Review (Guest): Dynamics Among Nations – The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States

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Hilton Root

5.0 out of 5.0 Stars Complexity thinking that shifts the paradigms of international relations

By J. P. Massing on December 5, 2013

In ‘Dynamics Among Nations’, Professor Hilton Root convincingly challenges the propositions of the liberal international consensus and re-frames the prevailing conceptualisation of development by introducing complexity thinking to the fields of political economy and international relations.

I highly recommend this intellectually stimulating and excellently written book to decision makers, researchers and students – as well as to anyone who is interested in gaining an advanced and well-informed understanding of the complex realities of development and global policy.

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Apr 14

Review: The Zero Marginal Cost Society

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Jeremy Rifkin

3.0 out of 5 stars Never Mind the Total Cost Terminal Society, April 13, 2014

Books like this would make me crazy if I took them seriously. This is a fad book for shallow minds that have no clue about holistic analytics, true cost economics, or anything remotely resembling the humanities (which is to say, the preservation of the good from one generation to the next). This book is the singularity cult on crack. Buy the book, by all means, to understand how seriously stupid is now in vogue.

There are some clever (which is to say, fad of the day) observations in this book but they vary from wrong (MOOCs have a 4% completion rate and are absolutely useless to 90% or more of the five billion poor who do not have the time to do MOOCs) to incomplete — who crowd sources against corruption and waste? Part of the answer is in this book, but no more than 20%. I’ve raised the book from one to three stars on a second pass, but I am still irritated.

The one place where Rifkin and I are 100% in harmony is on free energy…but he pulls his punches. Free energy is here now but the “system” is intent on keeping energy expensive and the 99% in rentier status. To truly understand the alternative energies now in hand, there is no book available, but if you search for Sepp Hasslberger @ Phi Beta Iota you will be on the bleeding edge of intelligence with integrity on this one topic that is so vital to all of us.

Marginal Cost is the cost at scale after all the FIXED COSTS (little things like water, fuel, child labor, tax avoidance, imposed disease) have been “accounted for.” The problem with Rifkin’s book, which would be a great riff at a late night show where everyone is smashed beyond cognition, is that it discounts reality by 99%. This book is the epitome of what Dr. Russell Ackoff would call “doing the wrong things righter instead of the right thing.

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Apr 13

Review (Guest): The Zero Marginal Cost Society

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Jeremy Rifkin

3.0 out of 5 stars BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Zero Marginal Cost Society’: Welcome to the Brave New Workerless World, April 1, 2014

ByDavid KinchenSee all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” –Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) First Leader of the Soviet Union

Marginal cost is the term used in the science of economics and business to refer to the increase in total production costs resulting from producing one additional unit of the item. Zero marginal cost describes a situation where an additional unit can be produced without any increase in the total cost of production. Producing another unit of a good can have zero marginal costs when that good is non-rivalrous, meaning that it is possible for one person to consume the good without diminishing the ability of others to simultaneously consume it as well. –Wise Geek.com

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Apr 13

Review: Secrets and Leaks – The Dilemma of State Secrecy

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Rahul Sagar

5.0 out of 5 stars Highlights from Steven Aftergood’s Review at Lawfare, April 9, 2014

I tried to prevail on Steven Aftergood to repost his rave review at Lawfare here but for various reasons that was not possible. I’ve looked at this book but Steven is vastly superior to me in his contextual appraisal so below I offer both a fast means of finding Stevens review and three highlights in Steven’s words, with some additional Amazon links and my own conclusions based on 40 years as an intelligence professional and 20 years as a proponent for intelligence reform.

Find the full review online by searching for three words together not in quotes: Lawfare Aftergood Sagar

Three Highlights:

QUOTE: Sagar makes a fresh, original and provocative contribution to the field. Our problems with secrecy, he says, are not simply attributable to official venality or mismanagement (or to the Espionage Act or the Manhattan Project) but instead are rooted in our constitutional structure. And leaks of classified information are not necessarily a lamentable deviation from good government but are — within certain limits — an essential safeguard that should be defended and encouraged.

QUOTE: Only leaks, he argues, have the potential to overcome the otherwise unresolved tensions over disclosure of national security information that are the legacy of our constitutional design.

QUOTE: In the end, following a detailed and critically nuanced discussion, Sagar concludes that leakers can be morally justified in making an unauthorized disclosure of classified information in violation of the law if the disclosure meets the following five conditions:

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Apr 9

Review (Guest): Choose Yourself!

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James Altucher

5.0 out of 5 starsSomething for Everyone

By Jonathan M. Prober on June 3, 2013

I was fortunate enough to read this wonderful new book by the author James Altucher (I first read his work by following him on twitter @jaltucher and reading posts on his website jamesaltucher.com).

It is one of the most enjoyable and informative books I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend folks take some time to check it out. It’s not that long but, wow, is it packed with powerfully-good information.

I could write about it for a while but, rather than doing so, it is probably more efficient to just mention a few of my favorite tidbits from the book in hopes that you’ll give it a read.

My personal favorite aspect of the book is its unique ability to be both practical and idealistic.

