anywhere seems interested in this foundation topic.

With my last remaining link, I will mention Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, a book that was recommended to me by Tom Atlee (see his two books here on Amazon, one on co-creation the other on evolutionary activism). Today’s “system” is corrupt in the extreme, not least because of the information asymmetries between the 1% wealthy and the rest of us. What the book–and the general literature on IO/NGO empowerment with information technologies–do not address is how one achieves shared intelligence (decision support) such that corruption and waste are eradicated, and disparate entities are harmonized into delivering just enough just in time voluntarily–sharing information in real time is the key. If the authors and the Institute can delve into this more deeply, their potential contribution is potentially priceless.

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Jul 24

Review: The Philanthropy of George Soros – Building Open Societies

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UPDATE 30 June to add link to Notes on, and Video of George Soros and Aryeh Neier discussing the theme.  See also his full essay online with comment: George Soros Nails It: Intelligence with Integrity

Chuck Sudetic

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Special–Soros Out-Grows Broken System, June 24, 2011

On its own merits, without the Foreword from George Soros, this book is a solid five. With the most extraordinary Foreword, a Foreword that draws the lines of battle between a totally dysfunctional global governance and financial system of systems all lacking in integrity–where truth is not to be found–and the need for transparency, truth, and trust, the book goes into my top 10%, 6 stars and beyond.

The essay is a *major* part of the book, the first 57 pages out of just over 335. The essay is available free online and is a “must read” item for any person who wishes to be part of restoring the Republic and laying the foundation for creating a prosperous world at peace. Searching for <George Soros My Philanthropy> will lead directly to both the New York Review of Books and the GeorgeSoros.com offerings–select the latter to get the full article without subscription nonsense from the New York Review of Books.

I confess to having lost faith in George Soros–he fell for the Barack Obama Show and wasted a lot of time and money on what ends up being the Goldman Sachs Show–to the point that Goldman Sachs not only continues to own the Secretary of the Treasury, but now has installed its own man in the role of National Security Advisor. The irony does not amuse me.

This essay is phenomenal, and bears on the book at large, because Soros has finally put his finger of the sucking chest wound that I, John Bogle, William Grieder, and most recently Matt Taibbi have been sounding the alarm on: the lack of intelligence and integrity in the system of systems. Soros is halfway there; he is now outside the system looking in, and that is good news for all of us.

“I am looking for novel solutions in order to make an untidy structure manageable.”

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Jun 30

Review: Building Social Business–The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs

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5.0 out of 5 stars 4 in isolation, beyond 6 in context–a cornerstone book

July 14, 2010

Muhammad Yunus and Karl Weber

While I sympathize with those who feel that the book lacks reference to prior art, that social business has been around for a very long time, and that much of the book is somewhat similar to his first book that I also reviewed, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, I am rating this book a five here and a “6 Star & Beyond” at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, for the simple reason that he is not just doing it, but doing it on a global scale, pushing the envelope across all boundaries, and setting the stage for realizing what Nobel-candidate C. K. Prahalad articulates in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.

The Nobel Prize to Yanus was a righteous one–unlike the political idiocy of awards to Al Gore and Barack Obama. I can only hope that the Norwegian public shames its overly political Nobel Committee into getting back on track with awards such as this one.

My friend Howard Bloom has a new book out that complements this one: The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism and of course there are others both recent and past, such as Capitalism at the Crossroads: Next Generation Business Strategies for a Post-Crisis World (3rd Edition).

Three things are changing that make this book a cornerstone book:

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Jul 14

Review: SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa

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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Six Stars–Hugely Important Useful Collection

February 20, 2010

Edited by Sokari Ekine

Contributing authors include Redante Asuncion-Reed, Amanda Atwood, Ken Banks, Chrstinia Charles-Iyoha, Nathan Eagle, Sokari Ekine, Becky Faith, Joshua Goldstein, Christian Kreutz, Anil Naidoo, Berna Ngolobe, Tanya Notley, Juliana Rotich,  and Bukeni Wazuri

This book will be rated 6 Stars and Beyond at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where we can do things Amazon refuses to implement here, such as sort useful non-fiction into 98 categories, many of the categories focused on stabilization & reconstruction, pushing back against predatory immoral capitalism, and so on.

When the book was first brought to my attention it was with concern over the price. The price is fair. Indeed, the content in this book is so valuable that I would pay $45 without a second thought. I am especially pleased that the African publishers have been so very professional and assured “Look Inside the Book”–please do click on the book cover above to read the table of contents and other materials.

This is the first collection I have seen on this topic, and although I have been following cell phone and SMS activism every since I and 23 others created the Earth Intelligence Network and put forth the need for a campaign to give the five billion poor free cell phones and educate them “one cell call at a time,” other than UNICEF and Rapid SMS I was not really conscious of bottom-up initiatives and especially so those in Africa where the greatest benefits are to be found.

