Review (Guest): Digitally Enabled Social Change – Activism in the Internet Age

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Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport

5.0 out of 5.0 Stars Paradigm-challenging

By Bruce B on September 19, 2011

Earl & Kimport take on what I like to think of as the silent debate between scholars of digital media and collective action on the one hand, and many traditional experts on social movements, protest, interest groups, and political mobilization on the other. The traditional view encompasses the concession that collective action can happen quickly now because of digital media; but that view has been, frankly, rather skeptical that anything important is happening. Or at least that digital media are really central to those visibly important developments that do occur in the present era.

Earl & Kimport throw down a serious challenge, by arguing that there is more going on than decreased costs and speed in the world of protest and social movements: resource accumulation is not a pre-requisite, organization-building is not necessary, co-presence is not necessary, and neither is a strongly shared collective identity. They are interested in what this means theoretically.

A key part of their argument is that digital media make costs a variable, whereas costs were previously understood as a fixed requirement of social movements. When costs are variable, then so are things that depend on costs, such as organization.

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Apr 19

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: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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Ben Horowitz

5.0 out of 5 stars ABSORBING – Requires Open Mind, March 16, 2014

I generally read all the reviews before writing my own, in part to see if anyone has already covered the ground the way I like to, with a summary evaluative review. There are only two reviews before mine that I consider world-class, please do read them if you have the time. I refer to the reviews by Mercenary Trader and Scott S. Bell, I salute both of them for providing substance useful to all.

This is not a comprehensive book in that it is a very personal perspective, brings together many specific snapshots, but never addresses “root” in relation to how the team went from great idea to source code to buzz to market share. As I read the book I thought often about a book I read in the 1980′s, still a classic, Tracey Kidder’s The Soul of A New Machine.

I would say this book is an absolutly priceless gem for the “hard knocks” at the CEO level perspective, and should be combined with any of several alternatives on start-ups such as Matt Blumberg’s Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website, and, forthcoming, Peter Thiel of PayPal’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

I’ve built two companies, both failures in that I never made the leap from one man with an obession to a movement (OSS.Net, Inc. and Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3) and what I did not see in this book, or any other book I have found, is the roadmap for getting from a big idea to big marketshare. That book remains to be written, and it could be that it should be written by Marc Andressen and a team. Jim Clark’s Netscape Time: The Making of the Billion-Dollar Start-Up That Took on Microsoft is a fine but dated (1999) start but we need something now tailored to the Internet of Things (what everyone else is thinking about) and free individual access to and ability to leverage all information in all languages all the time (what I have been thinking about since 1986 — visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog to learn more). I am also reminded of Michael Lewis’s The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story.

All this by way of saying that you have no business reading or buying this book if you are expecting a holistic 360 degree soup to nuts outline of how to zero to Mach 2. The greatest value of this book for me was in learning that it is possible to keep flying when you lose power and both wings fall off at the same time.

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Mar 16

Review (DVD): THRIVE

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Foster and Kimberly Gamble

5.0 out of 5 stars Free Online and Worth Buying to Support the Endeavor, March 14, 2014

This is a riveting movie with phenomenal visuals. I’d rather it had been an hour long instead of two, but in the spirit of slow food and slow Internet, certainly worth two hours of your time as an inspiration to change how you live for the rest of your life.

The movie is a personal contribution of Foster Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble family, but he grew a soul starting in elementary school and by the time he finished at Princeton, he was on his way to being a full-blown radical thinker with libertarian tendencies.

The first third of the movie is focused on free energy and all the pioneers from Telsa to Trombly to Bedeini to Hutchinson to Mallove who created proven sources of free energy only to suffer raids from the FBI (we do not make this stuff up) and other abuses including in some cases the torching of their labs and murder. I am hugely impressed by this portion of the movie, which includes short interviews, and I strongly recommend the movie for this part alone if you lack patience for what follows.

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Mar 14

BUCKY 2.0: Buckminster Fuller at Amazon

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller

These are listed in order of their most recent publication rather than their original publication dates as Amazon has never understood the value of including first edition dates. Dave Buck merits huge appreciation for having instigated a movement to place many of Buckminster Fuller’s works back into a visible platform such as Amazon provides….and reasonably priced as well — each of these is a public treasure. We have added, below the line, books related to Buckminster Fuller, by others. We strongly recommend use of the reviews before making any purchase. 