Some quick examples:

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Apr 8

Review (Guest): I Was Blind But Now I See – Time to Be Happy

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James Altrucher

4.0 out of 5 starsLike a box of chocolates

By Gary North on September 23, 2011

This book reminds me of Forest Gump’s mother’s description of a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. As with any book you read, you will forget 90% within a week; 98% within a month. So, you want to know what you should concentrate on.

If you are in the corporate world, go to page 83: “What You Need to do if You Were Hired Today.” Read to page 89. Then read it again. Then read it again. He offers 10 rules. All of them are good. If you systematically implement all of them, you will stand out as a contender. But Pareto’s 20-80 law holds true here as elsewhere. You won’t implement all of them. So, implement 20% of them. That means two. Which two? #4 and #10. (Buy the book to find out the 10 rules.)

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Apr 8

Review (Guest): How To Be The Luckiest Person Alive

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James Altucher

4.0 out of 5 stars Chance favors a prepared mind – reloaded ;-) September 3, 2011
By Sasha

After I received a copy of the e-book version of this book for free, Mr. Althucher asked if I would post a comment at Amazon.com once I had a chance to read it. I have answered affirmatively, so what follows is a general impression on the book format and a summary of my findings regarding the contents of the book.

Although the book reads fast, it is not an easy read. There’s a wealth of information and a great variety of topics; and the book is structured to read more as a collection of separate blog entries with certain repetitions (for which we are warned at the beginning of the book). All of the above makes it difficult to absorb everything at once, so re-reading is required, and the cost of this was 1 star on the rating scale.

In my view, the Daily Practice recommendations are what the book is all about. A smart play with words aside, Mr. Althucher shows us not how to be the luckiest person alive, instead he teaches us how to be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually FIT so that we will be able to recognize/create, as well as act on/follow through opportunities for bettering our lives. I put some of the recommendations to action (the physical and mental ones) and was ashamed to realize that first; I couldn’t even do 5 push-ups and second; that after relying on a calculator for my daily tasks for so long, my mental “muscle” “objected” when I tried to add two numbers in my head. Not good…

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Apr 8

Review (Guest): From Conflict to Creative Collaboration

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Rosa Zubizarreta

5 out of 5 stars. Really impressive – an unconventional topic, described clearly, remarkably

By Tom Atlee on March 31, 2014

Dynamic Facilitation generates a remarkably effective creative group process whose nonlinearity makes it seem very peculiar indeed.

This unusual facilitation approach – often dubbed “DF” – is built around a few deceptively simple practices like fully hearing each person, reframing conflicts as concerns, being truly open to every perspective and to the range of human emotions, and always inviting the best solutions from each and every person. I say “deceptively simple” because – like the deceptive simplicity of “following your breath” while meditating – the power of these practices comes from their persistent and courageous application. So it’s good to have a skilled Dynamic Facilitator around.

When these practices ARE applied persistently and courageously – and with empathy and faith – they produce the miracles for which Dynamic Facilitation is becoming increasingly valued. These practices transform difficult and conflicted people into creative collaborators, and thorny resistant problems and disputes into breakthrough insights and effective new directions.

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Mar 31

Review: The Future of Intelligence – Challenges in the 21st Century

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Isabelle Duyyesteyn, Ben de Jong, Joop van Reijn (eds)

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for Libraries Not Individuals, March 30, 2014

I know one of the editors, Ben de Jong, and am disappointed in the publisher for failing to properly present the book. Below I provide the table of contents that should have been provided by the publisher.

Foreword and acknowledgements, Michael Kowalski 1.By Way of Introduction: A Systemic Way of Looking at the Future of Intelligence, Bob de Graaff 2. The Future of Intelligence: What Are the Threats, the Challenges and the Opportunities?, Sir David Omand 3. The Future of Intelligence: Changing Threats, Evolving Methods, Gregory F. Treverton 4.Is the US Intelligence Community Anti-Intellectual?, Mark M. Lowenthal 5.The Future of the Intelligence Process: The End of the Intelligence Cycle?, Art Hulnick 6.The Future of Counterintelligence: the Twenty-First Century Challenge, Jennifer Sims 7. Analyzing International Intelligence Cooperation: Institutions or Intelligence Assemblages?, Jelle van Buuren 8. European Intelligence Cooperation, Björn Fägersten 9.Intelligence-Led Policing in Europe: Lingering between Idea and Implementation, Monica den Boer 10. The Next Hundred Years: Reflections on the Future of Intelligence, Wilhelm Agrell 11.Conclusions: It may be September 10, 2001 today George Dimitriu and Isabelle Duyvesteyn

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Mar 30

Review (Guest): Final Judgment – The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy

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Michael Collins Piper

By Herbert L Calhoun on March 10, 2003

As one who has read over 200 books on the JFK Assassination, and engaged in research both as an individual and as part of various teams, I can say without fear of contradiction that Piper’s book is now the definitive work on the JFK Assassination. “Final Judgement” is the most thorough, most honest, most penetrating, most factual, and most analytically complete and systematic of all that I have read so far.

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Mar 24