I strongly recommend this book as a gift for ANYONE. This is potentially a game-changing book, and since I know the depth of ignorance among government policy makers, corporate chief executives, and larger non-governmental and internaitonal organization officials, I can say with assurance that 99% of them simply do not have a clue, and this one little precious book that gives me goose-bumps as I type this, could change the world by providing “higher education” to leaders who might then do more to further the brilliant first steps documented in this book.
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Feb 20

Review: The Real Global Warming Disaster

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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 6 Stars–Could Help Destroy Strong, Gore, & IPCC
December 4, 2009
This is a preliminary review as there are no others. I will spend the week-end creating a timeline, sorting out the good guys and the bad guys, and charting the costs real and projected.

Short version: bad science, bad media, bad politics, bad finance.

Two other books I have reviewed that support this one:
The Resilient Earth: Science, Global Warming and the Fate of Humanity
Global Warming False Alarm: The Bad Science Behind the United Nations’ Assertion that Man-made CO2 Causes Global Warming

This book also helps reinstate Lomborg, whom I am ashamed to say I doubted after he was first denounced (publicly) and then redeemed (quietly) in Denmark. See my reviews of:
The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (Vintage)

I list these–and point to others at the end of this preliminary review–to make the point that this author’s stellar and very complete work with very good notes is the coup de grace–the final bullet in the head of the IPCC, a mercy killing long over-due. [Disclosure: I funded the first three years of the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity that accepts the ten high-level threats to humanity for action, and places climate change within priority #3, Environmental Degradation–we also place a very high priority on clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability of effort.

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Dec 4

Review: People to People Fundraising–Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities

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P2P FundWeb 1.0 Mindset Waving Web 2.0 Methods, June 29, 2008

Ted Hart

I’ve given this book four stars because if you want to leverage Web 2.0 methods to garner more money for your Web 1.0 “what we think best” programs, then this is the book for you.

In terms of actually creating empowered social networks where the non-profit is a facilitatator, connecting real people with micro-cash to real people with micro-needs, this book is so far back in time as to be next to useless.

Argh! This is the last gasp of the United Way/Red Cross “rip off as many as possible” so we can have our first class tickets and lifestyle and practice trickle down tax-free programs that “we the elite” decide.

There are web sites devoted to micro-connecting and micro-giving, I recommend that individuals avoid giving to any organization that does not offer open books and a complete menu of opportunities to earmark your gift for a specific need from a specific person or household. The animal and child chartities are a bit ahead of the game here, but even this can be disintermediated eventually.

I am reminded of two famous views:

“Criticize by Creating” from Machiavelo, adopted by the Flow Project.

Instead of trying to fix old systems, create new ones that displace them (paraphrase) from Buckminster Fuller.

I must disclose that recently Earth Intelligence Network sent 65 copies of its first book (the last one listed below, also free online) along with a letter of inquiry to the top foundations puporting to be addressing the ten high-level threats to humanity. We received back exactly two serious responses, six postcards blowing us off, and nothing at all from all the others. This has persuaded me that most so-called national foundations are nothing more than tax dodges and golden parachutes for a select few, and it is time we subject them to the same “open books” scrutiny that we plan for corporations and for government at all levels.

For more innovative thinking, see, among many others:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

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Jun 29

Review: Managing the Nonprofit Organization

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Managing Non-ProfitMore ImportantThan Ever as Boundaries Blur, February 2, 2008

Peter F. Drucker

I realized a few years ago that government as we know it is a complete failure. The US Government as we know it has failed to provide for domestic or global security, has failed to spend our money wisely, and it is broken across all three branches. At the same time, the political parties, corporations, bankers and many asset managers, have also failed, along with the media, religion, and labor unions. I decided two years ago to create the Earth Intelligence Network along with 23 other co-founders, and yesterday the IRS told me they planned to approve our 501c3 letter, so I pulled this down to refresh myself, and was surprised to find that I had read it but not reviewed it.

The book was first published in 1990 and includes interviews with nine contributors as well as original material from Peter Drucker.

Two sentences stand out for me:

1) The non-profit delivers a changed human being.

2) The non-profit leader is responsible for translating glorious mission statements into executable, measureable, visible specifics.

After a year’s work with many others, and aided immensely by the recent identification of the ten high-level threats to humanity in priority order, courtesy of LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret) and other members of the United Nations High-Level Threat Panel we not only recognized that the lines are blurring as segments of government that are honest, segments of private sector marketplaces that are moral, segments of civil society that are committed to responsible stewardship of their local communities and areas and non-plenishable natural resources; but we began to see the non-profit as central to weaving a shared understanding of the threats, the policies and budgets that can eradicate the threats, and the knowledge that needs to be transferred to Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards like the Congo, if they are to avoid our mistakes.