2010 DVD The World of Buckminster Fuller (Microcinema)

2009 Education Automation: Comprehensive Learning for Emergent Humanity (Lars Muller Publishers)

2008 Grunch of Giants (Design Science Press)

2008 Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (Lars Muller Publishers)

2008 Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity (Lars Muller Publishers)

2005 DVD Buckminster Fuller: The Lost Interviews (UFO TV)

2004 Guinea Pig B: The 56 Year Experiment (Critical Pathpub)

 

2004 AUDIO Only Integrity Is Going To Count (Critical Pathpub)

2002 Critical Path 2nd Revised Edition (Saint Martin’s Griffin)

1992 MAP Fuller Projection Dymaxion Air-ocean World (Buckminster Fuller Institute)

1992 Cosmography: A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity (Macmillan)

1990 DVD Basic Bucky: R. Buckminster Fuller (Masters & Masterworks)

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Feb 19

Jean Lievens: The Purpose Economy

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

The Purpose Economy 100 was created by Imperative in partnership with CSRWire to celebrate the pioneers who are driving the evolution of our economy from one based on information to one based on people and their quest for purpose. The list was compiled based on hundreds of nominations across the country. At the early stages of this economic shift, we felt the best way to capture it was through the stories of its pioneers, celebrating them and inspiring new leaders of the emerging Purpose Economy. View the list as an infographic or interactive profiles below. Later this year we will be releasing international editions of the list.

Forthcoming 2 April 2014 Available for Pre-Order Now

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Feb 19

Review: Dawn of the Akshic Age – New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World

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Ervin Laszlo and Kingsley L. Dennis et al.

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Appetizer Book — a Potpourri of Genius — Not the Main Plate, December 26, 2013

Buy and read this book for a marvelous panoramic view of the latest thinking circling around the end of the top-down scarcity model that concentrates wealth, and the emergence — sooner than most might expect — of the distributed bottom-up local to global harmonization.

This is a hybrid book — the first two thirds are written by the co-authors (Laszlo and Dennis), while the last third is a collection of eleven very short essays, each generally provocative and each providing me with at least one insight, web site, or book that I was not aware of. The book ends with recommended readings in the following categories that are a also a summary of what the book strives to cover at a very high level:

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Dec 26

Review (DVD): Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star — Utterly Brilliant Man, Mind, and Treatment, October 24, 2013

WARNING: This DVD has two parts, and if you are inattentive, you can get to the end of Part I (the 1920′s and Frank Lloyd Wright’s low point) and forget that there is a Part II (the rest of his life, with his greatest accomplishments during his 70′s).

PBS has really out-done itself with this production. The detail, the mosaic of interviews and the integration of glorious music and spectacular photography make this one of the best DVDs I have ever enjoyed.

This is not just a DVD about a man; it is a DVD about a philosophy of life, about the integration of humanity, nature, work, and artifact – from a single house that is a spiritual temple to heaven on earth, and across the board re-invention of how man relates to everything.

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Oct 25

Review: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid [Updated 5tyh Anniversary Edition]

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C. K. Prahalad

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobel Prize Material-Could Transform the Planet [But Most Seem to Have Missed the Point], October 24, 2013

There are some excellent and lengthy reviews of this book so I will not repeat anything that has already been said. 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.

In combination, Prahalad and Hart make it clear that business suffers from the same pathologies as the Central Intelligence Agency and other bureaucracies: they are in a rut.

I will end by emphasizing that I believe this author merits the Nobel Peace Prize. As the U.S. Department of Defense is now discovering, its $500 billion a year budget is being spent on a heavy metal military useful only 10% of the time. Stabilizization and reconstruction are a much more constructive form of national defense, because if we do not address poverty and instability globally, it will inevitably impact on the home front. This author has presented the most common sense case for turning business upside down. He can be credited with a paradigm shift, those shifts that Kuhn tells us come all too infrequently, but when they come, they change the world. It may take years to see this genius implemented in the real world, but he has, without question, changed the world for the better with this book, and make global prosperity a possibility.

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Oct 24

Review: Swarmwise – The Tactical Manual to Changing the World

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Rickard Falkvinge

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Authentic World-Changing Book , July 20, 2013
EDIT of 19 AUG 2013: Finish book, adding my new remarks at the top, dropping the preliminary review to the end.EDIT OF 13 AUG 2013: I have a 17 hour aviation trip coming up Friday-Saturday, will try to get the detailed review posted sometime in the days after I reach my destination. I regard this book as one of a half dozen essentials for hybrid public governance in the 21st Century — for participatory panarchy in which the public achieves consensus using collective intelligence methods that leverage ethical evidence-based decision-support that is transparent, truthful, and that produces TRUST as the “glue” for holistic ecologically and socially sound decision-making.

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My last comment first: this book ends beautifully, and I am personally deeply inspired. Rickard Falkvinge has been and will continue to be a change agent, and this book is a form of persistent, ubiquitous sharing of insight that could help accelerate and broaden the emergent public bottom up demands for clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability.

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Jul 20