This book, in short, is my crutch, my reinforcement, my inspiration, and my proof positive that we can translate our mission into specifics, and do what we have set out to do.

Early on Peter Drucker emphasizes that while the non-profit is the largest employer in America, the share of money being donated to non-profits has remained relatively steady. I suspect that has changed since this was written in 1990, but his second key point in this context is that it is not enough to find donors, one much recruit contributors who wish to be active “in community” and for acommon purpose.

I confess to not being a people person, but I will also be an unpaid member of the board, so I would emphasize that in looking for our first non-profit manager, we are going to look for someone with three skills this books helps describe:

1) Ability to create logical executable specifics
2) Ability to interact effectively with high-end planned givers (humans)
3) Ability to recruit and keep happy passionate people who love life and want to pursue life-affirming, world-changing objectives.

The middle core of the book has a lot of underlining. Here are some of the highlights.

+ Strategies are the bulldozers.

+ Strategies are action-focused with measureable results.

+ Set the goals twice as high as a “normal” or business as usual organization might aspire to.

+ Tailor the message to each unique segment (e.g. one message for foundations seeking to harmonize high-end spending programs; another for individual donors seeking to find the best possible way to contribute $100 to one needy person anywhere (hint: cell phone and paid annual subscription–one per village will change the world).

+ Training matters, and not just of staff; also of donors, volunteers, everyone being helped or in any way engaged in the overall mission. [In my terms, if someone cannot recide the ten threats, twelve policies, and eight challengers form memory, or know where to find the 52 transpartisan answers to 52 tough questions, then we have failed to train them or educate them.]

+ Planning is not just about objective results, but about a vast social network of relationships that need to be nurtured for the long-term.

+ Dissent is priceless, discourtesy should never be tolerated.

+ Page 115: “The most important *do* (italicized in original) is to build the organization around information and communication instead of around hierarchy.” See the image above, something I created in the 1990’s. All the candidates running for President today are top down command and control freaks, with one possible exception. Epoch B leaders create a bottom up constant churn of information, and for me, this one sentence validated, reinforced, and inspired.

+ Educate up the chain and sideways, not just downwards.

+ Ensure every person is immersed the real-world (e.g. poverty at its worse in the slums of Rio de Janeiro or Caracas) so that they are refreshed as to the reality and the meaning of their mission the rest of the year.

I was very surprised to find a chapter on “How to Make the Schools Accountable,” pages 131-142, an interview with Albert Shanker, at the time president of the American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO, but it fits perfectly. Three points:

1) CEOs and Labor Leaders need to hold schools accountable.
2) Schools that pursue long-term deep learning find that short-term financial and other objectives fall into place.
3) Hold everyone accountable for giving their all, and end complacency, a sense of tenure, a lack of passion for what should be a life-affirming world-changing endeavor (those words are from other books, see list below).

The index is excellent, and the last page of the book educated me on the continuing value and offerings of The Drucker Foundation.

My take-away from this book is that any strategy that focuses on sharing information with as many parties as possible, and finding ways to optimize sense-making of the collective, and harmonization of many different programs and budgets across multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain boundaries, will in the end produce results that no amount of government mandate, corporate bribery, foundation give-away, or wailing calls of doom, could possibly achieve.

Peter Drucker’s legacy adds a new line to an old saying; the last line below:

The men who manage men manage the men who manage things.
The men who manage money manage all.

The men who manage information not only manage the men who manage money, they create new open money, information capital that enhances, influences, and exploits all else.

Great book. The audio series is ideal for those driving back and forth from bedroom communities into big cities, and vice versa.

Other links to books I have reviewed and recommend:
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
The Politics of Fortune: A New Agenda For Business Leaders
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization
Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

I do not list books I have written, edited, or published, but urge the reader to consider some of them as well. In early March we will be publishing COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, that is free online now and forever more, and then in May, free online from April, PEACE INTELLIGENCE: Assuring a Good Life for All. And finally, in July, free online in June, COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE: From Moral Green to Golden Peace.

I am certain that public intelligence and bottom-up self-governances are going to put an end to fraud, waste, abuse, corruption and secret earmarks, and that the non-profit, and those who share rather than hoard informationl, will in fact save the world and profit handsomely from doing so, on multiple levels, not least of which is giving seven generations of their descendants a sustainable Earth where everyone is a billionaire (Medard Gabel’s vision).

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Feb 2

Review: The Foundation–A Great American Secret; How Private Wealth is Changing the World

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5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL Primer, the Good, the Bad, and the Recommended
October 18, 2007
JOEL FLEISHMAN
This is a very helpful book, indeed, a unique book. Here are some of the notes I took. As one of 24 co-founders of a new 501c3, the Earth Intelligence Network, created to provide decision support to foundations, the United Nations, NGOs, and others seeking to address the ten high-level threats to Humanity, I could not have found a more relevant work.

A few notes:

* Foundations are the dynamo of social change, with three roles varying from foundation to foundation: as driver, as partner, or as catalyst.
* The author is very critical of the general state of mismanagement and in some cases, lack of clear ethical guidelines or stated values, and says the field must do better.
* In his view, and his case studies bear this out, foundations are an enormous force for good, but they are unregulated, unaccountable, and if they are to retain the tax breaks and the trust of the people, they must change their process, their governance, and their attitude–this will, in the author’s words, strengthen the social contract within which they are given so much leeway.
* He states that foundations *need* a decision-making process (music to my ears) and also a progress-checking system.
* He clearly communicates the willy-nilly state of many foundation programs, their lack of boundaries and focus, and hence their relative lack of impact. He states that many underperform, are insulated, and are arrogant.
* A positive quote (the book is generally positive and constructive) from page 3: “Foundations enable the creation of countless civil sector organizations–groups dealing with human rights, civil liberties, social policy experimentation, public advocacy, environmental protection, knowledge generation, human capital building, and service delivery, among other causes–and assist them in building national, regional, and local constituencies that move into the forefront of continuing social change. Elsewhere in the book he points out that in many areas, foundations preceeded and inspired later government programs.
* He is careful to point out that foundations have had limited success with education, health care, and poverty, and that in the face of global challenges (e.g. the ten high level threats to Humanity) the best they can do is educate the public and press government for action. I disagree. If foundations could collaborate with the United Nations UN) and leverage the Multinational Decision Support Center (MDSC) that we are trying to create in Tampa, Florida, they could among themselves agree to take on specific elements of a $230 billion a year program that Medard Gabel has been researching for ten years.
* He points out that US foundations take in 1.1 trillion a year in revenues, but only dole out $33.6 billion a year. In my view, given the enormous value of preventive action, I believe the foundations should be required to dole out 20% of their endowment in the first year of a concerted global program, and then so much as to keep the endowment steady, not hoarding and growing.
* While the “overarching objective” of foundations is large-scale social change, the author notes that they are peripheral players *unless they can organize and catalyze in the aggregate–precisely what the UN and the MDSC could help them do.
* He laments the current lack among most foundations of the “scientific method” that the Carnegies and Rockefellers first imposed, to wit: 1) get the facts; 2) identify problems precisely; 3) study options for action; 4) identify supporting and opposing stakeholders; and 5) plan for action. He blames the predominantly academic leadership of foundations today for the loss of “business” rigor and focus.
* The bottom line in this book appears with regularity in these pages: without goal setting and progress measuring, most foundation programs are simply arbitrary give-a-ways. He admires the Carnegie “Appraisal List” as a good starting point. He points out that neither inputs nor outputs matter; what matters is outcome.
* He lists all that ails foundations, a list that includes arrogance, discourtesy, inaccessibility, arbitrariness, failure to communicate, foundation Attention Deficit Disorder, lack of accountability, invisibility, scholarly void, and political vulnerability.
* The balance of the book consists of chapters that are extremely helpful, and here to whet the potential buyer’s interest, I will simply list five core aspects of the book.
* Strategies and practices include (with subheadings not shown here):
* Creating and disseminating knowledge
* Building human capital
* Public policy advocacy
* Changing public attitudes
* Changing the law
* Creating a blue ribbon commission
* Offering an award or prize
* Building a model through a pilot program
* Financing litigation
* Building institutions
* Building physical plant
* Catalyzing partnerships among foundation
* Catalyzing partnerships with the for-profit sector
* Ways of recognizing impact include:
* Major benefits to the public
* Expansion of knowledge
* Helping to launch a movement
* Catalyzing an urgent social change
* Taking an initiative to scale
* Characteristics of high-impact programs (with much detail for each):
* Focus
* Alignment
* Due diligence about the problem
* Due diligence about the solution
* Intelligent talent selection
* Due diligence about prospective grant-receiving organizations
* Entrepreneurial riskp-taking
* Optemistic thinking
* Independence
* Effective grantee selection and management
* Long-term thinking and commitment
* Maintaining focus and alignment over time

There is a chapter on how foundations fail, and certainly this entire book, and especially this chapter, need to be read by any foundation executive–or any prospective donor to any foundation.

This is a truly great and helpful book. I put it down thinking to myself, “my goodness, not only does the United Nations need an Assistant Secretary General for Decision Support, but so also do the foundations in the aggregate.” Worthy book!

A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
Preparing for the 21st century: An appraisal of U.S. intelligence : report of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Authorized Edition)
On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World
The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political–Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption
Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future
Information Operations: All Information, All Languages, All the Time
THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest

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Oct 18